Toure totally fired up for showdown with Chelsea
Yaya Toure has expressed his "surprise" at the "unfair" criticism he faced last season - and claimed that Manchester City are determined to regain their Premier League title.
The 32-year-old midfielder was in outstanding form, scoring in City's impressive 3-0 victory away to WBA on Monday, which set up this weekend's "massive" Premier League encounter against Chelsea.
Toure's form - and mood - is often an indicator of City's prospects and the Ivorian appears more focused and determined this season - although he dismissed suggestions that he had struggled during the last campaign.
"I think last season people are talking all the time," Toure said.
"For me, I'm quite surprised. Last season was not the best season for us, but second in the table, I think, is not bad at all.
"There's been a lot of criticism about me, but it was not a bad season. Twelve goals and I won the Copa (Africa Cup of Nations) for my country. It's not bad at all. I know what I want, I know what I have to do. I don't care what people are saying about me."
Among those who have suggested that Toure has endured difficulties is City manager Manuel Pellegrini, who also said the criticism was unwarranted, but the player himself insisted he was "not back - I've always been there."
Toure said. "People have to understand football is over the last five or six weeks has not talking about one player, it's about the team. I hope this year is going to be fine for us.
"The important thing is we have a target. That is to bounce back like we did two seasons ago.
"The Premier League is very tough. There's a very long way to go. There's 37 more games.
"We need to be fully aware of all that's coming. Sunday is going to be tough again - after that we have Everton. I think it is a strong start. We are fully focused this year.
"We want to do it for the fans, for the chairman Khaldoon (Al Mubarak) and (owner) Sheikh Mansour. They are doing a lot to make this club great."
Toure has two years left on his contract and there have been persistent suggestions from one of his agents, Dimitri Seluk, that his client was unhappy.
However, over the last five or six weeks, he appears more settled and talk of him leaving this summer has quietened down.
"Sometimes people understand we are human beings," Toure said.
"Things can go wrong. When fully focused in your job, you love your job and want to win all the time. My job is to make people happy and myself happy as well."
Meanwhile, City are still waiting to hear whether an improved £46m bid for Kevin De Bruyne has been accepted by German club Wolfsburg. (© Daily Telegraph, London)
Irish Independent Sport Star Awards
Pick our magic sports moment of the year and win a trip for two to London. To view the shortlist and cast your vote click here.