The Ivorian had been on the fringes of the Blues squad for much of the season before his return this weekend, but his team-mate says he never complained
Bacary Sagna says Yaya Toure was always “respectful and professional” throughout his exile from the Manchester City first team squad.
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Toure capped his shock return to the starting line-up on Saturday with both goals in City’s 2-1 victory at Crystal Palace.
The Ivorian had previously only played in a Champions League qualification dead rubber in August and had appeared to be completely frozen out by coach Pep Guardiola, who had demanded an apology for comments made by the midfielder’s agent.
As well as being left out of the City squad for the Champions League proper, Toure had also missed 11 Premier League matches and was not considered for either of City’s games in the EFL Cup, despite Guardiola making a number of rotations.
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But Sagna, who was one of the first to celebrate with Toure after the final whistle at Selhurst Park, says his team-mate never kicked up a fuss.
“I am very pleased for him because it has not been easy for him in the past few weeks,” the Frenchman said.
“He kept working really hard in training, stayed professional, and that was his just reward.
“Everyone knows his quality, and he showed he is a great player. Everyone was expecting a lot from him and he responded.
“The manager showed his confidence in Yaya, and Yaya gave it back to him.
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“Yaya is a great guy and has always been part of the club. Nobody doubts he is a great player, but he showed some character and proved he can be decisive.
“It could have been a difficult situation, but knowing the man I was not surprised to see him achieving the game he played at Palace because he was always respectful to everyone, always professional, and he is always the first one to try to play football, his football.
“He was vital for us. Technically, he made a big difference in getting us back into the game – and he scored two goals!”