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Champions League: Manuel Pellegrini says Manchester City's Yaya Toure has not had a bad season

Image: Yaya Toure keeps warm during a training session in Moscow

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini thinks key man Yaya Toure’s form is improving as the season goes on.

Pellegrini accepts Toure has not quite reached the heights of last season yet, but says the midfielder is playing well and that he retains all his faith in the dynamic 31-year-old.

And Toure is likely to be a key figure on Tuesday night, when City will face CSKA Moscow in a key Champions League tie in Russia.

Pellegrini said: “I don't agree that Yaya has had a bad season.

"Maybe, if you compare his performances this year to last season, when he had a brilliant performance, maybe he just needs time to get back to that level.

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"But he continues to be a very important player for our team, especially as he showed two games ago against Aston Villa.

"Every game he is playing better. He had a very complicated summer, but I think now he is arriving back towards his normal performance.

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"But I don't think this team just depends on one player. If we didn't play well in some games before, it's because the whole team didn't play well, not only Yaya."

It has been suggested that Toure should possibly be deployed in a more advanced role but Pellegrini said: “He can play both positions but he will continue in the position where, last season, he was the best player in the Premier League."

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Toure was racially abused by home supporters last season when City visited CSKA Moscow in the Champions League, but this match will take place behind closed doors, because of further offences by the CSKA fans.

Pellegrini said: “It is a pity that we cannot play with fans, this is a showpiece for fans.

"It will be a very strange game, with only the players shouting on the pitch.

"We have no option and we must play that way, and many may think the local team will suffer the most damage, but I think the biggest loser is the game of football.”

City desperately need three points after a loss and a draw in their first two group games but their manager expects a tough match.

"I think CSKA are a big team here,” said Pellegrini. “They play attacking football and we have to be focused on our defending if we are to keep a clean sheet."

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