Pep Guardiola lauds 'outstanding' Yaya Toure

Manchester City is "so happy" to have Yaya Toure back in the team, according to manager Pep Guardiola.

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Manchester City is "so happy" to have Yaya Toure back in the team, according to manager Pep Guardiola.

The former Ivory Coast international was frozen out earlier this season following a row between Guardiola and the player's agent, Dimitri Seluk.

But, Toure has found himself back in the first-team picture over the past couple of months, and scored the opening goal from the penalty spot as >City won 3-0 at Hull City on Boxing Day to move into second in the Premier League.

Kelechi Iheanacho and Curtis Davies' own goal added gloss to the scoreline in a game where Guardiola's side was made to work hard by its lowly opponents, and the Spaniard was full of praise for Toure's man-of-the-match performance.

"Absolutely deserved, since he's come back his performances have been outstanding," Guardiola told Sky Sports.

"He's a huge personality, and he always plays with good intelligence. Congratulations because you did well in giving man of the match to Yaya. We are so happy that he's come back, he was always a part of us, but now he's back playing."

Read: >Guardiola excited by Aguero, Iheanacho and Gabriel

"[On Sunday] I talked with my kids, it was my boy's birthday, he tells me 'you're going to score' and I'm delighted," added Toure.

"I'm always delighted to play and to entertain the fans and that's what I want to do. To be a part of the team and winning is always a massive achievement and any opportunity I get I will take it."

The visitors did not take the lead until the 72nd minute as Hull battled hard, and almost went in front when Michael Dawson's header was cleared off the line by Bacary Sagna.

It was an important victory for City, who earlier in the day had seen leaders >Chelsea rack up a 12th consecutive win to temporarily move 10 points clear of Guardiola's side.

"Yes [it was tough], like always," Guardiola said. "The first half we controlled, the second half we had problems and were lucky in the situation with Bacary.

"You always have pressure, the teams at the top are winning, [Manchester] United, Arsenal, Chelsea won but every game is pressure and like a final.

"Because you have a team in this league winning 12 in a row that means a lot. You have to win, sometimes you play before, sometimes after but the target is the same."

City lost John Stones to a knee injury in the first half, but Guardiola confirmed the defender had just taken a kick and will hopefully be fit for the trip to Liverpool on New Year's Eve.

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