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Toure ready to pitch in

23 Oct 2013 09:16:57

Toure ready to pitch in

Yaya Toure will put concerns about the pitch aside in his determination to drive Manchester City towards the Champions League knockout stages in Russia.

City can put themselves in a strong position to claim a last-16 place for the first time with victory over CSKA Moscow in their latest Group D game.

But the build-up to the clash at the Arena Khimki has been dominated by worries over the playing surface with the venue only passed fit by UEFA a fortnight ago.

Persistent heavy rain and a high volume of games in the early part of the season ruined the turf and CSKA have been forced to play their home games elsewhere for almost two months.

The pitch - branded "unbelievable" by City boss Manuel Pellegrini - has only recovered slightly with grass still thin and the surface sandy and uneven.

But Ivory Coast international Toure said: "For us, you have to play on pitches with problems. I don't have any problem with that.

"In Africa we have worse pitches. Most of all we have to do our best to try to win this game."

With Bayern Munich having taken control of the group, City are probably now in a battle with CSKA for second place.

Their hopes of going through therefore rest on their back-to-back games with the Russians, who visit the Etihad Stadium in a fortnight.

City were humiliated in their last European outing by champions Bayern and Toure wants to prove lessons have been learned.

The 30-year-old said: "The Munich game is the past. I said you can have a bad day - Bayern Munich was.

"You have to learn from your defeat to be more stronger for the future.

"The most important thing is we have to focus. This game is going to be very important for us. Hopefully we will win it."

While Toure may not have been willing to enter the debate about the pitch, Pellegrini certainly had a point to make.

The Chilean feels the ground is so bad that if the weather takes a turn for the worse the match would have to be called off.

"I think it is unbelievable that the most important competition of the world is allowed to play in this pitch," the 60-year-old said.

"We must pray - if it is raining I think it will be impossible to play.

"I am surprised (it has been passed fit) because they didn't allow the other game, against (Viktoria) Plzen, here.

"I think the people from UEFA that viewed the pitch mustn't give the authorisation to play here."

Even CSKA coach Leonid Slutsky conceded the ground was bad.

Slutsky, whose side have lost five of their last seven games, said: "I suppose the quality of the pitch is, absolutely, equal to the quality of our latest results."

Pellegrini will be relieved no rain is forecast in the Russian capital - just temperatures around freezing.


PA

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