Yaya Toure not the problem for Manchester City, says Neville

The midfielder has come in for criticism after the loss to Manchester United, but Phil Neville has defended him.

BBC Sport pundit Phil Neville has defended Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure after the loss to Manchester United.

City were beaten 4-2 by their bitter rivals in Sunday afternoon’s Manchester derby, leaving Manuel Pellegrini’s side fourth in the table and their title defence effectively over.

Midfielder Yaya Toure in particular came in for criticism after the defeat, having let United star Juan Mata run free to score the fourth goal of the game and give his side a 3-1 lead.

However, Neville has defended the Ivorian, saying he isn’t the problem for City.

“I actually feel sorry for the Ivorian,” wrote Neville.

“The way they line up, you could put any player in City's midfield in a big game like Sunday's derby and they are going to struggle. That made it an impossible job for Toure and whoever is playing alongside him.”

Body language is the problem 

Instead, the former United and Everton defender has suggested that Toure’s demeanor is the reason that he is coming in for particular criticism.

The midfielder has been a star player for City since his move to Barcelona, playing a key role in their first title under former manager Roberto Mancini and then again under Manuel Pellegrini last season.

However, he has looked noticeably off the pace this season, which some have interpreted as a fitness issue while others have said his work rate is to blame. Neville agrees, saying his body language is the problem.

“Sometimes when you watch Toure, his body language is not great,” he added.

“That is always something people pick up when they criticise his work rate. Nobody was questioning Toure when City were on top in the first few minutes. It was their team that fell apart, not an individual.”

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