Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has lamented the lack of a winter break in the English Premier League as he looks to delay his departure to the Africa Nations Cup.
Toure looks likely to miss a portion of City's New Year title surge, as well as the early rounds of the FA Cup when he departs for the tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
But the 28-year-old is hoping to feature in the first-leg of the Carling Cup semi-final against Liverpool as well as the league game with Wigan Athletic five days later.
“The problem is in this country we don’t stop," he said.
“In Europe they stop playing for at least two weeks, but here in December and January you are playing every three days.
“So maybe I can go on the 16th or 17th and the competition does not start until the 21st."
“If we go to the final of the Africa Cup of Nations I think I will miss four or five games for City,” Toure added.
“I have total confidence in my friends here. We have [Nigel] de Jong, [James] Milner, [Samir] Nasri, [Gareth] Barry who can all play that position and do a fantastic job.
“At the moment we have players like Barry who are doing more work than a young boy in that position. It’s unbelievable.
“It will be hard. We play Liverpool twice in the League Cup and Manchester United as well in the FA Cup. I hope my friends do well because now we have a good chance.
“I have played for my country for a long time, but I am focused on what I’m doing with City. It’s a great challenge to win the Premier League.”