Manuel Pellegrini insists Yaya Toure is happy at Manchester City.
Toure claimed in an interview this week that he deserves greater recognition from the media for his achievements at the club.
The midfielder told French newspaper L’Equipe he was not happy with the situation despite winning titles and earning lots of money.
But manager Pellegrini has stressed it is important not to interpret Toure’s comments as meaning he is unhappy with life at the club.
Pellegrini said: “He says he is not happy about (not being) recognised, (so people say) he is not happy here. But he is happy.
“It is different to not be happy about the criticism or the recognition, than to not be happy. They are different words, you can interpret how you want but I think Yaya is happy here. He doesn’t have any problems.
“I don’t think I have to answer how important Yaya is. The answer is in his performances in the last four years. He always demonstrates it every game he plays.”
Toure is one of three City players to make the shortlist for the FIFA Ballon d’Or along with Sergio Aguero and new signing Kevin de Bruyne.
Aguero’s nomination comes after he scored 32 goals in 41 games for City last season and five in a match against Newcastle earlier this month before being sidelined by a hamstring injury.
Pellegrini said: “I don’t think it is surprising Kun (Aguero) has been nominated. It is surprising he has not had any awards here (in England) in the past.
“He is nominated because he is working well and performing well, playing at the highest level all the time.”
Pellegrini was speaking at a press conference to preview Wednesday’s Champions League game against Sevilla when he again confirmed Aguero would be sidelined for a month.
“He will be a big loss tomorrow but we have a good enough squad to make up for the losses,” the Chilean said.
City go into the game level on three points with Sevilla in Group D, three behind leaders Juventus. The club’s home record in the competition is not impressive, with just three wins from the last 12 games, but Pellegrini insists that is irrelevant.
He said: “I don’t know the exact statistics but they are the numbers and of course we must improve. But we are just thinking about one game, not what happened in the past. We play against a difficult team and we hope we can win.”
Pellegrini became more defensive when pressed on this matter.
“I don’t know what the home record is,” he said.
“Tomorrow we have to win here at home in the Champions League against a difficult team. All the other things are statistics or history that will not help us to win or lose. I cannot talk about that.”
Pellegrini dismissed a suggestion that the booing of the Champions League anthem by City fans – which began as a protest against financial fair play sanctions imposed by Champions League organisers UEFA – set the wrong tone at home games.
“I don’t think the atmosphere is lower than what we need,” he said. “It is a good atmosphere.”
Sevilla have won just twice in eight games in La Liga this season but Pellegrini said: “For different reasons they didn’t start the season well but they beat Barcelona. That is not easy. We are sure we are going to play against the real Sevilla.”