Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini is confident Cote d’Ivoire defender Yaya Toure is fully committed to the club.
The Chilean boss also believes the club can make up for the 31-year-old midfielder’s absence while he is away on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).
The Premier League champions could be without Toure for four weeks due to his involvement in the tournament. City have not won in a league game without Toure since last April- he was rested for the draw with Burnley on December 28 and the draw with Arsenal in September.
Pellegrini, 61, said: “Of course we are going to miss Yaya because he is a very important player – in the same way that we miss Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko, David Silva, or all the players that for different reasons cannot play every week.
“But we have a squad and we have to replace Yaya. We must continue fighting for the title with or without Yaya. We have to play two more games without Yaya and he will arrive here in February. I don’t think our team depends just on one player.”
Toure was asked in an interview on Friday about his long-term future. He was a subject of transfer speculations in the summer after his agent claimed he was disrespected by Manchester City owner on his 31st birthday.
“I don’t know. I’m at City at the moment,” the Ivoirian told CNN.
Asked about Toure’s future, Pellegrini added: “I think Yaya is 100 per cent committed with our team. I don’t have any doubts about that.
“I don’t think any of us know what will happen in six months. But it’s not a problem with his commitment. You can’t link one thing with the other. I repeat, Yaya is very happy here. His commitment with our club is not a problem.”