Cape Town - Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany has defended team-mate Yaya Toure following heavy criticism of the midfielder in the English media.
Toure has cut a lethargic figure during City's opening fixtures of the season and looks to be a far way off the form that was so instrumental in the club's title-winning 2013/14 campaign.
His commitment to the Citizens has also been called into question after the club's hierarchy failed to wish the 31-year-old a happy birthday, which almost saw him depart the Etihad.
A series of lackluster showings for Manuel Pellegrini's side, the latest of which came in the 1-1 draw with Roma in the Champions League, have since resulted in further criticism from sections of the British media.
However, Kompany believes Toure remains a key figure for the team and is confident the Ivory Coast international will soon find his form.
"He’s done so much for this club, he’s always played brilliantly," the Belgium international told Sky Sports.
"He is always an important player - when he does well, the team does well. We’ve had a tough start because we’ve played tough teams. You can’t deny that.
"He has set the standards very high for himself.
"But to say he is not at his best, then, I don’t agree.
"It’s so early in the season to call something like this.
"Things will improve for everyone." said the Citizens skipper.
Both Kompany and Toure are likely to start against Aston Villa at Villa Park on Saturday, October 4. The match kicks off at 18:30.