Yaya Toure challenges Manchester City teammates to step up in crunch period


After playing to a  1-1 draw against Liverpool last week in what was one of the most memorable matches of the Premier League season so far, Pep Guardiola's side face Arsenal and league leaders Chelsea in the coming weeks.

Additionally, Toure and co. will take on the Gunners in the FA Cup semi-finals towards the end of April, as the Sky Blues aim to end Guardiola's first season in charge at the Etihad Stadium with a trophy.

City also host neighbours Manchester United the week after the FA Cup semi-final, and Toure is well aware that these matches in particular will play a significant role in how successful their season will be.

"Arsenal and Chelsea are tough games, but we have the chance to come a little bit closer to the top," the Ivorian told the Daily Mirror.

"If we can get points there, it will be brilliant.

"It's all about the next two weeks. All that's important now is finishing the season strongly, finishing in the top four, giving the Champions League to the fans again.

"We have to fight. We're in the semi-finals of the FA Cup - that's a brilliant cup.

"Of course, City deserve more, but we've such a lot of young players we need time and, in the future, we can be a perfect team."

Whilst trips to the Emirates Stadium and Stamford Bridge might be a daunting task, Toure isn't concerned, and cited City's strong away form as a reason to be positive.

"We've been very strong away. We have more space and we're delighted to play in big stadiums because we have the space to play," he added.

"We hope we can take all six points, because this league is so difficult. Teams know how we play at home and always close us down. Most of the time they use the counter-attack. We have to be aware, when we lose the ball, they are going to go fast and counter-attack.

"They're going to be quick and do some damage. We normally can control it well, but, against Liverpool, they got the penalty.

"I think our team has progressed very well... until Monaco. The players were very sad in the dressing room.

"We deserved more in the Champions League. If we'd got to the quarter-finals, any team who faced City would have suffered. But this is football, we have to keep on going."