City can reinforce dominance over United: Toure

LONDON • Yaya Toure believes Manchester City can prove they are the No. 1 team in Manchester if they finish the Premier League season above their old rivals United.

A 0-0 draw with United in Thursday's derby at the Etihad maintained City's one-point advantage over Jose Mourinho's side in the race for a top-four finish.

Victory for City, who lie fourth, against struggling Middlesbrough today would help Toure's team finish above United for the fifth time in six seasons.

"Yes, all the time we finish above them in the season, it shows City are doing very well," said Toure. "United are building something very interesting, but I think City are going to be much stronger next season as well. This year was quite disappointing because we dominated games but still lost. We need to work on our finishing."

That finishing - badly lacking against United - may improve if manager Pep Guardiola hands a start to Brazilian Gabriel Jesus, who came on as a substitute in the derby. The 20-year-old had been out for more than two months after surgery on a broken foot, although veteran Sergio Aguero had responded with 12 goals in as many games in his absence.

"No, Aguero is doing very well," said Toure when asked if City had missed the youngster. "Gabriel is coming. If we have a striker who is going to score, it is going to make quite a difference."

City represent the start of a difficult run-in for second-from-bottom Middlesbrough.

"We've got to beat one of the big teams and the first that comes along is Manchester City," said Middlesbrough caretaker-manager Steve Agnew. "It's pretty simple - we play City and have to take on the challenge and we have to win."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 30, 2017, with the headline 'City can reinforce dominance over United: Toure'. Print Edition | Subscribe