Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has warned the club’s rivals that he and his team-mates expect to kick on and win the Premier League title this season.
Last season was the most successful in City’s recent history, as Roberto Mancini’s side secured Champions League qualification via a third-place finish in the Premier League and won the club’s first major trophy in 35 years with victory over Stoke in the FA Cup final at Wembley.
However, with Tottenham Hotspur still looking strong and Liverpool investing heavily, next season’s top six is shaping up to be the most competitive in years, and there are questions over whether City can build on last season’s successes while coping with the added distraction of Europe’s premier club competition.
Toure recognises the scale of the challenges ahead, but the 28-year-old insists ambitions are high at Eastlands, and revealed the club expect to be capable not just of retaining third place but of mounting a serious title challenge next term.
The Ivory Coast international told the club's official website: "The new season will be very, very hard and we need to improve, because this season the club will play in the Champions League.
"And we expect to stay in the top four of the Premier League and we expect to win the Premier League because now we are coming with more confidence, the players know each other better.
"I think this year will be fantastic for us.”
If City are to live up to their lofty expectations on the field this season, they will have to do so without Patrick Vieira.
The 35-year-old’s retirement this week brought an end to a glittering playing career which included successful spells with Arsenal, Juventus and Inter.
Toure was keen to pay tribute to the achievements of his former team-mate, who will now take on an off-the-field role at the club.
"Patrick Vieira was an amazing player,” he added.
“He brought a lot of experience and he always tried to help young players like me and David Silva, who were coming from another country to the Premier League.
"I think he can help the young players to grow in the Premier League."
By Liam Twomeycomments