- Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure says the club can potentially rival Barcelona
- City on top in England this season after the arrival of several big-name signings
- Toure hails manager Roberto Mancini's switch to a more attacking style of play
- He will miss part of the season when he goes to Africa Cup of Nations in January
Yaya Toure believes that Manchester City can become like his all-conquering former club Barcelona, the midfielder told CNN.
After being criticized for defensive play last season, City boss Roberto Mancini has taken the English Premier League by storm with an all-out attacking style.
Ivory Coast international Toure, who moved to Eastlands from the Camp Nou in a $38 million deal in July 2010, said that with the current wealth of expensive talent City can rival the European and Spanish champions' free-flowing passing style.
The arrival of Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri has meant City have not missed wantaway former captain Carlos Tevez, while David Silva has blossomed along with Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli for the 2011 FA Cup winners.
"Last year was difficult, because some of the media criticized City for defending more than attack," Toure said. "(Now) the boss plays with a different system ... Sami Nasri, Edin Dzeko is playing fantastic now, Aguero, Silva is unbelievable."
Toure scored the goal that ended City's 35-year wait for a trophy at Wembley in May, and he said that if Mancini's men can maintain the form that has taken them top of the English table then they can be a serious threat to Barca's dominance.
"For me it's important that you have to first win something, and last year we did it. But this year, I think if we continue like that, if we win a couple more cups, maybe we can be like them, because Barcelona is this fantastic machine of football," the 28-year-old said.
"I'm full of confidence this year, I think this year is going to be amazing for us."
City qualified for the Europe's top club competition for the first time since 1969, and have a great chance of progressing into the knockout stage of the Champions League despite being drawn in a so-called "Group of Death" along with Bayern Munich, Napoli and Villarreal.
"I think you have to go step by step because for me, for the moment, the Premier League is the most important league," Toure said. "But we focus on the Champions League.
"The Champions League is one of the best competitions in the world, so many great teams there. I think if we get some luck, we can go far."
Toure will miss a vital chunk of City's season when he heads to Gabon and Equatorial Guinea in January for the month-long African Cup of Nations.
The Ivory Coast's "Elephants," drawn in Group B with Burkina Faso, Sudan and Angola, are among the favorites to win the tournament for the first time since 1992, with several of the usual big-name countries not qualifying.
Toure's home country is recovering from the civil war that broke out in March after former president Laurent Gbagbo refused to stand down despite losing the November 2010 elections, plus floods that hit Abidjan in June.
"Everybody in my country they are waiting for this cup. And, I think we can only give them the happiness if we win this cup, because the guys from there they need it a lot."
While Manchester United's status as one of the world's most popular clubs remains intact, Toure's presence at City along with his older brother Kolo has helped change the balance among supporters back home.
"Now I see the fans are very proud to put on the blue shirt of the club," he said. "And now I think the image of City is starting to change. I hope God helps us to continue to win something, which will make a lot of people happy."