Belfast Telegraph

Mancini backs Toure

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini dedicated Saturday's 1-0 win over Wigan to suspended defender Kolo Toure.

The Ivorian is banned until an investigation into his failed drugs test is heard. Toure is allowed to train with his team-mates until the case is heard, although as yet, he has not done so since news of the positive test emerged on Wednesday night, just before the FA Cup win over Aston Villa.

However, the 29-year-old was present in the stands for Saturday's unconvincing success, and Mancini said: "This victory is for Kolo. It is a bad moment for him but we love him like a man, like a player. Kolo is a fantastic man. He is a serious professional player but he is not feeling good."

City made it clear before the game that they regard comments about Toure, including those made by Arsene Wenger on Friday, as 'unhelpful' to the defender.

Toure is in extensive contact with his legal team in a bid to avoid a two-year suspension, which is the maximum he will face under doping regulations.

"The Football Club has noted public comments by a number of parties connected to Kolo Toure, regarding the ongoing matter of his current suspension," said a statement posted on the club's official website

"Whilst the club will continue to make no comment on the nature, status and possible outcome of this case until its conclusion, it would like to stress that public statements from such individuals are unhelpful and in some cases untrue."

Yaya Toure did play despite his obvious distress at his brother's situation. And he helped play a part in City's winner, laying the ball off to eventual goalscorer David Silva.

However, the main assist came from Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi, who inexplicably allowed Silva's shot to squirm from his grasp just before half-time.

"He was upset," said Wigan chief Roberto Martinez. "He has been fantastic for us and will be again. Football is a game of errors and accidents happen. Now it is about how you react."


From Belfast Telegraph