Monday 18 December 2017

Toure insists City's eyes on prizes not plaudits

Manchester City’s Yaya Toure.
Manchester City’s Yaya Toure.

Yaya Toure claims Manchester City have taken no notice of all the praise coming their way during a flying start to the season.

City, unbeaten this season, recorded a 17th successive victory with a 1-0 defeat of Feyenoord at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday that also secured top spot in Champions League Group F.

They will go into the knockout stages regarded as serious contenders to win the competition while, on the domestic front, they already look formidable with an eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

“It is very important to keep the confidence going,” said veteran midfielder Toure, who made only his fifth appearance of the season against the Dutch champions.

“But we have to be careful because in these circumstances we have to keep focused. What I learned, when I was in Barcelona in 2009, was we don’t listen to any newspaper because you could think you are one of the best and after that get a strong team who destroy you. We have good team dynamics. I love it and the manager loves it.”

With a place in the last 16 already assured, Toure came into the team as manager Pep Guardiola made seven changes. The team lacked their usual intensity but eventually prevailed as a well-worked goal from Raheem Sterling - his 11th of the season - brought them victory in the 88th minute.

Toure said: “To be honest we didn’t have nothing to play (for) today, it was like, try to sit back, make a good counter-attack. I think we found (them) quite a difficult team. Of course we scored the last goal in the last minute but I think, in my opinion, we should have scored earlier. We had a couple of chances in the first half.”

Toure, having been one of the driving forces of City’s successes since joining the club in 2010, is now having to settle for a bit-part role but he insists the situation is not bothering him.

The 34-year-old said: “You want me to play? Tell the manager. Look at my face. Do you think I am frustrated? Am I enjoying? Of course.

“(If) I am frustrated, think what I would do. I would say to the manager I don’t want to be on the bench and I want to go home.”

Toure played 75 minutes before making way for the debut of highly-rated youngster Phil Foden, star of England’s recent Under-17 World Cup triumph.

Toure said: “If he stays in this club, he is going to be one of the top players because it’s always good to learn from and be close to the big players.

“It’s fantastic for him and he’s going to be the future,” he added.

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