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Mangala ready to pounce, but realistic on Man City playing time

18:45 GMT+3 20/11/2017
eliaquimmangala - Cropped
With John Stones injured against Leicester, the French defender is determined to take his chance should it arrive

Eliaquim Mangala insists his latest first-team opportunity at Manchester City is not complicated by recently being the unwanted man at the Etihad Stadium.

Mangala became one of the most expensive defenders in football history when he joined City for a reported £32 million in August 2014 from Porto.

City v Feyenoord BTTS 19/20

However, the France international undermined his progress with frequently erratic displays and was loaned to Valencia last season as Pep Guardiola took the reins in east Manchester.

A purported deadline-day move to Crystal Palace collapsed, leaving the 26-year-old to fight for a place in Guardiola's first-team squad this term.

A pair of EFL Cup starts amounted to his most significant action until John Stones suffered a hamstring injury on Saturday, thrusting Mangala into the fray for the final hour of a 2-0 win at Leicester City.

Guardiola confirmed in-form England centre-back Stones is set to miss four to six weeks with his complaint and, speaking alongside his manager ahead of Tuesday's Champions League Group F match with Feyenoord, Mangala stated he was ready to take his opportunity for possible game time but accepted there were no guarantees.

"Football is like that. You have to try and take your opportunity," he said. "We know in all the competitions we are involved in that we need more than 11 players.

"It is not just about me. Every player has to be ready when they have the opportunity to play.

"It's not so complicated because I am very realistic. I know in football anything can happen.

"I'm here today but maybe in two months, the summer, one year, I won't be. You never know.

"I am in the squad and in this club. I am going to work to help my team-mates, even when I am not playing.

"We have a common objective and that is to win titles. I want to win titles, even if I am going to play less."

The established pecking order at City means Guardiola is likely to select Nicolas Otamendi alongside club captain Vincent Kompany in Stones' absence but the latter's injury woes over recent seasons means he is unlikely to be over-exerted in 12 matches between now and the end of 2017 for the Premier League leaders.

Mangala's sometimes ungainly contributions in possession make him an uneasy fit for Guardiola's style in the eyes of many observers but he completed 84.2 per cent of his 57 passes at the King Power Stadium and is enjoying developing his game under the former Barcelona boss – for however long such an opportunity might remain.

"I learn so many things every day because it is a different way to play," he added.

 "You have to be really focused on the pass, make a strong pass and control well because our game is to be quick on the ball. You have to win time."