Football

Yaya says sorry to Man City

Toure apologises to Guardiola and City in bid to regain place in squad

MAN CITY v MIDDLESBROUGH

(Tonight, 10.55pm, Singtel TV Ch 102 & StarHub TV Ch 227)

Yaya Toure has apologised on behalf of his agent for the controversial comments which led to his exclusion from the Manchester City team.

Manager Pep Guardiola has refused to pick the midfielder since Dimitri Seluk claimed Toure had been "humiliated" by his omission from the club's Champions League squad early in September.

It was the latest in a series of contentious remarks from the Ukrainian and Guardiola insisted that Seluk should apologise before he would consider 33-year-old Toure for selection again.

With that not forthcoming, Toure now seems to have taken the matter into his own hands in an attempt to resolve the situation.

In a statement published on Facebook, Toure said yesterday: "I wish to apologise - on behalf of myself and those who represent me - to the management team and all those working at the club for the misunderstandings from the past.

"Those statements do not represent my views on the club or the people who work there.

"I have nothing but respect for Manchester City and only wish the best for the football club.

"I am immensely proud to have played a part in the club's history and want to help City succeed further.

"I live to play football and entertain the fans.

"On that note, I would like to thank all of the fans for their messages through this difficult period.

"This means a great deal to me and my family."

Toure played just once in the early part of the season - the second leg of the Champions League play-off against Steaua Bucharest - as Guardiola initiated fundamental changes to the team following his arrival.

No place could then be found for the Ivorian when City submitted their 25-man squad, which could contain a maximum of 17 overseas players, for the group stage of the European competition.

COMPLAINTS

Seluk, who has previously complained about a lack of Toure-branded shirts in the club shop and City's failure to celebrate his client's birthday properly, accused Guardiola of humiliating the player.

When Guardiola subsequently cited these comments as the reason for Toure's continued absence from the side and called for an apology, Seluk stood by his words and strengthened his attack on the manager.

Referring to other matters involving Joe Hart and Vincent Kompany, Seluk said Guardiola was treating players "like dogs".

But Guardiola has not backed down, saying of Seluk: "Until he doesn't speak, Yaya is not going to play."

It now remains to be seen how quickly Toure, who is in the final year of his contract, can work his way back into the picture.

Man City are on a high after beating Barcelona 3-1 in the Champions League on Tuesday in what was their first win over the Spanish side in six attempts.

But Belgium international Kevin de Bruyne, who scored from a free-kick against Barca, is wary of complacency creeping in ahead of the Premier League leaders' match at home to Boro tonight.

"The game against Middlesbrough is going to be another tough test," de Bruyne said.

"Obviously, everyone will talk about Tuesday because it was Barcelona but, if you lose at the weekend, it doesn't matter what happened in the Champions League.

"We have to do the same as we did in these two games and try to win against Middlesbrough to go into the international break with a good series and try to maintain top spot in the league. We have to do what we know how to do." - Wire Services.

eplmanchester cityFootball