No way back for Yaya

Pep Guardiola is refusing to budge in his dispute with Yaya Toure’s agent – despite wanting to recall the midfielder.

The Manchester City manager has not picked Toure since his controversial representative, Dimitri Seluk, claimed his client had been “humiliated” by the decision to omit him from the Champions League squad in early September.

Guardiola has demanded an apology from Seluk but, with that not forthcoming, the Ivorian has been frozen out of the first-team picture at the Etihad Stadium.

Guardiola is now planning to rotate his squad for Wednesday’s EFL Cup tie at Manchester United, opening up a potential way back for Toure, but the stand-off continues.

Asked at his pre-match press conference if there was any chance of a return for 33-year-old Toure, Guardiola said: “You know the situation from Yaya.

“I would like to come with Yaya, believe me, I would like, but you know the situation.”

Toure would have given Guardiola an experienced option as he tries to balance the urge to rest players with the need to secure a win.

After opening their campaign with 10 successive victories, City have hit a sticky patch having failed to win any of their last five.

The current sequence – which equals the longest winless run of Guardiola’s career – has raised questions of the manager’s methods, notably his determination to play out from the back.

It was in carrying out those instructions that goalkeeper Claudio Bravo and defender John Stones made high-profile and costly blunders in the last two games.

But Guardiola retains firm belief in his philosophy and is also confident the dressing room is fully onside.

He said: “When I spoke with the players individually, my feeling was they were happy. If I didn’t have that feeling of course I’d speak to them. There’s no sense playing that way if so. But I think they believe it’s good – so I have to insist.

“The most important thing is to make what you believe. When we make a plan for one game, always there is a reason and we show them why we’ve taken that decision.

“That’s why we are going to continue to play in that way. I am convinced it’s a good way to try to win the games.”

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