Moscow 'not a problem' for Toure

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini does not think Yaya Toure will have a problem returning to CSKA Moscow this season.

Yaya Toure was subjected to racist chanting at CSKA Moscow last season
Yaya Toure was subjected to racist chanting at CSKA Moscow last season

City's inspirational midfielder was subjected to racist taunts by supporters when the clubs met in the Russian capital in the Champions League last year.

Toure was upset by the abuse and even suggested black players could boycott the 2018 World Cup in Russia if the country did not get to grips with the issue.

CSKA were punished with a partial stadium closure by European governing body UEFA and sanctions were increased to full closure after a further offence in another match.

That means CSKA - who have been drawn alongside City again - will be playing behind closed doors at the Khimki Arena in their first home match of this year's competition.

That punishment will have been served by the time City visit on October 21, but Pellegrini expects Toure to be prepared to play.

Pellegrini said: "He does not have a problem to go to Moscow.

"At that moment he said what he thinks about it and everyone of us supports him because I don't think those things can happen on a football pitch. This year Yaya doesn't have a problem."

Asked if he had spoken to Toure about the matter, Pellegrini said: "I don't think it's important to continue the same thing.

"That happened last year and UEFA has rules not to allow to those things so I don't think it's good to continue with that."

Pellegrini certainly hopes the club - who initially said City and Toure's complaints had been exaggerated - and supporters have learned lessons as a result of their punishments.

He said: "What I hope is that they will learn about this and I suppose this year we will not have any problems, not only with Yaya - I remember the pitch was in a very bad condition.

"I hope for CSKA Moscow it is a lesson they will learn."

In addition to CSKA, City will also take on another of last year's opponents in Bayern Munich in their latest Champions League group. It is the third time in four seasons City have been drawn alongside the German giants.

All three of those sides are domestic champions while the fourth side in Group E are Serie A runners-up Roma.

Much like the 2012 grouping of Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid and Ajax, it is another tough draw for City, whose UEFA co-efficient means they do not get an easy ride under the seeding system.

Pellegrini, however, does not sense any injustice for a side that has won the Barclays Premier League in two of the past three seasons.

He said: "It is not a problem. It is the rules of the draw. Maybe there are different systems to do it but at the moment there is one system and we have nothing to do to change that.

"Maybe you think one team can be more difficult than others but I always talk about the example of when I was at Malaga. Everyone wanted to play against Malaga but we were the first in the group, before Milan and important clubs.

"I reached the semi-finals with Villarreal and the quarter-finals with Malaga. Maybe there are teams with lesser names but they are strong teams."

City reached the knockout stages of the competition for the first time last season, when they were beaten by Barcelona.

That has set a benchmark City at least want to emulate this term. Bettering it would obviously be the ideal, but Pellegrini will not aim for that at all costs.

He said: "With more experience, with the trust that we have already qualified for the round of 16, I am absolutely sure we are going to continue.

"We will try, of course, but it is very important for us not just to be thinking of Champions League and not having the same interest in the other competitions.

"We won the Premier League last year and want to win it this year. Of course we want to improve in Europe and we will try to do it."