Football: Toure wants to Pep city boss up

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola confronting referee Lee Mason over his decisions after Monday's 2-1 Premier League win over Burnley.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola confronting referee Lee Mason over his decisions after Monday's 2-1 Premier League win over Burnley.PHOTO: REUTERS

Yaya wants to cheer Guardiola up, says team have to be near 'perfect' for rest of the season

LONDON • Yaya Toure has challenged Manchester City to put a smile back on manager Pep Guardiola's face with a dominant display in tonight's FA Cup third-round clash at West Ham.

Guardiola was in a grouchy mood following City's hard-fought 2-1 win over Burnley on Monday, as he grumbled about the way officials treat his team and embarked on a series of fractious post-match interviews.

Adding to the growing sense that the City boss is struggling to find his feet in English football, he said in a recent interview with NBC that he may not stay in management for much longer than his contract.

The Spaniard is finding out that the more cut-throat Premier League, where Leicester City's title triumph last season showcased a strength in depth missing in Spain and Germany where he once managed, can sap a manager's energy.

While it is far too soon to say his philosophy will not succeed in England, he certainly looks frazzled and could do with City recapturing the swashbuckling spirit that saw them mark his arrival with a 10-game winning streak.

Toure, back in favour after clashing with Guardiola earlier this term, believes the solution is to play with more passion at critical moments.

"At the moment we are in not in our best form but we have to be able to deliver," he said.

TIME TO BATTLE

City have always been a team who fight to the end to win a trophy and at the moment we are not happy with the position in the league. We have to fight.

YAYA TOURE , Manchester City midfielder, issuing a rallying cry to his team-mates.

"City have always been a team who fight to the end to win a trophy and at the moment we are not happy with the position in the league (fourth). We have to fight.

"We are starting the second half of the season now and we will have to be almost perfect. We'll have to win all the games when we play the top four."

Guardiola's first taste of the world's oldest football competition comes at the London Stadium, where inconsistent West Ham will hope to bounce back from successive league defeats by Leicester and Manchester United.

Already, he has to deal with more bad news, with City midfielder Fernandinho's appeal against his straight red card being rejected by the Football Association on Wednesday.

The Brazilian was sent off before half-time following a two-footed lunge on Burnley's Johann Berg Gudmundsson, and will miss the next four City matches.

In contrast, West Ham had better disciplinary news as they successfully appealed against a three-match suspension handed to Algerian midfielder Sofiane Feghouli, clearing him to play against City. Feghouli was shown a red card for a challenge on Manchester United defender Phil Jones in a 2-0 loss on Monday.

Hammers goalkeeper Darren Randolph is confident his team's gritty effort against United offers hope.

"We battled on for most of the game with 10 men, still creating chances, so we take confidence from that," he said.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 06, 2017, with the headline 'Toure wants to Pep city boss up'. Print Edition | Subscribe