Yaya Toure and Manchester City Should Ignore Jose Mourinho's "Mind Games"

Rob PollardFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2014

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 12:  Yaya Toure of Manchester City shields the ball from Sergio Busquets of FC Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match between FC Barcelona and Manchester City at Camp Nou on March 12, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Jose Mourinho's consistent attempts to derail Manchester City's title challenge have been criticised by Yaya Toure. The Chelsea manager has made several comments to the media this season about City, something the Ivorian midfielder feels is disrespectful (via Marcah/t ESPN). 

I think he talks more than before, perhaps because the English press likes it.

He is a coach and he must give respect a little bit. He is always talking about everyone and that is not the correct way. That is why Barcelona always beat Madrid when Mourinho was here.

The Manchester City manager, Manuel Pellegrini, was asked in his press conference on Friday (via the Manchester City YouTube channel) whether he felt Toure was right in his assertion, but he was unwilling to comment, saying:

Yaya has his opinions, everyone can have different opinions, I have my opinion also but I don’t want to start talking about things other managers said because I don’t think it is the right way.

There's little doubt that Toure's opinion of the English media lapping up Mourinho's outspoken style is true. Ever since his first press conference during his initial spell as Chelsea boss, where he described himself as "The Special One," he's been revered by the majority of journalists, many of whom appreciate the fact that he provides them with explosive content for their work.

He's largely afforded a free pass, something Pellegrini most certainly isn't. With the exception of his absurd criticism of Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson in the aftermath of City's first-leg defeat to Barcelona, he's been respectful and dignified in his handling of the press, which has, in fact, done him few favours.

May ask City to play 'Wake me up before you go go' as Pellegrini enters the press conf room in future...

— Mark Ogden (@MOgdenTelegraph) January 7, 2014

Toure would do well to take a leaf out of his manager's book and ignore Mourinho during the title run-in. Getting frustrated is exactly what the Portuguese manager wants, and with City nine points behind Chelsea and facing a difficult set of away fixtures between now and the end of the season, focusing on themselves and not being distracted is vital.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 11: (L-R) Manchester City FC players Sergio Aguero, Samir Nasri and Yaya Toure warm up during a training session ahead the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg match against FC Barcelona at Camp Nou on March 11, 2014 in Ba
David Ramos/Getty Images

City have to travel to Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Everton before the season ends, with little room for error given their fixture pile-up caused by involvement in various cup competitions. Winning the Premier League has been City's priority since the beginning of the season, and Mourinho must not be allowed to divert their attention.

What's more, City's owners want their club to be dignified in their handling of the media, something Pellegrini has largely been conscious of, and rising above Mourinho's antics will be seen as important in their eyes.

Mourinho is a wind-up merchant best ignored.


Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here: @RobPollard.