Manchester United legend Paul Scholes has laid into Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure.
Scholes has suggested that the way Toure plays is a problem for the side when they are under pressure against big teams who know how to exploit Toure’s defensive weakness.
“I felt that it was the same old story in the Champions League for Manuel Pellegrini’s team. Yaya Touré’s lack of defensive work in midfield has become a major problem for them,” wrote Scholes in his column for the Independent.
“The amount of time I saw opponents get in behind him in the game in Munich was quite remarkable. He just did not look interested. Alongside him, Fernandinho is having to do the work of two players defensively and against Bayern that was always going to cause City problems.”
Scholes’ comments echo the frustrations felt by many Manchester City fans over the way Toure played, capped off by the midfielder laughing and joking with Bayern boss Pep Guardiola after the game.
There’s no doubt that Toure is a truly special player and one of the best box-to-box players in Europe but his lack of defensive discipline is surprising when considering where he played for Barcelona.
Barca used him as a player to protect their back four, which suggests they saw a good defensively minded player in Toure from a very young age.
It’s also surprising considering his form for Manchester City over the last couple of seasons as the side has won two Premier League titles within the space of three years.
Bayern’s success in getting behind Toure and exploiting the space, which Fernandino simply couldn’t cover is a tactic that other sides could use when they come up against the champions in the league or in Europe for the rest of the season.
It will be interesting to see how Chelsea go into the game this weekend as Jose Mourinho is one of the best tacticians around.
Fortunately for City, Toure is experienced enough and good enough to be able to reinvent himself if sides are constantly exploiting a weakness which he has to address for the good of the team.
He’s been challenged and now it’s time for him to respond.