Toure ‘not sur­prised’ by City re­call

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

MANCH­ESTER CITY mid­fielder Yaya Toure says he was not sur­prised by his re­call to the first team af­ter end­ing his three-month ex­ile with both goals in Satur­day’s 2-1 win at Crys­tal Palace.

The 33-year-old Ivo­rian was a shock se­lec­tion at Sel­hurst Park for his first Premier League game this sea­son.

But Toure said: “I was pre­pared men­tally and I knew that one day my man­ager would need me.

“I was de­lighted to play and I am very happy to be play­ing foot­ball.”

Toure, a two-time Premier League ti­tle win­ner with City, had been out in the cold at the club since the end of Au­gust.

City man­ager Pep Guardi­ola had said he would not be picked un­til his agent, Dim­itri Seluk, apol­o­gised for com­ments he made when Toure was left out of City’s Cham­pi­ons League squad.

Toure said sorry on Seluk’s be­half at the start of Novem­ber but there had been no in­di­ca­tion from Guardi­ola that his sit­u­a­tion had changed, and few peo­ple even knew he was in the City squad that trav­elled to south Lon­don.

He was given a noisy re­cep­tion by the trav­el­ling City fans, who chanted his name through­out the game, and his ef­forts were also ap­pre­ci­ated by his team-mates, who clapped him back into the dress­ing room at the fi­nal whis­tle.

“My team-mates are very im­por­tant to me,” added Toure. “They have al­ways been bril­liant with me, al­ways sup­port­ive.

“I al­ways want to be there to help them. I am pro­fes­sional, I al­ways want to im­prove my game.”

Guardi­ola had picked Toure in only one of City’s pre­vi­ous 19 games this sea­son — a Cham­pi­ons League qual­i­fy­ing play­off sec­ond leg against Steaua Bucharest in Au­gust that was a vir­tual dead rub­ber af­ter City had won the first game 6-0.

But the City boss says he has been im­pressed by the player’s ap­pli­ca­tion while he was out of favour and feels he has a part to play in his side’s ti­tle chal­lenge.

“The last month and a half, Yaya was amaz­ing in train­ing,” Guardi­ola ex­plained. “His be­hav­iour is ab­so­lutely ev­ery­thing.

“His team-mates love him. He is go­ing to help us to ro­tate the team, we need that.

“I am so happy for Yaya, he is a re­ally nice guy. His weight is per­fect now, and there are no doubts about his qual­ity.

“At the be­gin­ning we did not count on him, he would not be here, but he can play many po­si­tions and we have one more man to help us achieve our tar­gets.” — BBC Sport

Yaya Toure (cen­tre) scored a brace on his Manch­ester City re­turn

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