Yaya Touré yesterday refused to exclude the possibility of Manchester City matching Arsenal's 2004 feat of finishing a Premier League campaign unbeaten.
"It will be very difficult, but we hope we can continue [unbeaten]," the Ivorian said at the launch of Puma's African Nations Cup kits. "We have tough, tough games in the next couple of weeks: Liverpool, Newcastle and Chelsea. But the team is improving, our mentality is getting stronger and we are doing something I honestly did not expect. We have won lots of games and we are playing fantastic football. We have more than one team now. We have got two teams who could get into the Champions League."
City will learn today whether their domestic campaign is to resume amid the turmoil of two of their players challenging the club's disciplinary system. There was a feeling at the club last night that Carlos Tevez, who trained at Carrington with reserves Nedum Onuoha and Wayne Bridge yesterday, may possibly accept the findings of a disciplinary hearing, with the deadline for appeal 5pm tonight. The Tevez camp would not disclose its intentions.
Kolo Touré is expected to accept a fine of up to six weeks' wages when City announce the findings of last week's hearing into his conduct, following the failure of a drugs test.
Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, said City should compromise in the case of Tevez, initially fined a month's salary after allegedly refusing to appear as a substitute during a Champions League tie with Bayern Munich.
"He was suspended for a fortnight, made to train on his own and with the reserves and I don't want anyone to cut off their nose to spite their face," Taylor said. "It would be nice if, having had his penalty, things could move on as normal. I would hope they can do that for the sake of the club and the player."
City will be reluctant to retreat on the findings of their disciplinary hearing, which found Tevez to be in five breaches of contract. The club are determined to inculcate a culture of self-discipline and consider the Tevez case symbolic. The club privately insist that Taylor told them in a face-to-face meeting that he supported them when they sought PFA clearance to fine and suspend Tevez for more than the two weeks permissible under a player's contract.