Toure rues missed chances after Juventus defeat

The Ivorian believes Manchester City had enough opportunities to win the game but Mario Mandzukic’s only goal was enough to put the Italian side in control of Group D

Yaya Toure rued Manchester City’s profligacy in front of goal after Juventus took control of Champions League Group D with a 1-0 victory in Turin.

Fernandinho and Raheem Sterling both missed close-range chances for City at Juventus Stadium, with Mario Mandzukic’s 18th-minute goal holding up as the match winner for the hosts.

Juve join City in securing a place in the last 16 and the Serie A champions now require only a point from their final match against Sevilla to make sure of top spot and a seeded place in the draw.

“I think we are quite disappointed,” Toure told BT Sport. “It was a 50-50 game. Over the game we had more chances than them but in the end we weren’t clinical.

“It’s part of football. To win you have to score goals and when we miss like that these things can happen.”

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City’s misery was compounded when they lost Joe Hart to a late injury after the goalkeeper had turned in another fine Champions League display.

“Joe Hart played well, he saved I think two goals,” Toure said. “In the first half and second half we had a clear-cut chance to draw. We were a little unlucky.

“We have to bounce back in the next game that’s coming.”

Toure added: “I think we missed quite a lot of important injured players but we have to deal with that because we have a fantastic squad.”

How Manchester City could line up against Juventus

A number of first team regulars have been ruled out of Wednesday’s Champions League clash in Turin, meaning Manuel Pellegrini must shuffle his pack


For the second time this season, Manchester City head into a Champions League away game needing to bounce back from a 4-1 thrashing.

In September, City responded to defeat at Tottenham by seeing off Borussia Monchengladbach with a last-minute penalty. This time, top spot in Group D is up for grabs as they meet Juventus, with Saturday’s humbling at the hands of Liverpool still fresh in the memory.

Manuel Pellegrini’s starting XI will be under the spotlight. The manager was criticised at the weekend for leaving Nicolas Otamendi and Fernandinho on the bench against the Reds.

Pellegrini changed things up at half-time, but by then it was too late and he only caused more problems for himself after the match when he claimed he would pick exactly the same team if he had the chance to do so again.

Had he pointed out that both Otamendi and Fernandinho had travelled to South America and back for international duty during the week he would have been understood. Instead, he adopted a defensive stance and attracted more scorn from many City fans.

“We will pick the right team for Juventus, a team to try and get a result,” he said after the Liverpool game. “We have a tough game against Southampton the following Saturday and the recovery period will not be ideal, but when we go to Juventus we will be thinking only about making progress in Europe and not about the Premier League.”

But he will have to do so with an injury-ravaged squad: “We have a difficult situation because we have too many players injured,” he added on Tuesday. “In defence we have injured: Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany and Mangala; in midfield we have injured Samir Nasri and David Silva and attacking we have Wilfried Bony.”

The match will be an interesting challenge for City. In their last Champions League game they dispatched Sevilla 3-1 and produced the kind of display that suggested they could at last make real progress in the competition.

After that match captain Vincent Kompany pointed to the “British” style of football his side had adopted in Spain and Pellegrini emphasised the need to replicate that standard of performance.

“I think that [to progress further] first of all we need to play in Europe in the same way we did in Sevilla.

“I don’t think the word exactly is a formula, I think we played very well, we played as a consistent team, we didn’t allow Sevilla to have many chances on our goal, but more than that I think we played the same we as we did so many times in the Premier League: we had good possession, we didn’t lose easy balls, we had good chances to score.”

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But they were brought down to earth with a bang on Saturday, leaving many to wonder what exactly this season holds for City.

A win in Turin would secure top spot in their group, meaning they could rest key players against Gladbach in their final game and, in theory, secure an easier draw in the last-16.

Another ongoing problem for Pellegrini is the fitness of Sergio Aguero. The Chilean says the striker is not fit enough to play 90 minutes, or to play two games in a week. Aguero was taken off after 66 minutes on Saturday, but with Bony still out injured and Kelechi Iheanacho not registered, the Argentine may have to start.

Fernandinho is likely to be restored to the midfield alongside Fernando, and Toure – who was subbed at half-time against Liverpool – will play in the No.10 role. That could mean Kevin De Bruyne returns to a wide role, with either Sterling on the left, or Jesus Navas on the right. The Belgian could, however, find himself on the bench as he did in southern Spain.

Bacary Sagna said he was not physically prepared to play on Saturday – something Pellegrini disputes – but he may well have to start again given Zabaleta’s ongoing injury problems. Argentine pair Nicolas Otamendi and Martin Demichelis are the only two fit centre-backs and Aleksandar Kolarov is the favourite to start at left-back given Gael Clichy has not played all season.

Considering City’s injuries, and Pellegrini’s need to get things right in the face of so much criticism, the Juventus game is a delicate challenge.

Allegri demands Champions League impact from Juve

The Italian champions face Manchester City on Wednesday with a place in the last-16 on the line, and their coach wants three points to make qualification safe

Massimiliano Allegri says Juventus “still haven’t achieved anything in the Champions League” despite reaching the final last season.

Juve, who lost 3-1 to Barca in the 2014-15 decider in June, face Manchester City in their penultimate Group D fixture on Wednesday.

The Serie A champions are second in the group, five points ahead of third-placed Sevilla, and are seeking this week to join their Premier League opponents in securing a berth in the round of 16.

A draw in Turin will be enough should Sevilla fail to beat Borussia Monchengladbach, but Allegri wants his players to remain in control of their fate by overcoming Manuel Pellegrini’s team.

“We need to win [on] Wednesday, it’s the only way we can be certain of making the last 16 as soon as possible,” he told a news conference.

“We still haven’t achieved anything in the Champions League. We have a difficult game tomorrow and it’s still all to play for. Manchester City are one of the best teams in Europe.

“We need to learn to read the game better, speeding things up and slowing things down when the time is right.”

Mario Mandzukic played a key role in Juve’s 2-1 win over City in the reverse fixture at Etihad Stadium in September, but the experienced Croat has since been outshone by youngster Paulo Dybala.

Allegri has stressed the former Bayern Munich striker should not be written off though, while attempting to downplay expectations surrounding the emerging Argentine forward, who was a big-money off-season recruit from Palermo.

“By the end of the season Mandzukic will have weighed in with goals. The ones he’s scored so far have been vital,” Allegri said.

“Dybala has been doing well. We need to let him play and develop without placing too much responsibility on his shoulders.”

Yaya Toure: Manchester City need to win group

The Ivory Coast international believes victory in Turin will help restore confidence after Saturday’s thrashing by Liverpool

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure says it is important his side beat Juventus on Wednesday and finish top of Champions League Group D.

Manuel Pellegrini’s men have been unable to make an impact in Europe in recent years, but the Ivory Coast international is confident they can go all the way in the Champions League this time around.

Manchester City were beaten 4-1 by Liverpool at the weekend but Toure is determined to return to winning ways when they take on Juventus with top spot on the line in Turin.

“It’s important for the confidence of our supporters and it’s important for us to put in a strong performance,” he told the club’s official website.

“A couple of years ago, we were in this competition and we didn’t finish in the top two. I think the key is to finish first for the first time and if we could do it with one game to spare, so much the better.

“I don’t know what will happen in Turin. For us, the target is to finish first and get a kind draw in the Round of 16 and then continue onwards because it’s a target to get as far as we can in this competition.”

City’s defeat to Liverpool saw them knocked off the top of the Premier League table but Toure says his side are still gunning for glory on all fronts.

“The target of this club this year is try to achieve any trophy possible and we are still going strong in all of them this season,” he added.

“We know it will be difficult to win everything, but we’ll be trying as hard as we can because we have the squad, we have the players and I think if everything is right at the right time, we can perform and beat anybody.”

Brilliance from De Bruyne but frustration for Aguero – Manchester City's best & worst of the season so far

It has been a great start to the campaign for Manuel Pellegrini’s men with the Belgian and Fernandinho shining brightest, but the Argentina star has struggled with injuries

GOALBy Sam Lee

You couldn’t really ask for much more from Manchester City at this point in the season. They have responded to last season’s “disappointing” campaign, as club chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak put it, by surging to the top of the Premier League, reaching the League Cup quarter-finals and making strides in the Champions League.

There have been a wealth of reasons to be positive and very few sour notes, meaning City fans can be very pleased with the season so far.


Coping without Sergio Aguero and David Silva would have been unthinkable in recent years, but Kevin De Bruyne’s form since signing from Wolfsburg has propelled City to the top of the league despite missing two of their most important players.

In his first six starts he racked up four goals and five assists and his play in a variety of attacking positions has been breathtaking at times. His eye for a killer pass is as keen as his eye for goal and, a slight dip in recent form notwithstanding, he has been City’s most important player this season.

Fernandinho has also been exceptional, but De Bruyne’s attacking exploits have covered for the absence of two hugely important players.


Fernando endured a less-than-inspiring first campaign in English football last time out and on his return to the line-up this season he was part of the team which capitulated at Tottenham.

But since then he has been almost flawless, sitting in front of the defence, winning tackles and headers and allowing the centre-backs to stay in position. Fernando’s best game of the season was probably in the goalless draw at Old Trafford, where Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi shone as a partnership for the first time.

Kompany’s return was credited as a calming influence, and while that is true, Fernando should be recognised for his role in settling the defensive block. These performances looked a long way off at times last season.


There was understandably much concern when Aguero was stretchered off while playing for Argentina at the start of October. He had, after all, eviscerated Newcastle United just five days previously, putting five goals past the hapless Magpies in a brilliant display of centre-forward play.

In truth, though, that was the first time he had really played well since he dismantled Chelsea back in August. He had looked a little out of sorts against Everton, but given his performance against Jose Mourinho’s side there weren’t too many alarm bells. When his finishing touch also eluded him in games against Watford, West Ham and Tottenham, however, it became more of a concern.

He was on target from the spot against Borussia Monchengladbach but City’s fine start to the season was largely thanks to contributions from elsewhere.

This is not to say that Aguero has been a crushing disappointment, but the combination of several below-par performances, combined with a six-week injury straight after finding his shooting boots again, mean it has been a frustrating, stop-start season for Aguero.


The comprehensive victory at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan could prove to be a seminal moment for the club. Finally, this was a consumate, intelligent European performance, with everybody playing their part.

Sevilla had not lost in 10 European matches on their own turf, and had already beaten Barcelona in the league there this season.

City, though, played it perfectly. They flew out of the traps and stunned their hosts with incisive counter-attacking play.

Manuel Pellegrini is often accused of being tactically inflexible but here he used a three-man midfield, with Fernando sitting deep and Fernandinho and Yaya Toure pressing the hosts’ defence.

City ceded possession of the ball and looked entirely comfortable. If they can play like this in the biggest away games – and possibly even huge home games – they really could go for this season.


City fans are desperate to see more of Kelechi Iheanacho. The Nigerian youngster has been wowing supporters in friendlies and youth matches in the last couple of seasons, and made his mark immediately after coming off the bench at Crystal Palace in September, scoring the winner on his Premier League debut.

He had been given a couple of subsititute appearances since, before being handed his first start against Palace in the League Cup. He shone once again, racking up a goal and two assists, and was duly named in the starting line-up against Norwich City. He struggled to make an impact, however, and was taken off nine minutes into the second half. Not registered for the Champions League squad, he was back in England when City beat Sevilla and back on the bench at Aston Villa a few days later.

Wilfried Bony, who has done about as well as can be expected of a back-up striker in Aguero’s absence, went off early at Villa Park but Iheanacho was forced to watch on from the bench until the final exchanges.

Many City fans wanted to see the 19-year-old a lot sooner, but they may have to be a little more patient as Manuel Pellegrini looks to protect this precocious talent.