Kolo Toure is urging his team-mates to relax and enjoy their football as the Blues enter arguably the most important fortnight in the club’s history.
With the pressure intensifying ahead of the weekend clash with Aston Villa, the City skipper believes his team need to play with a smile, retain their focus and be totally committed from start to finish.
Three wins will guarantee fourth place as things stand and the former Arsenal defender is adopting a refreshing approach to the Blues’ run-in.
“You know how the best way to cope with pressure like this? Just relax and enjoy the moment because it’s not every season that you have the opportunity to challenge for Champions League football,” said Toure.
“Football is such a wonderful job that you need to enjoy every minute and if there is pressure on you, just go out with a smile and be happy because I believe that will allow you to play your normal game and deliver the goods.
We are in a fantastic position and it’s up to us how we deal with it. Ultimately, it comes down to how much we really want to finish fourth
“We begin against Aston Villa on Saturday and we have to make sure we give everything we’ve got - and I mean everything.
“I’ve been in this kind of situation many times during my career so the task ahead doesn’t faze me in the slightest and as a professional.
“It’s been a fascinating season and it is great for football that four clubs are challenging for one position going into the last fortnight of the campaign – we just need to make sure it’s us who are smiling on the final day.
“It proves that the Premier League is the best in the world and personally, there’s nothing more I love than a challenge because it brings out the best in me.”
Toure says he is also looking forward to welcoming back the skipper he effectively replaced – Richard Dunne - though as Stephen Ireland remarked earlier in the week, he’s hoping Dunney doesn’t play too well on his return!
“Richard was the captain when I first arrived at City and I played alongside him for the first two games of the season,” he said. “We didn’t concede a goal and I thought we played well together.
“For me, he is a top defender and he’s been outstanding for Aston Villa this season and I hope he continues to be successful with them, though not at our expense. In fact, I could live with him having an off-day on Saturday!”