Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini remains adamant in the aftermath of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Hull City that the absence of Yaya Toure is not the reason behind the club’s slump in form.
Toure has been away on international duty with the Ivory Coast for the bulk of City’s fixtures in 2015 so far. The tournament concludes on Sunday evening – with Toure’s Ivory Coast facing Ghana in the final – but the 31-year-old is unlikely to return in time to feature against Stoke City in midweek.
The absence of such an integral player has seen City endure one of their worst runs in five years and they have failed to secure a league win in four games. The Citizens also crashed out of the FA Cup at the hands of Championship side Middlesbrough.
However, Pellegrini has refused to pin-point Toure’s absence as the reason behind his team’s slump, saying: “I always have the same answer, you can’t have any doubt how important Yaya Toure is for us. But we feel that every game without Yaya we could win.
“It is not just about one player. We must be a creative team and we must play faster in the last 25 metres against teams who defend with men behind the ball. I think there is more of a problem than one individual player.”
The draw with Hull on Saturday leaves City seven points behind leaders Chelsea in the race for the Premier League title, but Pellegrini’s men are well-fancied to return to winning ways at Stoke on Wednesday night City are priced at 1.63 to win, while the Potters are 4.41 and the draw is 3.85.