Why Yaya Toure has become a liability defensively for Manchester City

Yaya Touré interview

Manchester City were knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona and Yaya Toure was hauled off after 72 minutes.

There has been something wrong with Yaya Toure all season. He has become a liability defensively for Manchester City and he showed that again on Wednesday night.

Manuel Pellegrini’s men were knocked out of the Champions League after a 1-0 defeat to Barcelona and Toure looked lost in the centre of midfield.

The Spanish league leaders may have had the genius of Lionel Messi to call upon, but it was all too easy for them to get in behind City’s midfield two and create chances at will.

When Ivan Rakitic broke from deep to give Barcelona the lead, it was obvious that it was Toure who had allowed the Croatian to sneak in unmarked at the back post.

But this moment was not a one-off. City were lucky to get away with further lapses from their midfield as Joe Hart pulled off a string of superb saves to keep them in the game.

Fernandinho was often left isolated as Toure ventured forwards and failed to recover his position. He appeared to be running through treacle at times when he attempted to track back, so it was no surprise to see him substituted.

Gary Neville, who was on co-commentary on Sky Sports agreed. He said on Toure being played in one of the deeper midfield roles, "You need to get him out of there; it's just too much for him."

Toure used to be a domineering presence who combined devastating runs from deep with supreme strength and power which enabled him to track back effectively, but he now appears either unwilling or incapable of performing his defensive duties.

The Ivory Coast international is 31 years old now and is rumoured to be on former manager Roberto Mancini’s wish list at Inter Milan, per the Guardian.

It would be no surprise to see him replaced in the summer as it appears he now needs two midfielders alongside him in order to get the best out of him. Toure looks a shadow of his former self and was City’s biggest culprit against his former club.

Register for MANCHESTER CITY team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch