I can't help but feel guilt at taking time out of title push, says City star Yaya Toure
Yaya Toure has admitted he feels guilty at missing part of Manchester City's season to be at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Title favourites City will be without their 24 million star for the next few weeks, with Toure focused on success with the Ivory Coast.
He admits to following City closely, and said: 'I do feel a bit guilty. I said to my wife it’s difficult to be away from City right now.
Star man: Toure celebrates after scoring against Liverpool earlier this month
'But if I win the Cup of Nations and then come back and win the league it will be the most amazing season for me. And I’m very positive we can do it.
'Very positive that the Ivory Coast can win the Cup of Nations. And City win the Premier League. It will be very hard, very, very difficult.
'But all my countrymen believe we can win the cup and all City fans believe we can win the League.'
Ivory Coast have also gone many years without winning the big prise, with Toure not born the last time City won the title in 1968.
He can remember the last time Ivory Coast were kings of Africa however.
He told the Sun: 'I remember in 1992 when we won the cup. It was unbelievable. They were a great team and it was such an exciting game. They won on penalties and the hero was Alain Gouamene, the goalkeeper, because he saved two penalties.
'I was only eight years old but I remember it so well. There were big celebrations, the whole country came to a standstill for four days. So I know how special it will be for everyone if we can win it again.'
His thoughts are with country now, but he will be back at City soon enough and he admitted that the club are desperate to be champions.
He said: 'There’s big expectations because we are one of the biggest clubs now. We have spent a lot of money and built an incredible squad. Now we have to justify that by winning trophies.
Eye for goal: Yaya Toure scores for the Ivory Coast against North Korea at the World Cup in South Africa in 2010
'Our aim is to win the Premier League but I know that’s not easy. The Premier League is the best competition in the world. It is so difficult to win.
'I remember Thierry Henry talking to me about it when we were at Barcelona. He said the Premier League was the most difficult league he had ever played in and now I know why.
'I have great respect for Spanish football and Barcelona and Real Madrid are so high — but part of that is because the other teams are so low. That makes it all too easy for them. You will never see Malaga win at Barcelona or Zaragoza at Madrid.
'But the other day we have bottom-of-the-table Blackburn winning at Manchester United, Aston Villa winning at Chelsea and we lost at Sunderland. Unbelievable. That would never happen in Spain.
'That’s why people all around the world love the Premier League. That’s why this league is so hard to win and why it will be so special for me and City to do it this season.'
Toure added that City still see neigjbours Manchester United as the biggest threat this season.
'We know Manchester United are a strong team. They have such fantastic experience, more than any other team in Europe. Even more than Barcelona, so it is going to be very tough.'