Manuel Pellegrini insists Yaya Touré is happy at Man City
City strong enough to cope without injured Sergio Agüero for Sevilla clash, says manager
Manchester City’s Yaya Toure during a training session at the City training Academy ahead of their Champions League game with Sevilla. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Manchester City v Sevilla
Etihad Stadium, 7.45pm BT Sport 2, Setanta
Manuel Pellegrini has dismissed suggestions that Yaya Touré is unhappy at Manchester City and claimed he is more than satisfied with the midfielder’s form.
Touré expressed dissatisfaction in an interview with L’Equipe over his perceived critical reception in England, arguing that even though he has made the shortlist for the Ballon d’Or he does not get the acclaim his performances deserve. Before Wednesday night’s Champions League game with Sevilla his manager insisted he had no problems with his most experienced player.
“Yaya is happy,” Pellegrini said. “He may have a few concerns about the criticism but that is different to being unhappy at the club. You can interpret his words how you want but I don’t think I have to answer for how happy Yaya is at Manchester City.
“The answer is his performances over the last four years he plays. He is a very important player and he demonstrates it every game.”
Sergio Agüero and Kevin De Bruyne also feature on the Ballon d’Or shortlist, the latter more for his performances last season with Wolfsburg than for the highly promising start to his Manchester City career. “Kevin made a very good season last year in Germany,” Pellegrini said. “We hope he can win it, along with Sergio, but Sergio is now out for a month.”
City would probably need to go further in the Champions League than they have so far managed for Agüero’s achievement to be recognised internationally, though as Pellegrini points out, the standard at the very top is very high.
Surprising“I don’t think it is surprising Kun has been nominated,” Pellegrini said. “If anything is surprising it is that has not had any awards here in the past, though of course we realise he has a lot of competition in Messi and Ronaldo.”
Pellegrini accepts Agüero will be missed as City attempt once again to look convincing at home in the Champions League – the manager has so far seen only three victories in nine attempts at the Etihad – but believes his squad will be strong enough to cope.
“Obviously Agüero is very important to us but I have a policy of not making excuses for who is missing.” he said. “We played well in the last game and that is what we must try to replicate, with or without Agüero.”
That puts a certain amount of pressure on Wilfried Bony, the only striker available in the Champions League squad, though Pellegrini has reassured the former Swansea player he was not bought just to act as an understudy for Agüero.
Important player“Bony can play with or without Agüero,” he said. “He can line up alongside him if both are fit, it does not have to be that Agüero has to be missing for Bony to play. For various reasons I have not been able to line them up together in the past, but we brought Bony here because he is an important player in his own right.
“He is the only forward we have at present so this is his moment, his chance to show what he has got.” Pellegrini admits City’s stuttering home form in the Champions League is a puzzle, though he does not believe the club’s fans need to be more enthusiastic about the competition.
European games at the Etihad have not always been sell-outs, the atmosphere has often been flat in comparison to Premier League games – although some poor displays are partly the reason for that – and since the perceived injustices of financial fair play impacted on the club City fans have taken to booing Uefa’s eminently booable Champions League anthem.
“The fans are always behind the team, that is the main thing,” Pellegrini said. “Whichever competition we play in I think we always have the atmosphere we need in the Etihad. I would not say the atmosphere is unhelpful for Champions League matches.”
– (Guardian service)