Cape Town - Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has dismissed suggestions that Yaya Toure is not part of his plans, claiming the Ivory Coast international is not yet ready for the rigours of first-team action.
The former Barcelona and Bayern boss was quizzed over Toure's absence in the Citizens' Premier League opener against Sunderland on Saturday, as well as his decision to leave the player out of his matchday squad for the Champions League play-off clash against Steaua Bucharest on Tuesday.
Guardiola has seemingly indicated that Toure will be available for City's Premier League clash away to Stoke City on Saturday.
"He is much, much better in the last few days," Guardiola told reporters. "But I wasn't sure he was going to play so I prefer to leave him there, training well in Manchester and looking forward to the next game.
"We travelled with young guys (Angus Gunn, Tosin Adarabioyo and Angel Tasende) who may stay out of the selection, and I prefer that to be the young guys than Yaya Toure.
"I respect a lot his career and his qualities but, in the first days, especially against Sunderland, we were looking for a more intensive game, that is the only reason he didn't play."
Toure joined Manchester City in July 2010 after falling out of favour under Guardiola at Barcelona, and has gone on to make 266 appearances in all competitions, netting 75 goals.