The 37-year-old Ivory Coast star who spent 8 years of his football career at Manchester City and failed to win a Champions League title with the club, said when a team constantly loses Champions League matches, such a team could easily lose to lesser teams.
Yaya Toure stated this in reaction to the shocking defeat Manchester City suffered in the hands of French Ligue 1 side, Lyon in the 2019-2020 UEFA Champions League campaign. The 3-1 defeat ended the journey of the Premier League side in the quarter-final stage of the competition for the third consecutive season.
It was not just shocking that the Pep Guardiola‘s led Manchester City were forced out of the competition in a season the fans felt could be City’s season for the first time in the club’s history, it was also shocking that it was a Ligue 1 team that finished 7th on the league table that ended their journey.
“In Europe, all the clubs are vicious. Other clubs are very good, and clever,” Yaya Toure told Sky Sports.
“This competition is hard – psychologically it can affect you. When you keep on losing, losing, any team can beat you.
“In the Champions League, you saw RB Leipzig beating Atletico Madrid, that was a shock for people because football now is so unpredictable. When those teams came, they just put everything on it. They want to win, 100 percent.
“Of course, maybe City against Lyon, the way they were playing in the beginning [was not encouraging], but after that, you have to give credit to Lyon as well. They got it to spot on, and they knocked City out.”
Yaya Toure defends Pep Guardiola’s tactics
Though it is over two weeks since Manchester City were knocked out of the competition, the club’s fans and pundits can not stop believing that they would have won the tie if Pep Guardiola had used the right formation and did a proper team selection.
The 49-year-old Spanish tactician decided to abandon his traditional 4-3-3 attacking-minded formation to play an unconventional 3-5-2 formation which did not give room for him to start players like Riyad Mahrez, David Silva, Bernardo Silva, and Phil Foden.
The formation gave Manchester City 72 percent of the match’s possession but did not enable them to penetrate effectively into Lyon’s defense. The French club soaked in the pressure and hit City via counter-attacks. The match went so bad for Guardiola that the introduction of enterprising Phil Foden in the second half of the match could not stop Lyon from scoring two late goals to seal the victory.
“Of course, Lyon played well, they were well organized, but I don’t think City changed much,” Toure insisted. “People have talked about his tactics, but the team always have to play the same way. It’s just Lyon caused them problems, defended well, and caught them on the counter-attack.
“We were all shocked when City lost to Lyon. For all the fans who were thinking it was the season City would win.
“You have to only play one-off games, thinking it would be an easy one with playing against Lyon rather than Juventus, and people were shocked. But you have to admit that Lyon played very well, they were very well prepared.”
Yaya Toure left Manchester City in 2018 after a frustrating time under Pep Guardiola. The controversy between them was so high that Toure called him a racist. The Spanish tactician was quick to term Toure’s allegation a lie.
Before Toure left City in 2018, he helped the club to win three Premier League titles, one FA Cup, two League Cup, and one Community Shield. He last played for a Chinese Super League club Qingdao Huanghai between 2019 and 2020.