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Guardiola: Could Toure be back in Champions League

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Pep Guardiola has confirmed he is set to recall Yaya Toure in Man City’s Champions League squad.

The Ivorian was omitted from the squad that competed in the group stage, but has impressed since his return to the first team in November, chipping in with four crucial goals.

Asked in his press conference before Sunday’s Premier League clash at Everton whether he would include Toure in his European squad list for the knock-out stages, Guardiola nodded.

“Definitely, yes,” he stated. “He deserves it.

“For the first part of the season, he was not able for many physical reasons; the second part, you know about.

“He deserves to be in the Champions League, in the second round.”

Toure’s contract with the Club will expire with the conclusion of the 2016/17 campaign, but Guardiola did not rule out the possibility of an extended stay.

“We will talk about his contract at the end of the season,” he continued.

“I know him better than you [the journalists]. I was with him in Barcelona. He has not surprised me. Normally, I judge players if they are able to go to Old Trafford, Anfield, the Nou Camp, Real Madrid, Turin… and I see how they are going to react.

“They are the [situations with the] most pressures and valued terms in which I judge a player. Yaya, I know, it doesn’t matter where he plays.

“There are good players but after going to the biggest stadiums in important terms – the quarter-finals, semi-finals, the big competitions – and the moment you decide to be involved in the Premier League, [it is important to see] how you react. Yaya missed few [of those opportunities] so his personality is huge. You need that.”

On the subject of new deals, Guardiola added the other players whose contracts will run out will also be up for consideration in May, as long as they continue to perform at their best.

“They have to play every single game for themselves, for their families and for the team,” the City boss declared.

“They are so professional, but we are going to see how the team is until the end of the season.

“They have to forget about the contract. They are not professionals if they say they don’t want to play if we do not renew the contract.

“Maybe that has happened in the past but it depends on the player. If they don’t want to play because they are angry because we have not renewed their contract, they will not play so the managers play another guy.

“There are four or five guys in that situation and I see them every single day in the training sessions and the games. Until now, they are just glad for what they do.

“Last season, City was the oldest team in the Premier League and now, it is one of the oldest teams in Europe. Most of the players made the club what it is – a huge club in the Premier League. They have helped to make the next step in Europe so people can start to talk about Manchester City in different terms to what it was in the past.

“You cannot compete just with young players, or just with old players. We are trying to make a mix, and young players need time. We are going to see how it works.

Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna, Yaya Toure and Willy Caballero have played absolutely amazing in many cases. At the end [of the season], we will try and decide because the squad is not for the next season, or for the next five or ten years. It is normal to change players and managers.

“We will see the level at the end of the season.”