• Premier League

Toure hits back at pay claims

ESPN staff
February 17, 2014
Toure ready to face former club

Yaya Toure insists he has no regrets about his decision to leave Barcelona for Manchester City and hit back at accusations he left the Nou Camp for a pay rise.

The African Footballer of the Year faces his former club for the first time since his 2010 transfer when City host the Spanish league leaders in the Champions League at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.

But while Toure left a Barcelona team that would go on to be acclaimed as one of the greatest ever after their 2011 Champions League win over Manchester United, he is adamant he made the right choice.

"I won a lot of trophies with them and from my point of view, you can't win more than six trophies [in one year] and for me it was the right time to move on," Toure said. "I couldn't do anything else more and to come to Manchester City was the right move; to try and make history with them."

Toure helped City win the 2011 FA Cup, their first trophy for 35 years, and then the Premier League title 12 months later. He is unhappy his motives were questioned when he joined City and said he knew he had made the right choice immediately after moving.

"As soon as I moved to City," he said. "People criticise me, thinking I come for something. Since 2011, I have won a couple of trophies. This is the club who do everything for me and I am very happy to be here."

Toure also hit back at recent criticism that he has been neglecting his defensive duties by former City, Liverpool and Germany player Dietmar Hamann, who said he did not afford his centre-backs enough protection.

"For me they are not important people," said Toure. "We have a lot of respect for the older players but sometimes they are wrong, the answers they give are not right.

"Sometimes they have to give answers to the people. People love football and always want to hear something. Sometimes we're disappointed when we hear some stupid things. For me, the important thing is to move on.

"I think, for me, the most important thing is what my manager tells me to do and what I think that's the best way for the team and the best way for me as well. I have always given myself in every way.

"I have been playing in this position for a couple of clubs and I have a lot of experience. It doesn't matter who wants to continue to criticise me and talk about me, I just want to focus on the next game.

"For me the most important thing is we have to move on - liability or no liability - I've been playing for a long time."

While some of the City spotlight will be on Toure when he faces his former club, he is likely to share it in midfielder with Fernandinho, who is set to make his City comeback.

Fernandinho has missed City's last three games with a muscle injury but trained on Sunday and Monday and manager Manuel Pellegrini confirmed he is available.

However, Sergio Aguero is still sidelined by a calf problem which is also likely to keep him out of the weekend's Premier League match against Stoke City.

Manager Manuel Pellegrini said: "Aguero is not fit. We will see if he can be fit on Saturday but maybe also is difficult."

Pellegrini is wary of Barcelona but adamant City will not be cowed into changing the brand of attacking football which has served them so well this season - despite the quality of the opposition.

He said: "When you play against Barca you always must consider important things but the most important thing is to continue being the same team you see every week in the Premier League.

"It is important to continue having the same style of play and the personality. We are not just going to think about defending but what we can do with the ball.

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