Monday 19 March 2018

Toure warns of Drogba threat to Mancini's mean machine

Rory Smith

MANCHESTER City's summer may have been one of lavish spending, but their start to the season has been marked by miserliness.

Roberto Mancini's side's record of conceding just twice in eight competitive games, though, faces no greater threat than Chelsea's visit on Saturday. The Premier League's immovable object is about to meet its unstoppable force.

Kolo Toure, for one, is under no illusions as to the scale of the task awaiting his side. Carlo Ancelotti's team have already registered 21 goals in the league this term -- after an admittedly kind opening run of fixtures -- and though the Ivorian insists that all Chelsea players should be considered dangerous, it is clear Didier Drogba occupies his mind more than most.

Toure knows the 32-year-old well from Ivory Coast international duty, but such is the striker's form that familiarity is unlikely to breed contempt for his ability.

Indeed, Toure believes Drogba, rather than fading after six prolific years in England, is better now than he has ever been.

"All he thinks about is scoring goals," said Toure. "But this season he is passing well and making a lot of assists, too. That makes him a much better player.

"It seems as though he is getting better with age, because he is so intelligent. He has had to change his game, and he knows he needs more help from his team-mates now.

"He used to like to do a lot himself but now he shows he cares about the team and that is really good.

"I know his game well but it is still difficult. He is so powerful.

"I would say he is on fire at the moment, playing so well, and he seems to have improved his style of playing. We are going to have to defend really well as a team to stop him."

Few teams are as well-equipped to do that as City seem. They have conceded just a fortuitous Nikola Kalinic strike and a last-minute Darren Bent penalty this season. Such are the benefits of an Italian coach.

"It is going really well," said Toure. "Mancini wants us to work hard on it every day in training. We are defending as a team, we are really tight as a unit." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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