Yaya Toure: Manuel Pellegrini never doubted Man City midfielder
Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini insisted he had no concerns over Yaya Toure's form after his first Premier League goal of the season helped secure a vital late victory over Aston Villa.
Toure, whose 82nd-minute goal sent City on their way to a 2-0 win, has faced criticism over his work-rate.
Pellegrini said: "I know perfectly the way he thinks and the way he can play.
"Like every player he can have better games or not so good games, but I have never had any doubts about him."
By this stage of last season, the 31-year-old Ivory Coast international had scored eight goals for City.
Pellegrini does not feel the slower start Toure has made to this campaign is down to the speculation about his future over the summer but says he has been affected by the death of his younger brother Ibrahim in June.
"Yaya has had a lot of different things happening in his private life," Pellegrini said. "But when I spoke to him he did not have any problem with his commitment to the club and he did not want to go anywhere else. I think that was a misunderstanding.
|Yaya Toure has scored in his last three Premier League games against Aston Villa.||Sergio Aguero has scored in each of his last five away Premier League games.|
"Of course, it is very important for him to score his first Premier League goal and I hope now we see the Yaya of last season.
"He is one of the best midfielders in the Premier League, without any doubt, and he is very important to us.
"The Yaya of last season also played some bad games but he scored so many goals that everyone talked about that.
"The important thing is that Yaya knows he must improve every game and he is trying to do that, so I do not have any concerns about him."
Sergio Aguero added a second late goal at Villa Park to seal a City victory that moved them up to second place in the table.
They are now within two points of leaders Chelsea, who play Arsenal on Sunday.
"It was important to win the three points," Pellegrini added. "Chelsea were five points clear and top of the table so we have to try to recover those points as soon as we can.
"We cannot do anything about Chelsea but we can do what we did here, and play the way we played.
"I don't know if it was exactly relief we felt at the end, because we deserved to win before we scored.
"But I think we played our best game of the season in terms of chances created, our possession and the way we defended and the intensity we showed when we recovered the ball.
"The reason we did not score earlier was because Villa defended really well."