Yaya Toure admits he has been hurt by Manchester City's recent run of defeats during his African Cup of Nations absence, but is confident the players will turn things around prior to his return.

The 28-year-old Ivorian international last featured for Roberto Mancini's side in the 3-0 Premier League victory over Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium at the turn of the year.

But, since his departure, the Citizens have been eliminated from the FA Cup by local rivals Manchester United, and lost their two-legged Carling Cup semi-final with Liverpool 3-2 on aggregate.

Toure's woes were further compounded last night as City suffered only their third defeat in the top flight this season, a 1-0 loss at Everton. It's a result which now leaves them level on points with Manchester United at the top-of-the-table, after the Red Devils saw off Stoke City with a comfortable 2-0 home victory.

"I've suffered watching the games on the TV and it's my natural instinct to help my teammates," he told the Daily Mirror. "The defeats have been painful because I wanted to win three titles but I don't think it's because of my absence.

"I'm not indispensable. I left Barcelona to improve as a player and I believe that I have fulfilled my challenge and I am very happy."

Despite the recent setbacks, Toure is confident that his club teammates will hold their nerve and stay in the hunt for the domestic title, and says City can rely on the Premier League's best player to help pull them over the line.

"David Silva is the best player in the Premier League," he added. "Without doubt, he separates us from United and Chelsea.

"It's a pleasure to play with him because he's so impressive. Aguero is also a great player and it feels we are connected."

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