REUTERS - Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has hailed the impact of captain Vincent Kompany after two injury-ravaged seasons at the club but admits they still need to sign a back-up option for their central defender.
Kompany made a fifth consecutive appearance in the starting lineup and scored his second goal since returning last month in City's 5-0 victory over Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday.
"(Five games played in a row for Vincent) is a huge step," Guardiola told reporters. "I spoke to him at the beginning of the season, saying we need to make small steps.
"(Former manager) Manuel Pellegrini missed him a lot last season and you can see that. He wins so many duels. (Against Palace), we discovered that maybe he can play as a striker!
"Hopefully he can last longer next season. We need to have back-up though in case this (his injury) happens again."
City are currently fourth in the league, a point and a place behind Liverpool with a game in hand.
With the Merseyside club and fifth-placed Manchester United dropping points over the weekend, Guardiola is confident of securing a top-four finish.
"It is in our hands for a place in the Champions League," the 46-year-old Spanish manager added.
"We have two more games at home... one more than Liverpool. We can enjoy ourselves a little bit (following the win over Palace) and then prepare for Leicester next week."
City host Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion in their next two fixtures before visiting Watford in the final game of the campaign.
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru