Yaya Toure has brushed off any criticism of Manchester City and insisted they will ignore their doubters.
But the midfielder also played down City’s lightening start – ahead of their showdown with title rivals Chelsea – after he scored in their 3-0 win over West Brom. City cruised past the Baggies on Monday and they host Premier League title rivals Chelsea on Sunday.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side are aiming to regain the title from the Blues after finishing second last season and, ahead of their clash, Toure will aim to forget their critics.
He said: “I think last season people were talking all the time. Last season was not the best season for us, but second in the table isn’t bad at all. There’s been a lot of criticism about me but it was not a bad season.
“I know what I want, I know what I have to do, I don’t care what people are saying about me. Sometimes people have to understand we are human beings. Things can go wrong. When you’re fully focused in your job, you love your job and want to win all the time.
“The Premier League is very tough, there’s a very long way to go. “Sunday is going to be tough again after that we have Everton. I think it is a strong start. We are fully focused this year.”
Albion’s Joleon Lescott, who won two titles at City, faced his old club and was beaten to the ball by Vincent Kompany to score the visitors’ third goal after David Silva had flicked in Toure’s shot for the opener, which eventually came off Craig Dawson. The defender played at the Etihad between 2009 to 2014 and wants them to recapture the title from Chelsea.
Meanwhile, Vincent Kompany admits City’s sloppy pre-season was a wake-up call for the squad. They lost 4-2 at Stuttgart 10 days ago and captain Kompany believes the defeat gave them inspiration to improve.
“We came out with a point to prove,” the defender said.
Since the start of the 2013/14 season, no midfielder has scored more Premier League goals than Yaya Touré (32). pic.twitter.com/FvSBsyc5pA
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 10, 2015
“Last week, when we played against Stuttgart, it was a really poor performance and that was actually a good thing for us because we knew we had to work on a lot of things.”
West Brom’s new signing Salomon Rondon watched the game from the stands and boss Tony Pulis admitted he took advice from City boss Manuel Pellegrini and ex-Tottenham chief Andre Villas-Boas over his latest signing.
He added: “I spoke to Manuel and Andre Villas-Boas who have both worked in the Premier League and both worked with the lad. We have watched him but he comes highly recommended by those two.”
Peter Schmeichel has criticised the handling of David de Gea’s contract situation and has urged Manchester United to look to Hugo Lloris, rather than Jasper Cillessen, if they are unable to keep the Spaniard at Old Trafford.
De Gea watched from the stands as United began their season with a 1-0 win over Tottenham on Saturday. Manager Louis van Gaal selected Sergio Romero ahead of De Gea as he felt the 24-year-old would not have been able to focus properly on the match after a summer of speculation regarding his future.
Real Madrid are interested in signing the Spain international, but United are refusing to do business with the 10-time European champions unless they get defender Sergio Ramos in return.
It is understood that United are still hopeful of keeping De Gea at United beyond September 1 even though the player was left out of the match day squad and may not feature for the club until after the transfer window closes. Schmeichel admits the situation is far from ideal and should have been resolved before the season began.
“If the player is not happy; his agent, himself and the club that want him should have sorted this a long time ago,” the former United goalkeeper said. “It’s sad that it’s dragged into the season.”
After a series of excellent displays, De Gea won United’s player of the year award for a second successive season in May. The former Atletico Madrid stopper was also named in the Professional Footballers’ Association team of the year.
Schmeichel wants De Gea to snub a move to the Spanish capital, but concedes there is little United can do if the player wants to leave.
“I’d really like De Gea to stay,” said Schmeichel, who won the Premier League five times during his eight-year spell at Old Trafford.
“Two years running he’s been player of the year. You don’t let players like that go but if he wants to go, let him go.”
GRAPHIC: David De Gea vs Iker Casillas pic.twitter.com/6vBEUHYjzD
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) June 15, 2015
Schmeichel is surprised United have lined up Cillessen as a replacement for De Gea. Van Gaal substituted the Ajax goalkeeper for Tim Krul in the dying minutes of extra-time during Holland’s win over Costa Rica at the World Cup last year because he felt the Newcastle man was better at saving penalties.
Schmeichel added: “Cillessen is a good goalkeeper, but (Van Gaal) took him off for the shoot-out at the World Cup. I think he doesn’t trust him 100 per cent. If De Gea goes I would love Lloris to come to United. He has exactly the style of play and is proven in the league.”
Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick said that there was "plenty of work to do to improve" after they got off to a winning start in the English Premier League against Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend, while Bastian Schweinsteiger said the reception from United fans on his league debut was a "great feeling".