Thursday 5 December 2019

Paul Scholes: Yaya Toure just doesn't look interested for Man City and that's a big problem

Yaya Toure is tackled by Munich's Juan Bernat. Photo credit: Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images
Yaya Toure is tackled by Munich's Juan Bernat. Photo credit: Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images

Paul Scholes

Watching Manchester City against Bayern Munich on Wednesday night, I felt that it was the same old story in the Champions League for Manuel Pellegrini’s team. Yaya Touré’s lack of defensive work in midfield has become a major problem for them.

The amount of time I saw opponents get in behind him in the game in Munich was quite remarkable. He just did not look interested. Alongside him, Fernandinho is having to do the work of two players defensively and against Bayern that was always going to cause City problems.

Joe Hart impressed against Bayern Munich
Joe Hart impressed against Bayern Munich

If they have any chance of breaking through the last 16 in the Champions League this season then City need to play two holding midfielders who are prepared to work back, rather than just one. In that case, Pellegrini would be looking at either leaving out Touré or moving him further forward. He would have to play Fernando or James Milner alongside Fernandinho.

When United won the Champions League in 1999 we played 4-4-2 and often I would find myself left out in favour of two in centre midfield from Roy Keane, Nicky Butt or Ronny Johnsen. Playing away in Europe, the manager knew he needed those two defensively minded players. The priority was the result. Playing attractive, attacking football was best done at home.

City could have been three or four goals down within the first half an hour had it not been for their keeper Joe Hart. They cannot afford any passengers in Europe.

Touré just seems to amble about. He might get away with that in the Premier League but there is no hiding place against the best teams in Europe.

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