Champions League Group E
Man City v CSKA Moscow
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini is confident Yaya Toure’s performance will not be adversely affected by the racial abuse he has received online.
Police are investigating after the City midfielder was sent abusive tweets within hours of reactivating his Twitter account this week.
Toure described the abuse he has been subjected to on social media as “a disgrace”.
Pellegrini is confident Toure, 31, will be able to handle the situation, as his City side face a must-win game with CSKA Moscow at the Etihad Stadium tonight.
The Chilean said: “Yaya is an experienced player. He is always trying to fight against those things but I don’t think he will have any problem about that, to play in the way he knows (how) to do it.”
The incident comes just over a year after Toure was the subject of racist chants from supporters during a Champions League group game at CSKA Moscow.
European governing body Uefa punished the Russian club for that, ordering them to play their next home game in the competition in a partially closed stadium.
Two further offences after that led to the Khimki Arena being completely closed when City visited again in this season’s competition a fortnight ago. CSKA will also have no fans present when they play City in the return fixture at the Etihad this evening.
Last night, Toure reacted angrily to the abuse suffered online. “For me, it’s a disgrace. We need to do something to try to tell people those kinds of behaviour have to stop. I want those people to understand what they’re doing is wrong.
“To have such aggression in sport, I can’t understand that. That’s why I’ve been trying to fight it.
“Football doesn’t have a colour. We’re just people from all over the world trying to enjoy the game.
“I never see this in rugby, I never see that in tennis or anything else. I don’t know where it’s coming from.”
Asked if he was hurt by the abuse, Toure said: “No, because I’ve been attacked like that for many years. I will never stop telling them they are wrong and have to change.”
Pellegrini meanwhile believes his team can still win the Champions League this season.
The Premier League champions have again made an underwhelming start in the competition, collecting just two points from their opening three games in Group E.
They are already seven points behind group leaders Bayern Munich and can ill afford to drop more.
But while there is a danger City could fail to get out of the group for a third time in four seasons, Pellegrini is not entertaining negative thoughts and has even not ruled out a shot at glory.
The Chilean said: “Our target is always to try to win the Champions League. We must put in our mind that we are able to do it, that we have a good squad.
City defender Aleksandar Kolarov and midfielder Frank Lampard will miss this evening’s game. Left-back Kolarov faces a month out with a calf injury, while Lampard is not yet ready to return after a thigh problem.
Defender Eliaquim Mangala, who also missed the derby, is available again after overcoming a hip injury, but playmaker David Silva (knee) is out for the next three weeks.
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