City’s talisman Toure takes ‘scientific’ approach to football

Yaya Toure has spoken of his obsession with football and compared himself to a professor trying “to crack the mysteries of the game”.

City’s talisman Toure takes ‘scientific’ approach to football

The Manchester City midfielder critiques his own performance after every game in a notebook which he constantly refers to, and spends hours talking to coach Manuel Pellegrini to further his knowledge. Toure’s quest for information began aged 13, when he would stay behind on rest days at the Sol Beni academy in Abidjan to talk football with coach Jean-Marc Guillou rather than go home.

“Coach Jean-Marc taught us not only how to play but also how to understand football, because football is a science. If you don’t understand, you cannot reach the highest level,” said Toure.

“I admit I spend more time with coaches. Mancini and I exchanged many things. He knew I loved strategic and tactical work. The goal is not to leave any room for doubt or chance.

“I talk a lot with Pellegrini too. He understood what I liked. I am a fanatic of this game and constantly looking for explanations, like a professor who wants to constantly complete his knowledge. For me, football is primarily a science. A bit like physicists who try throughout their careers to crack a scientific code, I’m trying to break all the mysteries of football”

Toure, whose City side face West Brom at the Hawthorns tonight, breaks the mould of African players by insisting there is very little improvisation in his game.

“Each situation corresponds to a specific pattern,” he told France Football. “When a ball comes to me, in my head at full speed come all the opportunities available. From these solutions, I must choose one. I’m actually a machine — a machine coach Jean-Marc programmed when I was younger.”

Toure also relived his trial at Arsenal when Arsene Wenger said he did not see him as a defensive midfielder. But Toure was so keen to emulate his hero Patrick Vieira that he ignored the Gunners boss, who felt he was better suited to playing as a second striker.

“I loved Vieira because he proved you could be a great player while also being big too,” said Toure.

Meanwhile, Youssouf Mulumbu will not be sanctioned by West Brom after appearing to criticise the club and suggest he was looking to join Arsenal during the January transfer window.

In an interview with France Football, the midfielder claimed his Baggies team-mates were unprofessional and immature, adding he was approached by Arsenal and is “ready to join a top-four club”. That is despite the fact the 26-year-old Congo international only signed a new contract this summer through to the end of 2017.

Mulumbu, suspended for tonight’s game against City, added: “I have been here for five years now and would never refer to my team-mates that way.

“The general point I was trying to make in the interview is I want to play at the highest level possible. I admitted there has been interest in me from other clubs during my time here, but I didn’t speak about Arsenal and I didn’t say I’d be looking to move in January.”

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox