Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini admits he was bemused that CSKA Moscow denied that their fans racially abused Yaya Toure during last month’s Champions League clash.
UEFA found CSKA guilty and ordered a partial stadium closure for their next home Champions League game -- against Bayern Munich on Nov. 27 -- however, the Russian club had claimed Toure, 30, was alone in hearing anything.
Pellegrini, though, has condemned the Russian club’s supporters, urging them to make sure there is no repeat of the racial chanting when the two clubs meet again at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.
The City manager said: “The fans of CSKA made an important mistake. I don’t know why the club denied at the beginning or what their reaction is now but UEFA acted and gave them the punishment they deserve. I hope we can leave it in the past.”
City right-back Pablo Zabaleta has said that Toure’s teammates rallied around him after he was understandably upset by the events at the Khimki Arena.
He added: “What happened in Moscow was really hard for Yaya. We are all behind him and anytime we see something like that we try to help the players. Hopefully UEFA is always on it. As players, we just need to give massive support to the black players when they have some problems like that.”
Pellegrini believes that Toure will be focused on football on Tuesday night, rather than worrying about chants from the crowd.
He said: “I think Yaya is an experienced player. Maybe he can’t forget about what happened in Russia but [this] is a special match for him, not because of that but because Manchester City can go to the next stage of the Champions League. I think he will only be thinking about football.”