Toure - Best is yet to come
Kolo Toure insists the recent criticism of his performances will only make him stronger.
By Richard Bailey
Last Updated: 13/12/09 11:14am
Kolo Toure insists the recent criticism of his performances from people inside the game will only make him more determined to return to his best.
The 28-year-old has been part of a Manchester City backline that has been questioned by many after numerous shaky displays this term.
The defender joined City from Arsenal in the summer for £16million with many, including Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, backing Gunners boss Arsene Wenger's judgement for selling the centre-half at the right time.
Even former Arsenal team-mate Lee Dixon stated that Toure had 'lost some of his athleticism', but the Ivory Coast international is focused on proving his detractors wrong.
"I respect all my critics but there are always ups and downs," he told the News of the World.
"Ferguson should remember that he suffered bad times in his career as well. I had periods when I was at the very top of my game and now I have to work hard to get back there.
"The most important thing is to realise when you are having difficulty. I strongly believe that at the age of 28, my best is yet to come.
"When I hear critics like Ferguson and Lee Dixon, who I learned so much from at Arsenal, it makes me play harder and work harder to prove them wrong.
"At the moment it's a great challenge to come to a lower club and help make them big.
Part of the furniture
"I stayed at Arsenal for too long and, when you do that, everything becomes a habit. Every day is the same. You become like the marble of the furniture in the house.
"And sometimes the importance of the furniture isn't always noticed. I became very relaxed and I lost my focus and my sharpness.
"Now at City there is a new expectation and pressure and it's so exciting."
Toure went someway to silencing his critics after a stellar performance in the 2-1 win over Chelsea last weekend after keeping Didier Drogba quiet for most of the match but the stopper knows City need to perform like that every week if they are to fulfil their potential.
"I am teaching other players that we have to play as we did against Chelsea for 38 games. We have to beat the teams we are expected to beat," he added.
"That's what it takes to be champions. You have to forget yesterday. I talk about preparation - I tell them to take care of what they eat, how much they sleep, how much water they drink, how well they take care of their bodies.
"They have to realise that it's not just about what you deliver on the pitch, it's the commitment you show off it. That's what the top players do - that's why they are at the top."