MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, Nov 28 – Just over a fortnight ago, Yaya Toure appeared destined for the exit door at Manchester City, but after starting the Citizens’ last two Premier League games, the Ivorian powerhouse has revealed that he’s eyeing a spot in the Sky Blues’ Champions League squad.
The 33-year-old was overlooked from City’s squad for Europe’s premier club competition when Pep Guardiola revealed announced his team list at the beginning of the campaign.
After Yaya’s agent Dimitri Seluk criticised Guardiola publicly, it appeared as though Toure had reached the end of the road at the Etihad Stadium, and looked destined for the departure lounge in the January transfer window.
However, after apologising for his representative’s comments, Toure returned to the starting lineup in some style last weekend, scoring two goals – including the winner – as City downed Crystal Palace 2-1 in the Premier League.
After having sat out the Champions League draw with Borussia Moenchengladbach in midweek due to Guardiola’s decision at the beginning of the campaign, the former Barcelona man was restored to the starting XI for the trip to Burnley on Saturday, and once again impressed.
Speaking after the triumph, Toure announced that he’s committed to completing his u-turn at City and earning himself a spot in the club’s UCL squad for the knockout stages of the competition.
“Of course, that’s why I stayed at City,” Toure told journalists when asked about whether he was keen on featuring in the latter stages of Europe’s premier club competition.
“The most important thing is to help the team, and to also help the manager, who is very, very intelligent, very strong tactically.
“I think when the team gets all of his ideas we are going to be a great team,” he added, speaking effusively about the Spanish coach’s qualities. “I have to keep working because [Guardiola] is a very, very, very professional person and he really likes football.
“I think that the most important thing for me is to keep working – those who work hardest always have more opportunities to play.”
Looking ahead to City’s next game, the top-of-the-table showdown with Chelsea at Eastlands on Saturday, the powerful midfielder believes that the Blues may have the advantage due to their lesser European schedule.
“To be honest, when you are a top player and you only play once a week – like the Chelsea players, they only play once a week – it’s easier to play well, it’s easier to recover well and easier to take full advantage,” the veteran continued.
“It’s going to be a tough game on Saturday, that’s for sure. Definitely they have an advantage, to be honest. It’s difficult to play midweek and then the weekend after,” he added.
“Sometimes with the European schedule we play on a Wednesday, like this week, and then a Saturday. It’s sometimes tough to be focused and in these kind of games, you have to prepare well to compete.”