Pep Guardiola tells Yaya Toure to earn his Man City spot back after being frozen out for 'sporting' reasons
Pep Guardiola has told Yaya Toure it is down to him to force his way back into his first team plans after the Manchester City manager claimed the midfielder has been frozen out for “sporting” reasons.
Toure has not played a single minute for City this season and was left out of the squad that travelled to Rotterdam on Tuesday afternoon for the club’s opening Champions League game against Feyenoord.
Guardiola refused to disclose the precise reasons behind his failure to involve Toure so far this term but admitted that he wanted to see more from the player, who was the only senior player of six out of contract in the summer to be given a new deal.
“I spoke with him and he knows the reason why but it’s between him and me,” the City manager said.
Asked if it was down to what Toure was doing in training, Guardiola added: “No, no, no. It’s a sporting decision. He was so important last season. Six players finished their contract and he was the only one who stayed because he’s a special player. But the decision is he didn’t play the last game and today he is not in the squad and he knows the reason why. Hopefully [he will play soon]. It depends on the player.”
Was Guardiola happy with Toure? “Always, yeah,” Guardiola said, sardonically. “I’m always happy – but of course I demand as much as possible. I want more, not just from Yaya – I want more from everyone.”
Toure was largely exiled for the first three months of last season following a row between Guardiola and the player’s agent, Dimitri Seluk, although he also said the midfielder lacked the intensity he required.
Toure was brought back into the fold in November after issuing a public apology and was one of City’s best performers during the second half of last season but he has now run into fresh problems with Guardiola.
Vincent Kompany was also left behind as he continues his recovery from a calf injury picked up on international duty that forced him to miss Saturday’s 5-0 win at home to Liverpool. Guardiola does not believe the injury is too serious and expects the defender back soon.
“Vincent is in Manchester, he's much better,” Guardiola said. “I don't know when but he'll be back soon. We are taking care of him, we'll see about Vincent in the next weeks, but I think hopefully he'll soon be fighting with his team-mates to play.”
One man who did travel is Ederson, despite the sickening facial injury he suffered after being caught by Sadio Mane’s studs against Liverpool. The City goalkeeper required eight stitches but he is in contention to start against Feyenoord, although he wore a protective skull cap in training on Tuesday and will do the same if he plays.
Petr Cech fractured his skull in a collision with Stephen Hunt playing for Chelsea against Reading in 2006 and has worn a protective skull cap ever since having admitted he faced a battle to regain his confidence. Guardiola said he could understand how Cech felt but hopes Ederson, who did not suffer a fracture or concussion, will not be unduly affected.
"I could understand that feeling, but in today's training session there were two or three long balls and he [Ederson] was there,” Guardiola said. “Of course it can happen but we will see. He’s got protection. Today he trained. We will see tomorrow if he will play. I have to speak with him.”
John Stones was quick to praise Ederson’s strength of character and insists referee Jon Moss was right to send off Mane. Liverpool’s appeal to have the Senegalese’s three-match ban reduced was thrown out by the FA on Tuesday.
"Ederson has got on with it straight away, after the game in the changing room he was speaking to the boys as if nothing had happened which shows what character he has got. He just wants to be around the team, in that environment,” the City defender said. “I've personally not tried to ask him too much about it because I know everyone else will be. Everyone has seen his face, the stitches, the swelling but he's got on with it, put a scrum cap on and he's been training today."
"When I saw him on the floor, the cut was bleeding heavily, I think it was the correct decision to show him [Mane] the red card. He didn't intentionally do it but he's caught him in the head and at force as well so I think the referee made the correct decision.” Guardian
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola not yet dreaming of Champions League success
PEP GUARDIOLA admits Manchester City are no closer to winning the Champions League - despite having the most expensive squad in football history.
His current group of stars cost a staggering £775m to assemble as club bosses stop at nothing in their quest to become kings of Europe.
But Guardiola reckons his side are still learning the ropes in Europe and refuses to contemplate winning the biggest prize in club football.
Manchester City kick-off their Champions League campaign in Rotterdam tonight against Dutch champions Feyenoord.
Guardiola could include Ederson despite the goalkeeper suffering serious facial injuries in last weekend’s clash with Sadio Mane that has forced him to train in a scrum cap.
“When you arrive in the last stages you say the dream is close”
Guardiola, whose side crashed out of the competition in the last 16 last season, despite reaching the semi-finals under Manuel Pellegrini the year before, said:
“We will play our first game in the group stage. We fought a lot to be there. The gap was so close (last season) and we fought a lot.
“Now we start our road. I know from my experience how complicated it is. We were not able to win one game away (last season) and it doesn’t matter if you are playing famous team or lower teams.
“We are not dreaming - when you’re in that position it’s better to be calm. When you arrive in the last stages you say the dream is close - but now it’s far away.
“The Champions League is so demanding. The teams are so physical. The best performances are always in the Champions League, but if you are not at the top level you cannot compete.
“I’m so happy with the what I have, I was so happy last season. I think last season we did good things, but it wasn’t enough.
“I don’t know if we are able to compete. We are still in the process. I’m so happy with the players we have.
“We can do better than last season - but I don’t know. We’ll see.
“I don’t know if we are able to compete for the titles because we are in the process of growing up.
“If we don’t win or make a good performance it will be failure. I know that. I learn it from the beginning. I have to accept it. I can handle that. Hopefully the player’s can understand.”
A huge storm is forecast to hit Rotterdam during the game and there appear to be dark clouds gathering over the fractured relationship between Guardiola and Yaya Toure.
Guardiola has left the Ivorian back in Manchester and Toure finds himself frozen out once again after failing to play a single minute of the new season so far.
Guardiola refused to reveal what the problem with Toure was, but it is understood the Spaniard is less than impressed with Toure’s attitude in training and fitness levels.
The City boss, who will be without injured captain Vincent Kompany, added: “I spoke with him and he knows the reason why - but it’s between him and me.
“It’s a sporing decision. He was so important last season. He was the only one who stayed. He’s a special player.
“But he didn’t play and he knows the reason why. I want more from Yaya. I want more from everyone.” Star
Man City defender knew Sadio Mane Liverpool red card was right when he saw Ederson's horror injury
Goalkeeper is praised by Manchester City teammate for his response to the collision which brought Liverpool striker's dismissal
John Stones says that the sight of prone teammate Ederson bleeding on the Etihad Stadium pitch was enough to convince him Sadio Mane deserved a red card.
The controversy has raged ever since the Liverpool striker flattened the Manchester City goalkeeper during the Blues' 5-0 win on Saturday.
And Ederson has made a remarkable recovery, and is preparing to play against Feyenoord with a scrum cap protecting the eight stitches in two facial wounds, after Pep Guardiola set him a test.
But Stones, who frantically signalled for help after the incident, says he was sure that referee Jon Moss made the right call in dismissing Mane for dangerous play.
“I think it's been blown out with people's opinions - some have said not,” said Stones when asked if the decision was correct.
The challenge by Sadio Mane that left Ederson with eight stitches in his face
“But from my opinion when I saw him on the floor, and the cut was bleeding I think it was the correct decision.
“He didn't do it intentionally but he's caught him at force and the referee made the correct decision.”
But the England defender, sure to start at De Kuip with skipper Vincent Kompany injured, paid tribute to Ederson's response – and his bravery.
“Ederson has got on with it straight away,” he said. “After the game in the changing room he was talking as if nothing had happened. That shows his character.
“He wants to be around the team, in that environment. I've not asked him much.
“Everyone has seen his face, the stitches, the swelling but he's put a scrum cap on and he's been training.”
City will need that kind of spirit when they walk out into a fervent atmosphere at the Feyenoord stadium, with Ronald Koeman warning Pep Guardiola that the noise and intimidation inside the ground are “incomparable”.
But Stones, despite a patchy first season with the Blues, played in nine of their ten Champions league games, his first experience of the competition following his £47million move from Everton.
Manchester City player Benjamin Mendy says he has an instinctive understanding with Leroy Sane
His place has not been certain this season, but Kompany's injury means he will be called upon in a squad which is still short in terms of defensive numbers.
He said: “I have to keep fighting, keep working hard in training. There is strong competition, everyone wants to play. We have to play well to keep our spot and keep in the England squad.”
And Stones admitted that the excitement factor raps up whenever City board the plane for another European adventure, having fulfilled a dream by facing Lionel Messi in the Nou Camp, and in City's 3-1 win in the return leg.
Many English players have flagged up the differences between playing in the Premier League, and the Champions League – but what struck Stones about his debut season amongst the Euro elite?
“The quality of the opposition,” he said.
“I've been in the Premier League a few seasons, and you play English teams, but you get that excitement factor of going abroad and playing the big teams, like Barcelona.
“Beating them at the Etihad is one of the best games I've played in. Hopefully I can bring that into this campaign and we can better ourselves from last season.”
Paul Bosvelt: ”Feyenoord have a team that is difficult to beat ”
Former Feyenoord and Dutch midfielder Paul Bosvelt spoke to NOS ahead of tomorrow’s match against another of his former clubs Manchester City.
Bosvelt was captain of Feyenoord when they won the UEFA Cup in 2002 beating Borussia Dortmund. He then joined Manchester City in 2003 and spent two years with the club.
He said, ”I became a Feyenoord man due the commitment of their fans. Their are so fanatic that you become infected by them. Fans that come to training every day you eventually get to know them. The love that the fans have for the club goes very deep indeed.
”My time at Feyenoord was the most successful period of my career. It was great to play at the highest level and also to win trophies.
”Feyenoord have a team that are difficult to beat. It is a shame that Nicolai Jorgensen is injured for the match against Manchester City. But Feyenoord have shown that they can play in a mature and compact way and they will need to do that tomorrow.
”For me it is a special game tomorrow because I played for both clubs during my career. I am looking forward to attending the game.”
WAG OF THE DAY
- Spoiler: Show/Hide
Sporting Lisbon midfielder William Carvalho, 25, still wants to go to West Ham despite the breakdown in relations between the two clubs. (Mirror)
Arsenal have not held contract negotiations with midfielder Mesut Ozil since February. The 28-year-old Germany international has one year left on his current deal. (SportBild via Metro)
And reports in Germany say Ozil is preparing to leave the club on a free transfer when his contract expires next summer. (Sun)
Chelsea's wantaway striker Diego Costa, 28, has finally left Brazil and has arrived in Madrid to try and force through his transfer to Atletico. (Gianluca Di Marzio via Metro)
Atletico are set to make a revised proposal of £40m, plus £9m in add-ons and a £4m bonus payment for the Spaniard's early release. (Daily Mail)
Barcelona are set to renew their interest in Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri, 26, in January after calling off the deal to pursue Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho. (Sun)
RB Leipzig director Oliver Mintzlaff has revealed Liverpool and Real Madrid target, 21-year-old striker Timo Werner, does not have a release clause. (Sun)
Is Carlo Ancelotti being replaced at the end of the season as Bayern Munich boss? According to German football writer Raphael Honigstein, he will make way for Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann. (BBC 5 Live)
Newly-appointed Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson turned down two huge bids from China for the chance to prove himself again in English football. (Mirror)
It was a big day for the Premier League as three title-chasing teams revealed their third kits... and they all featured a camouflage design. (Daily Mail)
New aerial photographs also showed the rapid progress being made on Tottenham's new stadium in North London. (Mirror)
Heavyweight World Champion Anthony Joshua says Cristiano Ronaldo would beat Lionel Messi in a fight. (Daily Mail)
On this day 2012
Candid camera offers a glimpse of the team spirit which powered Manchester City to the title
Pictures taken from the new Manchester City book '#Champioins Uncut'1
Manchester City's superstars were said to have snarled and fought their way to the Premier League title, a team at civil war.
But a new book released by the club reveals that they GIGGLED their way to success – and portrays the real sense of unity which helped to power the Blues over the finishing line.
The book “#Champions Uncut” charts the story of the season in hundreds of pictures taken by club photographer Sharon Latham.
Critics claimed that City were an unhappy camp, pointing to pictures of isolated training-ground bust-ups.
But Latham’s snaps show the other side of the story, revealing there were more laughs than rows along the way.
We picked out some of our favourite pictures from the book, which M.E.N. readers can get at a discount price.
In one, Joe Hart is seen being accosted by an enthusiastic female fan as the team wait for a train at Stockport Station, much to the amusement of team-mates.
Carlos Tevez revealed he was more settled and happy at City, and then proved it with a beaming smile as he played with kids at a community event, while Nigel de Jong and Joleon Lescott took a bite out of their Premier League winner’s medals – just to make sure it wasn’t all a dream!
Mario Balotelli’s antics feature throughout, and even when he relaxed with a game of pool he couldn’t resist a bit of flamboyant headwear.
David Silva proved almost as skilful at cake-decorating as he is with a ball at his feet, while manager Roberto Mancini and Sergio Aguero lapped up the glory at the victory parade after the title triumph.
“#Champions Uncut” is on sale now at a recommended price of £20. M.E.N. readers can quote CITY2 to save £5 at http://www.zutopia.co.uk, 0845143 0001. Pictures: Copyright Manchester City FC.
Sergio Aguero in frame to make his Manchester City return
Sergio Aguero is fighting to be fit for Saturday’s trip to Stoke after stepping up his training at Carrington.
The Argentina striker was released from his international squad at the weekend after their medical staff agreed with the Blues’ doctor that he was unfit to play in the World Cup qualifiers.
Aguero damaged knee ligaments just minutes into the opening game of the season against Southampton, and has been missing
Manager Roberto Mancini initially opposed Aguero’s call-up by the national team, saying he needed to remain in Manchester for treatment.
But the Argentine FA insisted, and Aguero is believed to have smoothed over the matter between club and country.
Since coming back earlier this week, Aguero has been running and has even done some ball work.
Now a decision will be taken to see if he can re-join the main group when they return to club duty today.
His countryman Pablo Zabaleta should be fit – and fresh – after recovering from a tight hamstring which kept him out of Argentina’s World Cup qualifying win over Paraguay at the weekend.
Zabaleta was fit to play in the second international, a draw away to Peru, but was left on the bench.
City made a nice little bonus of £1.7million after David Silva and Mario Balotelli both reached the Euro 2012 final.
The fee is compensation for the use of players in the June tournament, and City picked up more money than any other English club.
Top of the payment list were Bayern Munich with £2.5million, while United picked up £1.3million.
City's Elite Development Squad tonight go in search of their first point in the NextGen Series, when Turkish side Fenerbahce visit Hyde’s Ewen Fields ground tonight (7pm). MuEN
The young Blues, who lost every group game last season, were beaten 2-0 by Paris St Germain in their group opener last month.
City to tempt Tevez into longer stay
Patrick Vieira hopes Carlos Tevez will extend his Manchester City contract and revealed "everyone loves Carlos in the dressing room".
The Argentina striker is more settled in England than ever before with his family back in Manchester and City's football development executive believes he would be open to committing himself to the club beyond the end of his current deal.
Tevez was on his way out when City manager Roberto Mancini said the striker was "finished" at the club after he refused to warm up in the Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich in September 2011 - going AWOL in South America for half the season.
But Vieira insists the ex-Manchester United frontman remains a popular figure at the club and has been welcomed back to the fold.
"Carlos is a person everyone loves in the dressing room and hopefully he will stay," Vieira, who played alongside Tevez at Eastlands, said. "We are talking about one of the best players of his generation. One of the best signings we made last year was to keep Carlos."
Tevez, who has entered the final two years of his contract, has scored four goals in four games this season, leading Mancini to praise him for his attitude and performances.
Aleksandar Kolarov ready to face Cristiano Ronaldo
Aleksandar Kolarov is relishing the prospect of facing Cristiano Ronaldo after dealing with the threat of another wing wonder in Gareth Bale.
Manchester City full-back Kolarov was part of the Serbia side that hammered Bale's Wales 6-1 in Tuesday's World Cup qualifier in Novi Sad.
Wales boss Chris Coleman had warned Kolarov to expect a tough examination against Bale.
But the City defender had the last laugh as he opened the scoring with a free-kick and played a part in the home side's second and third goals as the Dragons were vanquished emphatically.
The Premier League champions meet Stoke at the weekend but then face the daunting task of travelling to the Bernabeu to face Real Madrid in their opening Champions League Group D clash.
And Kolarov, 26, knows just how crucial stopping Ronaldo, who has come in for criticism after claiming he is "sad" at Real, will be if City are to get a result in Spain.
"I knew about Bale from the Premier League, I've played against him before and I know how good he is but we kept him quiet," he said. "He scored a great free-kick but apart from that we did not have many problems.
"Ronaldo is something different. Everyone knows about him, there's nothing much more that you can say about him.
"He's a special player - with Messi he is the best player in the world. So to play against someone like that will be a big test. He played for Man United too so he will want to score against us.
"But I'll be confident because City can go to Madrid with confidence. It should be a great night for the club. "We are the champions of England and they will know it will not be an easy night for them as well. Everyone at Man City will look forward to going there."
City were eliminated in the group stages of last season's Champions League, and they face a tough task this time around with their group being completed by Ajax and Borussia Dortmund.
The Blues ultimately paid the price for a slow start that saw them pick up one point from their first two games, and Kolarov knows they cannot afford a repeat.
"We want to do better in the Champions League and qualify but again we have been given a really tough group. This time we need to start better than we did last year," he said.
Meanwhile, City's football development executive Patrick Vieira is confident his former Inter Milan team-mate Maicon has plenty to offer City.
The Brazilian right-back has joined from Inter for an undisclosed fee and Vieira said: "He is a fantastic player.
"I spent a few years with him at Inter and he has experience and talent.
"He has the ambition to be part of the Brazilian national team for the World Cup.
"It is something really important for him and I am sure he will bring a lot to this football club. He is a fantastic character to have around too."
"He has the experience of winning the Italian league and the Champions League and to have him at the football club is fantastic.
"Scott inclair is a young, talented player and hopefully coming to City will help him get to another level.
"Jack Rodwell has already played and has done really well so far, and Javi Garcia is also a young talent - it is exciting to have these players at the club."
Vieira: Maicon to help Man City’s Champions League bid
Manchester City’s football development executive, Patrick Vieira, has spoken of his delight at the Premier League champions’ capture of Brazilian full-back Maicon from Inter on transfer deadline day.
Two Italian cups and famously, the Champions League in 2009-10 under Jose Mourinho, where Maicon starred in victories over Chelsea, Barcelona and Bayern Munich. According to the Daily Mail, it is this invaluable European experience that Maicon will bring to City as well as his quality on the pitch, as the Citizens look to mount a challenge for the Champions League title this season.
“Maicon is a fantastic player,” Vieira said. “I spent a few years with him at Inter and he has experience and talent. He has the ambition to be part of the Brazilian national team for the World Cup (in 2014). It is something really important for him and I am sure he will bring a lot to this football club. He is a fantastic character to have around too.”
Maicon, 31, faces a battle for his place in the City team at right-back, with Pablo Zabaleta being a favourite not only of manager Roberto Mancini, but the fans, while home-grown Micah Richards, currently on the treatment table, also a strong contender in that position.
City continue their title defence away to Stoke City on Saturday before beginning their Champions League campaign with a glamour tie away to Real Madrid in the Bernabeu three days later.