English Premiership

Toure's birthday gives Pellegrini headache

2015-05-09 15:03
Yaya Toure (Supplied)

Manchester - Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini insists he won't forget Yaya Toure's birthday this week, regardless of whether the unsettled Ivory Coast midfielder starts against QPR on Sunday.

Toure, who turns 32 on Wednesday, has recovered from a hamstring strain and Pellegrini must decide whether to recall him and make a change to the line-up that won at Tottenham last weekend.

The fixture at Eastlands comes at the end of a week in which Toure's agent Dimitri Seluk seemed to fan the flames of a dispute between club and player when he claimed his client was "90 per cent" certain to leave during the close-season, with Paris Saint Germain and Inter Milan reportedly interested in signing him.

One year removed from Toure reportedly taking offence because he was unhappy that City failed to mark his birthday with a cake, Pellegrini insists he will not be dragged into a war of words with Seluk and that he will not forget the player's celebrations this week.

"Are you sure his birthday is next week?" joked Pellegrini. "We will have to see what the best thing to do is because I think it is important to learn from your mistakes in the past.

"We will talk about next season in the right moment. Everyone at this moment can say what they want about rumours. I have never answered to Yaya's agent so I will not do it now.

"Yaya has a contract here for two years more so in this moment we are only thinking about the best way to finish the season then we will see what happens next season.

"I'm not disappointed because everyone can talk about what he thinks is better for him but we're all focusing on our team and what the agent thinks is not my problem."

City face relegation-threatened QPR without Samir Nasri whose groin injury has ruled him out for the rest of the season but with captain Vincent Kompany back after injury, Pellegrini is banking on the Belgian defender helping to secure a second-placed finish for the deposed champions.

"Vincent is just coming back from a muscle injury," he said. "I think for him it's important for him to try to recover his normal performance.

"We have won three games in a row and we have three games more. It's important for our team to try to win all the games.

"But it doesn't just depend on our team if we're going to finish second or not. If Arsenal win all their games, they are going to finish second."

QPR's concerns are focused on the other end of the table and defeat at Eastlands and an unfavourable combination of results could see them relegated this weekend.

Despite their predicament, interim manager Chris Ramsey remains favourite to be awarded the job on a permanent basis despite his club's imminent relegation.

"We have had discussions before, but nothing has been put in concrete at the moment," Ramsey said.

"I am hoping I am going be here, but we have not put pen to paper and put anything in stone yet. A decision is going to be made at the end of the season, but I am hoping it will be me at the helm.

"Everyone is mentioning different great escapes but we have to just win the game. As long as there are points to be played for you have to believe you can do it.

"We understand we do have a big task. Our problem has been a lack of concentration to the end of games. We've done this to ourselves. It is very frustrating.

"We have three games to save our season and I am sure the players will be rolling their sleeves up at Eastlands."


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