Toure: I'm not back, I'm always there
Manchester City star Yaya Toure has dismissed any notion that his two-goal display at West Brom on Monday was a distinct improvement on his performances of last season.
Toure and City began 2015-16 with a bang, the Ivorian scoring twice to set up a 3-0 win at The Hawthorns, which leaves the 2014 champions top of the pile after the first round of fixtures.
The former Barcelona man scored 20 Premier League goals as City secured a second league crown in three years two seasons ago, but only managed 10 last term – amid speculation he could leave the Etihad Stadium – as Manuel Pellegrini's side fell eight points short of Jose Mourinho's Chelsea.
"I'm not 'back' – I'm always there," he said. "People have to understand football is not talking about one player, it's about the team and the team did a massive job against a difficult side in West Brom.
"I think last season people were talking all the time. For me, I'm quite surprised. Last season was not the best season for us, but second in the table I think is not bad at all.
"There's been a lot of criticism about me, but it was not a bad season. Twelve goals, and I won the Copa for my country, it's not bad at all.
"Sometimes people criticise you unfairly, but we don't care what they say. The most important thing for us is to try and make everything 100 per cent.
"I'm a full competitor. I love my job, I love to play football. I don't care about what people are saying about me."