Mancini mind games help City title charge
Yaya Toure has revealed that Roberto Mancini's claims last month that Manchester City had no chance of winning the Premier League were indeed mind games - in the dressing room the City boss made a stirring speech telling the players that they would still emerge triumphant.
Mancini declared "the title race is over" after his side lost at Arsenal to fall eight points behind Manchester United - but the finale of the season has swung so dramatically towards the blue half of Manchester that a win at home to QPR will see the trophy heading to City for the first time since 1968.
The Italian went on pouring cold water on City's hopes in public as they narrowed the gap on United. To the players, however, Mancini was completely different.
Toure, scorer of the two vital goals at Newcastle at the weekend, told CNN: "We always believe in ourselves because we've got quality players, fantastic players. I think the key was when Mancini started making a speech in the dressing room.
"He said, 'guys we don't have to give up, you know, because the Premier League is like that and maybe United can drop some points and we can come back. We have to believe to the end because we're in the most competitive competition in the world and most importantly we have to keep going, keep winning and maybe we'll be close to them'.
"I think Mancini was totally right because I think now he deserves everything he gets from now. He's an unbelievable guy who always fights to help his players to get them in good form and I think everything he's done now he's done fantastically well."
Off-field distractions at Eastlands
Toure admitted that the controversies surrounding Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli had been difficult but that the players did not allow themselves to be distracted. He also paid tribute to Tevez's impact since his return to the side. "When you have some important players, big quality players like that, and they do something wrong it's difficult because football is a game for all the group," said Toure.
"You live together, you see each other more than you see your family, and you have to be careful... it can affect the rest of the players. I think definitely the most important thing is that we concentrated and never gave up and continue to believe in ourselves.
"Carlos is a fantastic player who we always hoped would come back to help us because he is a really important player for us. Yeah he made a mistake but he's apologised to everyone and he's showed to the fans he's there to fight, to help his friends, his team-mates for the title."
Toure said his own important goals had repaid City's faith in signing him from Barcelona. "It is very important because when City wanted to sign me to this club from Barcelona to come here they were thinking about bringing a good player to try to add to the club and make history in four years.
"I think this is very interesting for me and very interesting, of course, for the club because I think they've made the right choice."
Toure insisted that the City players were well aware of the threat QPR could pose on Sunday. "The Premier League is so difficult," he said.
"In a couple of days we have QPR at home and QPR they are fighting from relegation from the Premier League so it will be fairly tough."