Manchester City possess a match winner
By Paul Andrews
Six days after a shattering derby loss to neighbours, Manchester United, Manchester City received some great news as midfielder Yaya Toure claimed he would love nothing more than to finish his career at the Etihad Stadium. With moral sometimes wayward on the blue half of Manchester, this is just the tonic, Roberto Mancini needed as he and his team enter the busiest time of the year when the matches start rolling thick and fast.
The powerful Ivorian has become one of the most sought-after players in Europe following a series of robust performances in the middle of the park and he was instrumental in City's title winning side last season. It is not just his performances that have caught the eye, it his character and the way he leads and inspires the team. Whether its a ball winning tackle, a defence splitting pass or a goal that decides that game, Toure has evolved into the Patrick Vieira type player that can boss matches from start to finish.
Admittedly Roberto Mancini's side have endured a difficult start to the defence of their title, and the last-gasp 3-2 defeat to neighbours Manchester United stung while getting dumped out of the Champions League without a win in Group D was embarrassing but that has not put the former Barcelona man off.
In a wide ranging interview with the Manchester City website Toure touched on a number of topics...
"I would love to end my career here," he said.
"Nobody knows what the next step is in football and I believe that if you stop dreaming, you should stop playing football, but this is where I want to be.
"When I first arrived at City, every time I went to sleep I would dream about us winning something and about us being the best team in whatever competition we take part in.
"I believe I have to work harder all the time to improve and stay at the top level with this club. I will give my all every time I play and I will never forget how the fans have treated me here so nothing would give me greater pleasure than to finish my career as a Manchester City player."
Mancini's side memorably clinched the title in the dying seconds of the season, but Toure has set his sights on European domination in spite of their early elimination this time round.
"We want to make history and that was part of my plan when I first signed – to make history – and we've made a start but there is so many more chapters to be written," added the Ivorian.
"I'm really enjoying my football here and I'm playing in front of the most amazing fans I've ever come across.
"Ending my playing career at City would be unbelievable, but I know it won't be easy because we want to win everything and the club is always looking to improve.
"There is no other place I would rather finish with and I want to continue winning titles and trophies with City. I believe we are just at the beginning of our journey."
If Toure is true to his word and remains on Manchester for the best part of this decade, City have a weapon that can bring them the success they so desperately crave. The question I have to ask though is if another manager enters the fray, will they still have the love of Toure that Mancini obviously has. Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, do you care to answer?