Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has insisted that Yaya Toure doesn’t need to look any further than City for a challenge.
Toure, who is likely to captain City for Saturday’s tea-time game against Aston Villa, has been repeatedly linked with moves away from the club and was recently linked with comments made by his agent who claimed his client was “seeking a new challenge” and who declared Pellegrini to be a “weak manager”.
“I think the new challenge is City also.” said Pellegrini who brushed aside perceived criticisms as part of the territory at big clubs when asked about the comments.
“Yaya is very happy here. We have a project here that every year we try to improve. We can’t win the title every year but we try to improve the squad and the club.” he added.
The 31 year old Ivory Coast midfielder won the Premier League title in 2012 and 2014 since joining the club from Barcelona in the summer of 2010 for £24m and has had his critics this season after a perceived lack of focus from time to time.
Toure’s Ivory Coast colleague Wilfried Bony, who joined the club from Swansea, has had his injury problems but Pellegrini was certain that he would feature during the club’s last five games of the season.
“He was very unlucky in the way that he had his last injury. He had trouble with his ankle and knee. We had all the strikers injured in that moment.” said Pellegrini.
“We have five more games and I am sure he will be involved in those five games.” he added.
The Chilean also confirmed that club captain Vincent Kompany could be missing for two more weeks, hinting that the Belgian defender might be back before the end of the season. He also admitted that Gael Clichy, Samir Nasri, and Stevan Jovetic were also suffering from injuries although David Silva and James Milner had worked for the whole week without problems.
City will not be taking the visit of the FA Cup finalists, Aston Villa, lightly as they attempted to finish as high up in the Premier League table as possible following a season of relative inconsistency.
Pellegrini expected Villa manager Tim Sherwood to try and handle City in a similar way to the way they faced Arsenal previously.
“I am expecting a difficult game.” said Pellegrini. “They may play more offensively but we are used to playing against eight or nine men behind the ball.
“It depends on the way they play but we will continue our style. We might have made a few mistakes this season but we will continue to play our way despite them.”