EPL: Yaya Toure is here to stay, says Pep Guardiola

Updated: Nov 21, 2016, 10:13 IST | PA Sport

Manchester City manager Guardiola hails midfielder after his match-winning double vs Crystal Palace on his return

Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola

London: Pep Guardiola praised the "very special" Yaya Toure after the midfielder returned from his Manchester City exile to inspire their 2-1 win at Crystal Palace. Making his first Premier League appearance of the season, Toure gave City a half-time lead with his first goal before, with his second, securing the three points that came under threat after Connor Wickham's second-half finish.

The fall-out that began with public criticism from Toure's agent Dimitri Seluk, who accused City boss Guardiola of "humiliating" the midfielder when omitting him from City's Champions League squad, meant he had played only once this season in the 1-0 defeat of Steaua Bucharest in August.

Man City's Yaya Toure (centre) celebrates a goal with teammates Kevin De Bruyne (left) and Fernandinho (right) on Saturday. Pic/AFP
Man City's Yaya Toure (centre) celebrates a goal with teammates Kevin De Bruyne (left) and Fernandinho (right) on Saturday. Pic/AFP

After the result had taken his second-placed team level on 27 points with league leaders Liverpool, Guardiola said: "He's a very special player. His performance was not about my decision, it's about his quality. Yaya was, for the last two months, training really well. His physical condition is better than ever. I'm so happy for him and his family. He's now a real part of the team and can help us achieve our targets. We need this kind of player."

"The Premier League, Champions League and cups are so demanding. John Stones didn't play, so we need all the players to be fit to achieve our targets," he added. Asked if Toure had been selected to allow other players to rest in preparation for Wednesday's Champions League trip to Borussia Monchengladbach, Guardiola responded: "It's for many, many, many reasons. Now we have Yaya. We will have Yaya during the season. He's ready and can play with us."

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