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Pellegrini unfazed by agent remarks

Published 24/04/2015

Manuel Pellegrini (left) thinks Yaya Toure (right) still has a challenge at Manchester City
Manuel Pellegrini (left) thinks Yaya Toure (right) still has a challenge at Manchester City

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini insists the recurring outspoken comments of Yaya Toure's agent are not a problem that will affect the club.

Dimitri Seluk, Toure's controversial Ukrainian representative, has returned to the fore with two forthright interviews in the past week that have cast doubt over his client's future.

Among his remarks he has referred to Pellegrini as "a good coach, but a weak manager", criticised other executives at the club and claimed he has received offers for midfielder Toure.

Amid that Toure has also given an interview in which he has said he is open to "new challenges", comments which have been interpreted as suggesting he is considering a move.

The situation - and sense that 31-year-old Toure could be unsettled - is not unfamiliar. Two years ago Seluk claimed Toure would quit City if a new contract was not delivered by a certain date - a deadline which actually passed before any deal was signed - and last summer his claims about the player's dissatisfaction sparked the notorious birthday cake row.

A fresh Toure saga is not something City would welcome but Pellegrini believes it can be dealt with.

He said: "In a club, especially a big club, you have a problem every day. You always have problems, you have to manage them in the best way you can.

"It's impossible to tell every agent of the 22 players what they must say and not say. It's important that everyone can say what they want and it's important to know here inside the club what we want."

Toure, reputedly City's highest earner on £220,000 per week, has remained at the Etihad Stadium despite all the past issues and Pellegrini does not see why that should change.

He said: "Maybe the 'new challenge' is at City also.

"There are a lot of different places you can have it but City also is a challenge and I am sure Yaya is very happy here.

"We have a project here, every year we are trying to improve.

"Maybe you cannot win titles every year but I think the project of the club is to improve the squad, to improve as a club so there are a lot of important things and I think it is an important challenge."

This season Toure has fallen below the high standards he set for himself as the dynamic driving force of City's midfield in the title successes on 2012 and 2014.

The campaign began badly, starting soon after the death of his brother Ibrahim and was interrupted by the African Nations Cup.

But Toure will again captain the side against Aston Villa on Saturday in the absence of Vincent Kompany and Pellegrini retains faith in the Ivorian's ability.

He said: "He is always leading the other players, they trust a lot in him.

"All of us want to see the best Yaya in every game - but that's impossible for him. He had a very special season at the beginning with personal problems, then the African Nations. But we all - players, manager - trust in him."

Pellegrini has also confirmed the full squad, including those likely to be involved in the Copa America, will be expected to travel on the club's post-season tour of North America.

City are to play a friendly at Toronto FC on May 27 - three days after their final Premier League game - and another fixture in the United States could be arranged.

The likes of Sergio Aguero, Martin Demichelis, Pablo Zabaleta and Fernandinho could then be involved at the Copa America in Chile just over two weeks later.

The tournament begins on June 11, 15 days after the Toronto game, although Argentina and Brazil - the countries City could supply players for - do not feature until June 13 and 14 respectively. Countries have a right to call up players two weeks before games.

Pellegrini said: "The complete squad will travel. They have to rest but it will be after they finish the post-season tour."

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