Pep Guardiola has lauded the performance and attitude of Yaya Toure after the Ivorian capped his return to the Manchester City line-up with a two-goal display in the 2-1 win over Crystal Palace.
Toure – restored to the starting XI for the first time in the Premier League this term and for just a second time under Guardiola in all competitions – netted either side of Connor Wickham’s strike to move City level on points with leaders Liverpool.
And Guardiola, who froze the 33-year-old out following critical comments from his agent, was quick to praise the former Barcelona star.
“I’m so happy for Yaya Toure because he’s a really nice guy,” Guardiola told the club’s official website. “His weight is perfect now and there is no doubts about his quality.
“His personality and his quality are there to see – he can play many positions. I’m so happy for him and his family. We now have one more man that can help us achieve our targets this season.
“The last two months he was amazing in the training sessions. His behaviour was absolutely perfect. His team-mates love him.”
Toure’s second goal – and City’s winner – came with just seven minutes of normal time remaining.
“I know how difficult it is coming to Crystal Palace and getting a win. I am still in the process of adapting to this league,” Guardiola, who also confirmed that Vincent Kompany had to go off due to an issue with his vision, added.
“The games are intensive. Teams play consecutively but they have a lot of quality, too. We didn’t play brilliantly in the way we want to play, but we adapted in the way we needed to play here.”
While City are battling at the top, it is a different story for Palace, who have lost five of their last six fixtures and find themselves just a point above the relegation zone – with Alan Pardew under no illusions as to their current predicament.
“We deserved something from the game but you can’t keep saying that. We need to get points,” he told BBC Sport.
“We have got games coming up that we have more chance of winning but we are under pressure. We needed a result to give us a lift.
“We are fighting, we showed that. Our recent run is really poor but the performances don’t warrant that.”
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