'It’s all about the next two weeks' – Toure sees Man City entering crucial period

The Ivorian midfielder admits it is crunch time for Pep Guardiola’s side as they chase down FA Cup success and a top-four finish in the Premier League

Yaya Toure has acknowledged that the next few weeks have the potential to make or break Manchester City’s season.

Pep Guardiola’s side have the potential to end the campaign on a high, with two targets still there to be shot at.

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Progress has been made through to the semi-final stage of the FA Cup, while a standing inside the Premier League’s top four has been cemented.

City find themselves in a midst of a testing schedule, though, with a 1-1 draw with Liverpool last time out set to be followed by meetings with Arsenal and Chelsea.

Fixtures against the Gunners in cup competition and a derby date with Manchester United will also be taken in before the end of April.

Yaya Toure Arsenal Manchester City

Toure admits it is imperative that City come through this period strongly, or risk seeing all of their hard work go to waste.

He said in the Daily Mirror: “Arsenal and Chelsea are tough games, but we have the chance to come a little bit closer to the top.

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“If we can get points there, it will be brilliant.

“It’s all about the next two weeks. All that’s important now is finishing the season strongly – finishing in the top four – giving the ­Champions League to the fans again.

“We have to fight. We’re in the semi-finals of the FA Cup [where they face Arsenal again, on April 23] – that’s a brilliant cup.

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“Of course, City deserve more, but we’ve such a lot of young players we need time and, in the future, we can be a perfect team.”

City have to travel to Emirates Stadium and Stamford Bridge in their upcoming encounters, but their away form has been impressive this season, with more points collected on the road than at home.

Yaya Toure Manchester City 2017

Toure added: “We’ve been very strong away. We have more space and we’re delighted to play in big stadiums because we have the space to play.

“We hope we can take all six points, because this league is so difficult. Teams know how we play at home and always close us down. Most of the time they use the counter-attack. We have to be aware, when we lose the ball, they are going to go fast and counter-attack.

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“They’re going to be quick and do some damage. We ­normally can control it well, but, against Liverpool, they got the penalty.

“I think our team has ­progressed very well… until ­Monaco. The players were very sad in the dressing room.

“We deserved more in the Champions League. If we’d got to the ­quarter-finals, any team who faced City would have suffered. But this is football, we have to keep on going.”

'We can win trophies with Guardiola's style' – Toure hits back at Manchester City critics

The Ivorian midfielder remains convinced that the Catalan will deliver success at the Etihad, even though his first season has been difficult

Yaya Toure insists Manchester City can win trophies with manager Pep Guardiola’s style of play, despite their Champions League exit this week.

City crashed out of the competition on away goals to Ligue 1 team Monaco, the tie ending 6-6 on aggregate after City – who made the semis last season – held a 5-3 lead from the first leg.

Guardiola’s side are also 10 points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea, a gap that could be 13 by the time they take to the field at home to top-four rivals Liverpool on Sunday.

Yaya: City can be like Utd & Barca

But after City were heavily criticised in the wake of the Monaco loss, Toure disagrees with suggestions they will not be able to win trophies under Guardiola’s free-flowing style.

“Of course we can win trophies playing this way,” he told the Times of India

“Why not? We know we can score goals and we just have to keep going.

Yaya Toure Manchester City 2017

“You have to be ready for [criticism] and you have to be used to that. We know that some people are waiting for us to fail so what we have to do is to try and keep going, keep working hard. 

“That is what you have to do to be a winner. We are playing well in the Premier League and we have to continue.”

Guardiola not ready to go defensive

Asked if the same strategy will be deployed against Liverpool, the 33-year-old added: “Yes. This is the way we play and if we play like that we are going to have more and more fans. 

“Even when we are winning we continue to attack. From the beginning of the season until now we have always showed we want to attack and score goals, that is the most important thing. 

“The new manager is all about attack. Sometimes when you play this way you can make a mistake but mistakes are part of the game.”

Manchester City want to be a 'winning machine' like Man Utd and Barcelona, says Yaya Toure

Pep Guardiola’s side have come in for heavy criticism since their Champions League exit, but the intention at the Etihad is to reach the very top

Yaya Toure insists Manchester City can still become a “winning machine” like Manchester United and Barcelona, despite their dramatic exit from this season’s Champions League.

City crashed out against Monaco at the last-16 stage, losing 3-1 in the second leg to exit on away goals after a 6-6 aggregate draw.

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But Toure believes City are still capable of reaching their goal of becoming a consistent winning force that compares to some of the most dominant teams in Europe.

Toure feels City do not get the same kind of recognition for their temperament as sides like United due to lacking their rivals’ trophy-winning history, but he wants that to change.

Bosman 2017 Yaya Toure

Asked if City do not get the credit they deserve for their character, he told the Times of India: “Maybe yes, but I think that is because we don’t have the history to show it. 

“When you play a team like Manchester United people always believe it because they have a story in that situation. They have done it before. 

Guardiola not ready to go defensive

“We will build our own story. Of course, that [being as big as United] is the plan. The plan at this club was always to bring in big players to win big trophies and to change the club into a winning machine like Man United or Barcelona.”

Toure still thinks City are capable of enjoying a successful season and will not give up on catching Premier League leaders Chelsea, who sit 10 points clear at the top with 11 games to go. 

Asked if a successful season was still possible, the 33-year-old said: “I think so, yes. We are still in the race in the Premier League, we are still in the FA Cup.

David Silva FA Cup Middlesbrough v Manchester City

“We want to win a trophy this season and we will keep fighting to do it. [Catching Chelsea] won’t be easy and it doesn’t look like with the way they are playing that they will let it slip, but if we show consistency and keep on going then it can happen.

“We want to go up to second and that is the first step. We cannot give up. We just hope. In football anything can happen.

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“It is difficult because Chelsea have momentum and they haven’t had to play in Europe, so they have had fewer games. But we did it in 2014 so why not again?”

City host top-four rivals Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Yaya Toure would consider joining Ibrahimovic at Man Utd as he prepares to quit Man City

The Ivorian’s agent Dimitri Seluk says the 33-year-old will sign for a rival club if he’s presented a decent offer, name-dropping United and Chelsea

Yaya Toure’s agent Dimitri Seluk has suggested the player is ready to leave Manchester City in the summer and that he would consider a move to Jose Mourinho’s United.

The 33-year-old’s contract with City expires in the summer, with Seluk insisting that Pep Guardiola’s side have yet to make him an offer to renew.

Toure says he wants to stay at City

And the player’s representative has gone on to insist that Toure would join a rival if a suitable offer is put on the table, revealing that even United, and a reunion with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, would be an option.

He said, as quoted by Sky Sports: “At this moment the situation is like this; from yesterday we officially started negotiating with different clubs about his future.

“We waited until March 15 for what Manchester City will say but until now Manchester City don’t say anything. Before March, we didn’t negotiate with anybody because Yaya does a lot with Manchester City, so we waited. But we cannot wait until the last minute, until June and have no negotiations with anybody.

“Some clubs have contacted me. Now we have three options. I don’t speak about Yaya and China or the MLS. He will play in Europe. I have spoken with clubs in different countries; Italy and Spain.

“Clubs from England waited for the situation with Manchester City, but now we can speak in England and soon I will come to England for negotiations. Yaya must go to vacation already signed with another club.”

When asked if Toure would sign for Manchester United, Seluk added: Why not? Jose Mourinho is a very good coach. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was together with Yaya in Barcelona.

“I understand this is two clubs who are rivals but for me, for example, this is not a problem from Yaya or from me, this problem will be from Manchester City staff.

“I said to Manchester City that we will start negotiations with other clubs about the future of Yaya. After that, if Manchester City want, they can start negotiations. If they don’t want then we will find another club.

“Yaya can, tomorrow, sign a contract with another club and after that for Manchester City it is too late. They don’t say anything; he must stay or he must go. They can think it and Manchester City are one of the options. We are open to negotiations. But tomorrow, for example, if we heard with Chelsea, he will sign with Chelsea.”

Toure had earlier insisted that he was happy at City, that he loved the club and was keen to remain at the Etihad Stadium.

Asked if he wanted to stay put he told Sky Sports: “Definitely. I love this football club.

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“The day I will be done, I’ll know myself. I know my body and I’ll say, ‘Yes, I’m done’.”

After initially being overlooked by manager Guardiola, Toure was brought back into the first-team picture and has made 21 appearances in all competitions, scoring six goals.

He was left out of his side’s 3-1 Champions League defeat to Monaco that saw them dumped out of the competition although did play 86 minutes of his side’s FA Cup win over Middlesbrough.

'I love Man City' – Toure keen for stay after being given new lease of life under Guardiola

The midfielder has opened up on his relationship with Pep Guardiola and says he wants to prove he was right to bring him back into the team

Yaya Toure says Pep Guardiola is the reason he has been able to regain his best form at Manchester City and that he definitely wants to stay at the Etihad Stadium after this season.

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The midfielder was left out of City’s plans at the start of the season after falling out with Guardiola and looked destined to leave the club.

However, Toure has been restored to the first team after apologising to his coach and now says he wants to remain at the club after his current deal expires this summer.

“Definitely. I love this football club,” he told Sky Sports when asked if he would like to stay.

“The day I will be done, I’ll know myself. I know my body and I’ll say, ‘Yes, I’m done’”.

Toure also admitted that while the early part of the season was difficult for him, he has Guardiola to thank for managing to get him back playing again at the top of his form.

“To be honest the manager was the one who tried to get my best,” he added. “Last year I was overweight, it was a difficult situation, there were a lot of problems with my family.

Bosman 2017 Yaya Toure

“I was talking with him most of the time and people were not seeing that on the screen. Those talks will stay between him and me. He knows what I can do and what I’m capable of doing.

“Like he said, he’s been honest with me. He is the guy that pushed me up, made me come back and that’s why I’m feeling respectful with him and that’s why I want to show him he was right.

“Psychologically he was quite hard. To manage a football player at this time is so difficult because football players have to deal with so many things.

“People have different ways of behaving. We are human beings as sportspeople and we have to understand that. He’s been clever in a lot of aspects, not just with me.

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“He is a special guy in football and I think for me it was something quite bizarre in the beginning. I knew him from.

“Barcelona and Barcelona was tough in the beginning as well because the guy is a hard worker and he wants his players at 100 per cent.

“’Just do what I want on the field and we are friends. If you don’t, bye.”