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Dec 6, 2011

Mancini backs Toure over 'rant'

Roberto Mancini has given his support to Kolo Toure after the defender was quoted criticising City and the attitude towards African players in the Premier League.

Mancini on Toure, Tevez and Rummenigge

• Toure: City hold grudge against me
• Kolo Toure open to PSG switch

Quotes attributed to Toure in So Foot also included a damning assessment of fellow defender Stefan Savic, who signed for City in the summer, and suggested he was ready to leave the club.

Mancini said ahead of Wednesday's meeting with Bayern Munich in the Champions League: "I spoke about this with Kolo yesterday. He said he did not say anything about this. Kolo and I do not have any problem. He explained this to me and for me it is finished. It is okay now.''

When asked if he believed Toure, Mancini said: "Yes I did, I believe him. I did not read the article so I don't know what Kolo said, I can say only yesterday at training he told me about this interview. I don't know what he said or didn't say.

"Yesterday before training he said to me: 'Sorry boss but in the newspaper it will come out that I said this, this, this - but I did say nothing about this.' For me this is okay.

"In this moment, no. Kolo is part of our plans for this year. Kolo is a good player, a good guy and if he plays or not - because we have a lot of good players - he is part of our plans.

"Kolo is important for us because he is experienced. In the summer he told me he wants to leave because he wants to play. I have respect for him and we can talk about this, but not now.''

Toure will miss important Premier League action next month when he again heads to the African Nations Cup to represent the Ivory Coast and he feels this sort of absence is often held against African players away on international duty during the European season.

"It's going to get more and more difficult for us, the Africans," So Foot quoted Toure as saying. "To compete in the ANC, it's catastrophic these days. Coaches no longer want to sign players because of it. I am convinced that, if I am not playing [for City], it's not only for football reasons. If it was only about the game, I'd be playing every week. I am the victim of that, and it has to be said."

The defender also stated City have never forgiven him for competing in the 2010 tournament, resulting in diminished playing time and Toure losing the club captaincy.

"When I was in Angola for the ANC in 2010, the club hired a plane so that I could get back as soon as possible for a match against Manchester United [the Carling Cup semi-final second leg]. I couldn't get back in time and we lost. I believe that the club have not got past that, and I'm paying for it now," said Toure.

Toure's alleged tirade did not stop at criticising his employers either, as he launched into the club's latest £6 million signing, saying: "When you look at the performance of [Stefan] Savic [on his league debut] against QPR - excuse me, I'm relaxed.

"I know my qualities, I've got nothing to prove here in England, they know me here. Football's like that. It goes one way, then the other. The clubs at this level always have big squads. Look, I was the captain here. So was [Carlos] Tevez and he is no longer. Who would have thought that would happen?"

In October 2010, Lily Allen accepted undisclosed damages from So Foot over an interview which quoted her as making offensive remarks about Cheryl Cole and Victoria Beckham. The magazine admitted no interview ever took place.

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