Manchester United legend Gary Neville has taken a swipe at Vincent Kompany, claiming the Manchester City captain has fallen way below his usual high standards.
The retired right-back's comments came after another unconvincing performance from the Belgium international during the Citizens' 2-1 defeat against Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.
Kompany was at fault for the first goal when he chickened out of a 50-50 challenge with Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho, who pinched possession from the commanding centre-back before teeing up Jordan Henderson for the Reds' opener.
He was also given the run-around by the diminutive figure of Raheem Sterling, regularly finding it difficult to keep pace with the fleet-footed winger who was deployed once again by Brendan Rodgers in the central striker position.
Kompany's confidence appears shot to pieces and that will certainly concern Manuel Pellegrini, particularly as the Chilean coach has come to rely on the 28-year-old as his most consistent performer at the heart of the reigning Premier League champions' defence.
"Vincent Kompany has turned into Mr Rash,” reflected Neville during his assessment as a Sky Sports pundit. "I don’t know what’s happened to him. He needs to settle his game down.
“He’s going through a difficult moment, Vincent Kompany. It’s hard to know where his next good game is coming from.
“We’ve all been through those periods. He’s usually someone who is so dominant and a leader for this team, [but] every time the ball goes near him he’s struggling.”
Even more worryingly for City fans is the fact that the Liverpool game was not an anomaly, because Kompany was all over the place in the 2-1 defeat against Barcelona in the Champions League last week and has been producing indifferent displays all season.
Pellegrini intimated that he had spoken to his skipper after the tie at the Etihad Stadium having been at fault for both of Luis Suarez's first half goals. However, the South American backed the Belgian to bounce back from recent criticisms by regaining his composure for the last 16 second leg at Camp Nou and for the rest of the campaign.
"Vincent is an experienced player with a strong character," the former Malaga boss was quoted saying by The Guardian. "He must receive the criticism that everyone receives when our team doesn’t have the performance that everyone hopes for.
“I think it’s not a problem for him, I am sure that he will have a strong reaction. Everyone can see the game in a different way."
Too much rotation?
The fact Kompany has not played in a settled central defensive partnership could perhaps be part of the reason why he's struggled at times this season, but Pellegrini played that down as a contributing factor, defending his decision to rotate his team with Martin Demichelis and summer signing Eliaquim Mangala.
“We work every day during the training session with not the same squad, with different names," he added. "The performance of the players doesn’t depend on who they play with. Last year it was exactly the same with [Martin] Demichelis, with Joleon Lescott.”
Manchester City fans: What do you think? Why is Vincent Kompany performing so badly? Is Manuel Pellegrini right to defend his squad rotation? Share your thoughts below...