Belfast Telegraph

Yaya Toure tips Manchester City for more success next season

The veteran midfielder was given a heartfelt send-off as he made his final home appearance for the club.

Yaya Toure believes Manchester City have everything in place to enjoy great success in the future.

The veteran midfielder was given a heartfelt send-off as he made his final home appearance for the club in Wednesday’s 3-1 victory over Brighton at the Etihad Stadium.

Toure, 34, is leaving City this summer after an outstanding eight years at the club, a period in which he was won three Premier League titles and four domestic cups.

The next challenge for City is to excel on the Champions League stage and Toure believes the signs are good.

The Ivorian said: “I am happy. People think I would be sad but I am happy because I leave a good legacy.

“In the dressing room in the beginning, in 2011, when we lost (games) it was (a place) to smile, laugh. I was not happy with that.

“Now when we lose or draw you see everyone sad or angry. That is the mentality I love. That is a winning team and the character this team have to have if you want to compete with Barcelona and Madrid, because they are the same.

“They have been educated like that because they are champions. Now we are champions, even though the team are young. I hope next year is going to be bright and much better.”

Toure was made captain for the evening as champions City completed their home programme for the season in record-breaking style.

Brighton’s Leonardo Ulloa did puncture the party mood slightly by cancelling out Danilo’s opener but further goals from Bernardo Silva and Fernandinho ensured a comfortable victory. All three City goals were set up by Leroy Sane.

The victory took City’s totals for wins, points and goals in the Premier League this season 31, 97 and 105 – all new records in the competition.

Toure went close to getting on the scoresheet himself when he shot at Mathew Ryan after a typical lung-bursting run shortly before being substituted to a huge ovation in the 86th minute.

He said: “This was bad timing then the manager took me out! I think, especially, the Brighton team didn’t want me to score but the most important thing was we broke the record, we scored more goals.

“Now I think we are going to go for it on Sunday. We want to do it and make it more difficult next year for another team to do it.”

Another victory in their final game against Southampton on Sunday will see City wrap up their outstanding campaign with a remarkable 100 points.

Having avoided relegation, Brighton bring an impressive first campaign back in the top flight to an end with a trip to Liverpool this weekend.

Ulloa said: “When the team fight for a long time in the Championship, to be safe in the first season in the Premier League is very important. Now there will be more confidence to build a strong team for the future – not just for next season but a long time.”

Ulloa’s goal was his first in the league since joining the Seagulls on loan from Leicester in January.

He said: “I have had to wait for the opportunity but I feel good and a goal for a striker is always important. The last goal for me was a long time ago and it will give me confidence.”

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