Roberto Mancini did not have his cheeky African Nations Cup wish granted - so now he hopes Kolo Toure does not turn up at Manchester City again until February.
After failing to overcome Burkina Faso in their opening Group B game on Monday, favourites the Ivory Coast would have been out if they had lost to Ghana last night. Instead they managed a 3-1 win that sealed a quarter-final berth that ensures Toure will remain in Angola for at least another week, that will turn into a fortnight if the Ivorians advance as expected.
"I always wanted Kolo to win the African Nations Cup - but if they had lost," he said with a smile, leaving those present to finish the sentence for him.
"The thing is we have Nedum Onuoha back now, he has trained with us for two days. And Joleon Lescott will be about two weeks, so we will be OK without Kolo."
City's other African Nations Cup representative Emmanuel Adebayor is still grieving back in Togo following last weekend's horrific shooting, so Benjani Mwaruwari is set to help Carlos Tevez shoulder the striking burden at Goodison Park.
Record signing Robinho could also be called upon for his second start under Mancini, although the £32.5million Brazilian has been warned his price tag alone will not guarantee him a regular place.
"How much a player cost is not important," said Mancini.
"What you pay only matters when you are in the act of buying someone.
"The important thing after that is the player working hard and playing well."
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