YAYA Toure faces a race against time to be fit for Manchester City’s Champions League clash with Dynamo Kiev and the Manchester derby after he was ruled out of this weekend’s trip to Norwich with a heel injury.
The influential Ivorian midfielder has scored twice in the last three games, as well as clinching victory in the Capital One final against Liverpool with the winning penalty in the shootout.
But Toure missed the subsequent Premier League defeat at Liverpool with the heel problem, and manager Manuel Pellegrini revealed that he has now aggravated the problem.
The City boss hopes that rest will cure the problem, but it remains to be seen if Toure recovers in time to play in Tuesday’s return with Kiev or at home to Manchester United a week on Sunday.
‘Yaya Toure has a problem with his heel,’ said Pellegrini. ‘He had the same problem against Liverpool which is why he couldn’t play.
‘Yaya is out. We’ll see next week how he will improve. We don’t know (if he’ll miss Kiev). It’s a pain in his heel.
‘Sergio (Aguero) had the same problem a month ago. If Yaya can rest a little bit more we hope that he can return sooner.’
With Tottenham not in action until Sunday and Leicester playing Newcastle on Monday, Pellegrini hopes City can put pressure on the top two by winning at Carrow Road.
City have a game in hand on the leaders but are relying on them slipping up if they are going to have a chance of winning the title from fourth place.
He added: ‘We don’t depend just on the work we can do. We cannot have the same points as Tottenham and Leicester if they win all their games.
‘At least if they win the title it’s because they won all their games and not because we couldn’t win ours.
‘We’ll focus on trying to win at Norwich and then we’ll see the way the other teams manage the pressure between now and the end of the season.
‘The most important thing is that we don’t have margin of error, and we need to win our games.
‘If we win the next two games in the Premier League the pressure will be more on the other teams. But we know that we must win if we want to continue being involved in the title to the very end.’
City needed a late penalty to beat Norwich 2-1 in the Premier League at home, and then won 3-0 in the FA Cup at Carrow Road.
The Canaries have lost nine of their last 10 in the league, but Pellegrini is refusing to take anything for granted.
He added: ‘When you must play against teams in relegation positions it’s always very difficult because they don’t have much to lose.
‘They must try to win their points especially at home so I’m sure we will find them a very difficult team. It will be a very tough game if we want to win the three points.
‘We will play our strongest team against Norwich and then we see what is the best starting XI against Kiev.
‘One of the worst things we can do is to think we can qualify for the next stage of the Champions League.’