Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

YAYA TARGETS OLD MATES ; Blues'former Barcelona Midfielder Warns That His Old Team Have the Mentality to Make Clash a classicBlues Boss Tells His Men to Go on the Attack from the Very Start against Spanish Giants

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

YAYA TARGETS OLD MATES ; Blues'former Barcelona Midfielder Warns That His Old Team Have the Mentality to Make Clash a classicBlues Boss Tells His Men to Go on the Attack from the Very Start against Spanish Giants

Article excerpt

TAKING on Barcelona is a "poisoned chalice" for Manchester City - and if the Blues take a sip, their Champions League hopes will drop dead tonight.

Yaya Toure, who spent three silver-laden seasons at Camp Nou before coming to Manchester, is warning his team-mates that if they think the opposition are not the force they once were, they are in for a shock.

City boss Manuel Pellegrini even suggested, when the draw was [f]rst made, that Barcelona are not the power they once were - although that was maybe aimed at steeling his own team for the challenge rather than taking a dig at the Catalans.

"Playing them really is a poisoned chalice, because at the moment public opinion says that Barcelona aren't in top form, that they don't have the same edge as they had during the Pep Guardiola or Tita Vilanova eras," said Toure. "But, honestly, I think these people are sticking a [f]nger in their eye.

"[dagger]eir players know to transcend themselves at the right time, and it's the Champions League last 16. [dagger]ey will be concentrating hard and applying themselves because they know the match is being played over two games, and they have a lot of experience. Having played there I know all about their mentality.

"Whenever they enter a competition, whether it's a Cup or any match over two legs, they concentrate very hard. Barcelona are always expected to reach the semi-[f]nals, as to go out before that is very surprising for people."

Toure revealed that he decided to come to City after winning six trophies in a season with Barca in 2009, thinking that there was no way of improving on that remarkable feat.

Barca fans were not happy that he was allowed to leave - in a recent radio poll Barca supporters voted for Toure as the City player they would most like to sign.

Toure came under [f]re from former Blue Didi Hamann recently, the Germany international lauding his attacking play but suggesting he is a "liability" in defensive mode. Pellegrini killed that debate by saying: "Yaya plays the way I want him to play. If he has to stay only defending he did it against Norwich because we didn't have anyone and he did it very well but we lost a very important mid[f]elder in an attacking sense because he scores a lot of goals and he brings a lot of creativity to our team. …

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