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Guardiola: No pressure for more Toure heroics

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 25 Nov 2016

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Pep Guardiola insists there is no pressure on Yaya Toure to reclaim his role as Manchester City’s talisman following the midfielder’s sensational return to first-team action last weekend.

Toure had been frozen out after outspoken agent Dimitri Seluk criticised Guardiola for leaving his client out of City’s squad for the group stage of the Champions League.

The 33-year-old belatedly offered an apology earlier this month and was a surprise inclusion in the starting line-up at Crystal Palace.

A lean and sharp Toure responded by netting both goals in a 2-1 win. It was a familiar sight for City fans, with the player having struck decisively on the way to multiple major honours since joining from Barcelona in 2010.

But Guardiola is not ready to saddle Toure with the burden of expectation in this unforeseen encore to his Eastlands career, citing his handling of Lionel Messi at the heart of an all-conquering Camp Nou side.

“Yaya was so important at Crystal Palace with two goals, how he played. But as a team our performance must be better,” Guardiola told reporters ahead of Saturday’s trip to Burnley.

“I am concerned with that, to play better as a team and of course Yaya can be important with us like all the other players.

“I don’t want to put on Yaya all the responsibility to win the games, I never do that.

“Even when I was training the best player in the world [Messi] I tried to involve all the processes of the game so all the responsibility was not on the shoulders of one player to win the game.

“It would not be good for Yaya and the team. Yaya is going to play games and in some of them he is not going to play like the other players.

“At Crystal Palace, for example [John] Stones, [Ilkay] Gundogan and David Silva didn’t play,” he said, somewhat erroneously given Silva featured as a second-half substitute.

“When you play in that rhythm and that level for 11 months, every three days and with the national teams and so on, all the players are important in that.”

City visit Turf Moor on the back of a qualification-clinching 1-1 draw at Borussia Monchengladbach in Champions League Group C.

Following each of their previous three European outings, City have failed to win their next Premier League game and the squad will stay overnight at their City Football Academy base adjacent to the Etihad Stadium before making a short trip for the 12.30pm kick-off.

“Always it is difficult after the Champions League game because of the travel and the demands – not just physically,” Guardiola added.

“Mentally, the approach after the Champions League is so, so tough. Some of the players are not used to playing every three days after the Champions League but they are in a process.

“We are working on that. Today we are going to sleep altogether here and tomorrow we are going to travel to Burnley.”

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