Yaya Toure is improving with every game – Pellegrini

The Cote d’Ivoire international has so far failed to replicate last season’s talismanic performances after a summer which saw him lose his brother Ibrahim to cancer

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini says Yaya Toure has endured a difficult summer but insists the midfielder is improving with every game.

Toure has so far failed to replicate the form which saw him score 24 goals from midfield in all competitions last season after a summer in which he lost his brother Ibrahim to cancer.

But the Cote d’Ivoire international scored the opening goal in City’s 2-0 win over Aston Villa earlier this month and Pellegrini believes his star man is slowly returning to his best form.

“Yaya has the quality to make a difference. He had a difficult summer but every game he is getting better,” he told reporters.

City will take on CSKA Moscow on Tuesday in a closed Arena Khimki due to the Russian Premier League leaders’ three-match stadium ban in European competition, caused by repeated racially-aggravated behaviour from some supporters.

CSKA star Ahmed Musa described the ban earlier this week as “unfair”, and Pellegrini admits the situation is far from ideal.

“It is a pity we cant play for fans, as this competition is for the fans,” he added. “But we dont have any other option.”

Yaya Toure: Drogba was a great captain – now it's my turn to lead

EXCLUSIVE: The Manchester City star is determined to guide Cote d’Ivoire to their first Africa Cup of Nations triumph since 1992 despite the Chelsea striker’s retirement

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Yaya Toure is determined to lead Cote d’Ivoire to their first Africa Cup of Nations triumph since 1992 after becoming captain of the national team following the retirement of Didier Drogba.

Drogba decided to leave the international game following his country’s group-stage elimination at this summer’s World Cup, leaving Toure to take the armband for the upcoming competition in Morocco.

The Manchester City midfielder hailed the legacy left by his predecessor as Cote d’Ivoire’s all-time top goalscorer and hopes the Elephants can put their recent underachievement at major tournaments behind them.

“For a couple of years now we’ve been chasing this trophy,” Toure told Goal. “We’ve not got it. This year is going to be the time again to do it. I hope at long last with my national team we can do it.”

Watch the video above to hear Toure’s thoughts on this year’s Africa Cup of Nations in full.

'I am not a machine' – Yaya Toure hits back at critics

The Ivory Coast international scored his first Premier League goal of the season to help see of Aston Villa and feels he has been giving his all for the cause

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has reacted to criticism of his recent performances, and has insisted that he is only a man and not a machine.

The Ivory Coast international again struggled to make an impact for the Blues against Aston Villa before scoring a fine solo effort to break the deadlock in the 82nd minute.

And though Toure admitted he understands that he will be scrutinised, he feels as if he has been performing to the best of his abilities.

“For me, I’m keeping going. I’ve been playing for top sides in Europe and I knew about this criticism. I just do my best and try to help the team win again,” he told Sky Sports.

“It’s not so easy because you have to play every three days and people have to understand I’m not a machine; I am a man. But I have to keep going because all my team-mates keeps going around me.”

City’s 2-0 at Villa Park win saw them move to second-place in the Premier League table behind Chelsea and helped put to bed some of the concerns fans had after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Roma in midweek.

And Toure revealed it had been difficult to bounce back from their European disappointment and secure all three points on the domestic front.

“I think today was a great win because we played against a great team. In the first half it was quite difficult for us but in the second half we did the job. It’s a fantastic win. 

“After the draw against Roma on Tuesday it was quite difficult for us to come back.

“Full credit to Aston Villa, they played very well in defence but in the second half we did the job.”

Yaya Toure form doesn't worry me – Pellegrini

The Chilean says the rumours surrounding the midfielder’s future throughout the summer were a ‘misunderstanding’

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini says he never doubted the quality of midfielder Yaya Toure after a slow start to the season and a summer filled with rumours about his future.

Toure, who alongside his agent had hinted he would leave the club during the transfer window, had been criticised for some of his performances in the opening weeks of the current campaign, particularly following the 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

The Ivorian scored the opening goal of his side’s 2-0 win at Aston Villa on Saturday evening, and Pellegrini says he retains full faith in the midfielder, who has also been grieving following the death of his brother.

“Yaya last season also played good games, some bad games, he scored so many goals that people talked about that. He knows the most important thing is that he must improve every game and I don’t have any concerns about him,” he told reporters.

“He is one of the best midfielders, without any doubt, he can have better games or not so good games, but he is a very important midfielder, but I never have any doubts about his performance.

“[The issue in the summer] was a misunderstanding of words, it’s not important. Maybe [he struggled] with personal problems but he didn’t have any problem with the club. He has a lot of different things in his private life but he didn’t want to go anywhere.”

The Chilean also dismissed the suggestion that Toure was more effective as part of a midfield three once Fernando had been introduced for striker Edin Dzeko.

“We played exactly the same way with two or three in the middle,” he continued. “We had so many chances, we were unlucky we didn’t score, but in the 90 minutes of the game, the team played very well.”

Pellegrini not worried by Chelsea's five-point lead

The reigning Premier League champions have won only three of their opening six games so far this season, while Jose Mourinho’s men have dropped just two points

Manuel Pellegrini is unconcerned by the five-point gap between his Manchester City side and Premier League leaders Chelsea.

Defending champions City go into Saturday’s clash at Aston Villa somewhat off the pace, having won only half of their six top-flight fixtures this season while Chelsea have dropped just two points all term.

However, Pellegrini is not reading too much into the state of the Premier League table just yet and feels repeats of the positive performance in the 4-2 win at Hull City last weekend will stand City in good stead.

“We are just starting in the league and it is not good to be five points behind Chelsea,” he told reporters.

“But at the moment we have one more point than this time last year, when Arsenal were six points ahead of us. The important thing is to continue playing in the way we did against Hull.”

Yaya Toure is one City player to come in for criticism so far this term, while there have been questions asked surrounding Sergio Aguero’s fitness.

However, the Chilean is not concerned by the duo’s form, explaining: “When we play well the most important players on the team play well, and when we play badly the whole team badly.

“I don’t think this team depends on one player.

“I think Sergio is 100 per cent, maybe the same as Yaya. I don’t think you should criticise one player. Sergio has scored five goals at the moment, we know he is such a good player so he can score 10 goals.

“I don’t think he is in a bad moment or not 100 per cent. I am sure he will continue to show that this week.”