Man City V Middlesbrough - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.
Yaya Toure apology is 'important' for Manchester City, says Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola has described an apology from Yaya Toure on behalf of his agent as "so important for Manchester City".
City boss Guardiola has refused to pick Toure since his representative Dimitri Seluk claimed the midfielder had been "humiliated" by his omission from the club's Champions League squad early in September.
Guardiola demanded that Seluk apologise but, with that not forthcoming, Toure took matters into his own hands on Friday in an attempt to end the impasse.
"I wish to apologise - on behalf of myself and those who represent me - to the management team and all those working at the club for the misunderstandings from the past," the 33-year-old wrote on Facebook.
"Those statements do not represent my views on the club or the people who work there. I have nothing but respect for Manchester City and only wish the best for the football club.
"I am immensely proud to have played a part in the club's history and want to help City succeed further. I live to play football and entertain the fans.
"On that note, I would like to thank all of the fans for their messages through this difficult period. This means a great deal to me and my family."
Guardiola says he appreciates the apology and appears willing to offer the midfielder an olive branch and possible way back into the team.
Speaking at a press conference to preview this weekend's Premier League clash with Middlesbrough, Guardiola said: "I spoke with Yaya today. Of course it is a private conversation. I know what happened and what he says.
"Of course it is so important for Manchester City, that is the most important thing, and of course for Yaya, who I appreciate and have known from a long time ago."
Guardiola did not say whether he would start picking Toure again - having only selected him once in five games prior to the stand-off - but implied he would be ready if called upon. That is because Toure has continued to work with the squad throughout his exile.
Guardiola said: "Yaya is in all our meetings and training sessions. You knew the situation, nothing has changed."
When pressed further, Guardiola asked to change the subject.
"I have answered about Yaya and don't answer more," he said.
"I spoke with him and it is good. Now the focus is on Middlesbrough."
Whether this proves to be the end of the matter, however, remains to be seen as Toure's apology did not appear to have met with Seluk's approval.
The Ukrainian told talkSPORT: "I'm not apologising. We want peace, but I'm not apologising. Apologise for what?
"Maybe Toure has apologised for this, but I don't know for what. I think Yaya doesn't mean this."
Aitor Karanka has called on his Middlesbrough players to seize the opportunity to prove they belong in the Premier League when they face City.
Karanka insists his side will travel with no fear despite City's stunning midweek demolition of Barcelona having experienced their own significant boost in confidence levels in recent weeks.
Boro impressed in a goalless draw at Arsenal a fortnight ago then finally broke their seven-game winless streak when they followed it up with an impressive 2-0 win over Bournemouth.
Karanka said: "It's the same as when we went to Arsenal - we've been working for three years to play these kinds of games and we are really looking forward to it.
"My confidence comes from the last two fixtures. Last week was a really important game for us and for me the best part was the performance.
"We have recovered our consistency and we are adding to our points and our experience. Now the feeling is completely different and the players are more confident because 10 points are better than seven with Man City in front of us."
Karanka watched City's midweek triumph and said he expects them to continue getting better under Pep Guardiola, whom he became acquainted with during his time at Real Madrid when his opposite number was Barcelona boss.
Karanka added: "He (Guardiola) is one of the best coaches and I think now, especially after the win over Barcelona, he is changing a little bit.
"In the past he was always about possession but in the last game (City) have scored goals from the counter-attack and the long ball from Kolarov to Aguero.
"When you have these good players you have a lot of alternatives which is good for a coach and he is improving them.
"It's a nice game for us because both managers are from Spain. I said that with Pep here the league was going to improve, and he's showing how good he is."