Toure to ignore his critics
Yaya Toure has pledged to ignore critics of his early-season form to focus on Manchester City's Premier League title battle with Chelsea.
Ivory Coast midfielder Toure blasted reigning champions City into the lead en route to a vital 3-0 league victory at Southampton on Sunday.
The 31-year-old vowed to shrug off the fallout from a hectic 12 months and drag City right back into the title fight, with the Manchester men now trailing leaders Chelsea by six points.
Toure has had to deal with the death of his brother, detractors of his form and a spat with club bosses over his birthday, and is now targeting further silverware at the Etihad Stadium.
"For me the most important thing is I try to do my best for the team," said Toure.
"Sometimes people are not thinking we are human beings, people are always trying to criticise you even though you are a human being.
"So I never think about those things, I always try to focus on my team.
"The Premier League is important, and whenever we lose we will get criticised.
"But we've just got to fight until the end: our squad is fantastic and we know exactly how to fight all the way in this league.
"Teams will always step up their game against us, and we know we've got to try to keep place with Chelsea."
City will travel to Wearside to take on Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday night, the hosts fresh from holding Chelsea to a 0-0 stalemate in the North East on Saturday.
Talismanic midfielder Toure admitted City are well aware of the size of the challenge ahead against Gus Poyet's side after the 3-0 St Mary's win, where Frank Lampard and Gael Clichy also found the net.
City captain Vincent Kompany faces a race against time to beat hamstring trouble to face Sunderland, with Toure calling on his side to maintain their improved teamwork.
"Wednesday will be tough: we have always been unlucky at the Stadium of Light," said Toure.
"They are very compact, strong at the back and have a great counter-attack, and we know our old team-mate Johnson will come at us very well.
"Three or four games winning in a row is very good for confidence.
"It was a fantastic result for us (at Southampton): they've been scoring a lot of goals as home.
"We showed fantastic work as a group, realising that we need to work hard when we don't have the ball, realising that we have to be good defensively to win games like that.
"Tactically they didn't make any mistakes in the first half, and we had to show our defensive strengths.
"Aguero didn't score, but he was still able to make several assists."