Former Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has admitted the club have been ‘disappointing’ in the Champions League after being dumped out in the quarter-finals for the third straight year.
Pep Guardiola’s men suffered a shock 3-1 loss to Lyon to end their European dreams for another year despite being among the favourites to lift the famous trophy this season, and Toure says their failure to perform in the competition was ‘strange’.
The ex-Ivory Coast international, who has endured a rocky relationship with Guardiola, believes the club hired the former Barcelona boss to deliver Europe’s grand prize – and also pointed out that other teams had won it by spending less.
‘The manager has been signed for that, just to bring this trophy and when you see Liverpool maybe and other clubs who [have won it] without doing a lot of work in the transfer market, it’s quite strange and disappointing,’ he said on Football Daily.
The Spaniard has overseen total spending of nearly £700million since he arrived in 2016, but a handful of purchases, such as John Stones and Benjamin Mendy – both signed for around £50m, have failed to pay off.
The 37-year-old suggested Guardiola may have to consider making changes ahead of the new season to ensure City compete in a competition which he has struggled for success in since leaving Barcelona in 2012.
‘Of course, he’s been brought to the club to get a massive trophy for them and at the moment it’s not been delivered in the way they want,’ he added.
‘Everyone knows Pep is a great manager but at the moment when things are not going their way, sometimes it’s the time to change the way they do things. We’ll see.’
Toure and Guardiola did not see eye to eye at times during their time together at City, and two years ago the former midfielder claimed his old manager’s reputation was ‘a myth’, suggesting he was controlling and that his communication was poor.
‘Pep likes to dominate and wants to have obedient players who lick his hands,’ he said in 2018. ‘I do not like this kind of relationship. I respect my coach but I am not his thing.
‘Like all players I have bickered with my coaches. But at a certain point men who do not understand each other reconcile. This is not possible with Pep, who is very rigid. The other players will never admit it publicly but some have already told me that they ended up hating him. Because he manipulates and plays a lot with your head.
‘We always looked at each other weirdly. He was spinning around me without saying anything, watching me, gauging me but not talking to me. Yet he knows that I speak Catalan, Spanish and English. It should be enough to communicate.
‘But apparently no… Every time we passed each other, he seemed embarrassed. As if I made him a little self-conscious. As if, also, he had understood that I knew him perfectly.’
He also claimed Guardiola’s famed style of play implemented at the Nou Camp was actually started by Johan Cruyff and said his style would fail at a mid-table side.
Toure added: ‘I want to be the one who breaks the Guardiola myth a bit. Barcelona, he did not invent [the style]. He just had the intelligence to adapt what Cruyff had set up. Then, at Bayern and City, he tried to reproduce the same patterns but with this requirement: working with ‘his’ players and with almost unlimited means. It would not work at Crystal Palace or Watford.’
Toure knows Guardiola well having played under him at both Barca and Manchester City. He won LaLiga twice and the Champions League after Guardiola took over from Frank Rijkaard, making a total of 118 outings for the Spanish side.
He then made the switch to the Etihad for around £24million in 2010 in a successful spell as he played a crucial role in midfield to steer the club to their first Premier League title in 2011-12. He would go on to win three league crowns as well as an FA Cup and two League Cups.
Toure left City in 2018 and turned out for Greek side Olympiacos for one season. He last played for Chinese second division outfit Qingdao Huanghai but is now on the lookout for a new club.
Last month he left Leyton Orient fans stunned after linking up with the League Two side to keep himself fit ahead of the new season.