Eliaquim Mangala says he is not intimidated by the challenge presented by Manchester City new boy Nicolas Otamendi in the battle to partner Vincent Kompany.
The Frenchman endured an inconsistent first year in England but appears to have emerged a better player for it and has so far impressed this season, helping the Citizens to victory in their first four Premier League matches.
Mangala’s form does not guarantee him a place in the side though, with fresh competition recently arriving in the form of Otamendi.
The former Velez Sarsfield-man was signed from Valencia for £28.2million, in a deal which almost saw the 24-year-old move the other way on loan, only for him to refuse.
The pair know each other well having previously played together at Porto and are expected to battle it out for a place alongside resurgent captain Kompany in the back four.
Rather than doubt himself, the defender is confident he can hold off the threat of the Argentine after recovering from his tough start to life in the Premier League.
“I have benefitted and learned from the difficulties of last season,”
he said. “I must be efficient and consistent through the club season, both in the Premier League and in the Champions League and then when I’m with France, I must give assurance to the coach and then the rest is up to him.”
“I know Nico very well from our two years together at Porto. I felt good enough to win my place.”
City’s fine start has seen them shortened to 1.50 to win the Premier League title, with reigning champions Chelsea priced second at 5.50.