Touré urges City to keep 'cool heads'

A lack of Premier League experience will not stall attempt to take title from United, insists defender

Of all the advantages Manchester United possess in what will be
a frantic race for the title, the most commonly cited is that of
experience. Of the starting line-up Sir Alex Ferguson employed
against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, onlyfour players, Danny
Welbeck, David de Gea, Phil Jones and Ashley Young, had not won a
Premier League title – and they are all in their first full season
at Old Trafford.

Kolo Touré is the only member of the side that finished Manchester City's 2-0 win over Bolton who knows the peculiar stresses that come with winning a championship in England. His brother, Yaya, has won La Liga with Barcelona while Edin Dzeko celebrated the Bundesliga title with a vast cigar on the pitch at Wolfsburg. However, the Premier League is subtly different and the key to winning it, in Kolo Touré's eyes, is to keep calm and carry on.

"It is going to get tougher and tougher because it will get more intense, but we need to keep our heads cool," he said, acknowledging that most of the stresses would be mental rather than physical at end of a nine-month season with no winter break. "Definitely, because you do feel the pressure from other teams," added Touré, part of the Arsenal side that marched through an entire season unbeaten. "You want to deliver but, at the same time, you have to keep calm and play as you usually do.

"We are taking every game so seriously. Against Bolton, there was 100 per cent concentration from us for 95 minutes and, if we keep going like that, we will win the league."

Sir Alex Ferguson's side have another advantage, a considerably easier run-in. Putting aside what is likely to be the biggest Manchester derby anyone can remember, the average position of United's remaining opponents is 14th. For Roberto Mancini's men it is 10th and, United apart, they will face five teams now in the top 10.

United will face only two other opponents who are currently in their half of the table; at home to Fulham, who since 1963 have lost 15 of their 16 league games at Old Trafford, and West Bromwich Albion, whose last victory in the red part of Manchester came in 1978.

Mancini will hope to be free of off-field distractions that have revolved continually around Carlos Tevez – who tonight will make his first appearance in front of City supporters for six months, when he plays for the reserves in the Manchester Senior Cup against Bolton Wanderers – and Mario Balotelli.

Raffaella Fico, the Italian model whom Balotelli's family credit with introducing some stability into his life since becoming his girlfriend, yesterday accused the British tabloid press of being "totally bitter" about his private life. "When you're young, you do certain things without stopping to think whether they are right or wrong," said Ms Fico, a frequent visitor to Manchester from her home in Milan. "The goals he scores are more important than his private life. For me, he can also go to a strip club if he does nothing wrong."

Title race the run-in

Manchester City:

Swansea (a)
Chelsea (h)
Stoke (a)
Sunderland (h)
Arsenal (a)
West Bromwich (h)
Norwich (a)
Wolverhampton (a)
Man United (h)
Newcastle (a)
QPR (h)

Manchester United

West Bromwich (h)
Wolverhampton (a)
Fulham (h)
Blackburn (a)
QPR (h)
Wigan (a)
Aston Villa (h)
Everton (h)
Man City (a)
Swansea (h)
Sunderland (a)

News
Sir David Attenborough
people
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
News
Comic miserablist Larry David in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
peopleDirector of new documentary Misery Loves Comedy reveals how he got them to open up
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
Sport
football
News
i100
Life and Style
Virtual reality headset: 'Essentially a cinema screen that you strap to your face'
techHow virtual reality is thrusting viewers into frontline of global events and putting film-goers at the heart of the action
Arts and Entertainment
Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
musicExclusive: Rockers promise an explosive opening to the evening
Life and Style
David Bowie by Duffy
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Hell, yeah: members of the 369th Infantry arrive back in New York
booksWorld War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel
News
advertisingVideo: The company that brought you the 'Bud' 'Weis' 'Er' frogs and 'Wasssssup' ads, has something up its sleeve for Sunday's big match
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Environment
Dame Vivienne Westwood speaking at a fracking protest outside Parliament on Monday (AP)
environment
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness