Martin Demichelis is pleased with the amount of football he has played this season as Manuel Pellegrini continues to use him alongside Vincent Kompany at the heart of the Manchester City defence.
The 34-year-old Argentina international believes he deserves his place in the team although he accepts that Eliaquim Mangala looks set to return to the side for the FA Cup fourth-round tie with Middlesbrough, a game which City can be backed at 1.25 to win.
Pellegrini chose Demichelis for last weekend’s home defeat to Arsenal and he is also expected to feature in the crunch clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge later this month.
That seemed unlikely last summer when City paid Porto £32million for France international Mangala, but the 23-year-old has struggled to adapt to life in the Premier League.
Mangala has started 13 Premier League matches this season but has failed to impress, leading to Demichelis featuring more in the first team that even he envisaged.
Demichelis was mocked for his lack of pace and his ponytail in his first season with the club, but responded to his critics by playing a key role in last term’s title-winning campaign when Kompany was injured for long spells.
He also helped Argentina reach the World Cup final last summer and is pleased with his form, saying: “I don’t want to be arrogant, but if you check the stats I am the City player with the third most minutes in this Premier League season.
“Manga is the same age as I was when I went to Bayern Munich from Argentina and obviously he has things to learn. He is a very good guy and keen to improve, and I think he will become a very good player.”