Manchester City must work harder to compensate for Yaya Toure departure
Toure and others are departing for the African Nations Cup and Pablo Zabaleta believes those left must step up
Thursday 03 January 2013
Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta has urged all his team-mates to step up to compensate for the loss of Yaya Toure.
Toure, the champions' midfield driving force, might not be seen again in a City shirt for seven weeks as he prepares to leave for international duty at the African Nations Cup.
The 29-year-old Ivory Coast star missed eight games during last year's tournament, a period which saw City knocked out of both domestic cup competitions and lose an important Barclays Premier League game at Everton.
City recovered to win the title but Zabaleta is anxious to ensure Toure's absence, along with that of his brother Kolo and back-up striker Abdul Razak, is not keenly felt this time.
The Argentina international said: "It's going to be a very tough time for us because we're going to lose Kolo, Yaya and Abdul, three important players.
"Yaya has been a regular player for a long time. We know how important Yaya is to the team but there are other players who can do the same job.
"Everybody is important for the team and we need to keep working hard.
"Last season, January and February was when we dropped points and we need to try to make sure that doesn't happen again."
City had hoped the players would at least be available for Saturday's FA Cup third-round tie against Watford - which is still more than two weeks before Ivory Coast's first fixture in South Africa - but any requests seem unlikely to be granted.
First-team coach David Platt said: "They are meeting on Saturday to travel. As far as I know there is no difference in that.
"Yaya, Kolo and Abdul, I don't think will be available at the weekend unless something changes - but I doubt it."
Striker Sergio Aguero has also been ruled out of Saturday's game after suffering a hamstring injury in the New Year's Day win over Stoke.
City are still waiting to learn the extent of the damage but he is also doubtful for the following week's trip to Arsenal.
Latest in Sport
Frank Lampard was RIGHT not to celebrate Manchester City's equaliser against Chelsea
All Blacks Aaron Cruden misses New Zealand flight after drinking session, has brilliant excuse
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Five reasons why Louis van Gaal is a worse Manchester United manager than David Moyes
Sam Wallace: Louis Van Gaal struggled at start of Bayern’s Double-winning season, but United’s problems run deeper and this league is less forgiving
- 1 Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 iOS 8 apps and features: eight iPhone settings you need to look at after you install the update
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 4 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 5 Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God