Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Yaya Toure: Manchester City on Red alert

RED LETTER DAY: Yaya Toure after his FA Cup goal against Manchester United  
RED LETTER DAY: Yaya Toure after his FA Cup goal against Manchester United
A smile creeps over Yaya Toure’s face as he’s asked about yet another trip to Wembley. He jumps in as soon as the famous stadium is mentioned.

“I like it there,” he says with a smirk, as flashbacks of winners against United and Stoke play in his head.

City will make their third trip to Wembley in less than four months when they line up against United in Sunday’s Community Shield.

If Toure stopped playing tomorrow his exploits in England’s national stadium alone would make him a City legend. Scoring the only goal in the FA Cup final to end a 35-year wait for a trophy ensured that.

But instead of setting his sights on a hat-trick of Wembley winners when the two halves of Manchester collide in north London on Sunday, Toure is more interested in laying down an early marker in the Premier League title race.

“If it is possible it would be fantastic to score a third at Wembley, but the most important thing is that the team win,” said Toure.

“There are other players who are more likely to score than me, but it does not matter as long as the team wins.

“We will have to be strong against United. We will have to be 100 per cent to have a chance against them because United are a fantastic team.

“United are very important, very strong and it will be very tough on Sunday.”

The Ivorian midfield enforcer added: “The most important thing is not that I score another goal there – it is that the whole team prove to our fans and everyone else that City are coming.

“We have to show United that we are here and we want to win the trophy for the fans. We have to make a statement from the start. We have the Premier League straight after United and then the Champions League draw.

“We meet United on Sunday and we will need to play very well to start the season off well.”

City’s summer has been dominated by the circus surrounding Carlos Tevez’s second transfer request.

Tevez saga

With a move to Brazilian side Corinthians dead until January at the earliest, the saga could yet drag on until the transfer window shuts on August 31.

But Toure is confident that, should the Argentine striker get his wish and engineer a move away from Manchester, the Blues will have more than enough firepower in their ranks to cope with his loss.

Roberto Mancini has given Edin Dzeko the chance to stake his claim, picking him from the start in four of the five pre-season games, while Sergio Aguero has arrived from Atletico Madrid on a £38m transfer.

And Toure pointed to the pair as evidence that City still have plenty of goals in the dressing room – with or without Tevez.

“We are getting some good players, important players, returning to their best,” added Toure. “Edin Dzeko is in good form, we have signed Aguero, who is a fantastic player, so we are getting better and better. Aguero is a fantastic player. He is so smart, so clever.”

Just like Wembley, Toure has fond memories of playing in the Champions League against the Reds. Playing as an emergency centre-half, he was part of the Barcelona team which beat United in Rome two years ago.

The 27-year-old is now looking forward to his first crack at the competition with City.

And while he insists qualifying for the Europe’s premier cup competition remains the priority next season, he admits he’s got a more than a sneaking suspicion that City will end the campaign with some more silverware.

“We are going to have to fight to show people that City are going all the way to the top,” said Toure. “The most important thing is you have to play 100 per cent.

“The club is signing players. We want to be in the top four again this year. We will have to work hard to do that and win a cup.  This is the first time we are playing in the Champions League and that is as amazing for the fans as it is for the players. We have to take it step by step.

“The league this year will be very hard and we will have to improve a lot, but then I think this will be the year for us.”

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