Samir Nasri on the brink of returning to Manchester City
Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri believes his side’s Champions League adversaries Barcelona are much “more beatable” than they have been in recent years. The French midfielder also hailed manager Manuel Pellegrini for the impact he has had on the club and his career since arriving to the helm this summer.
The 26-year-old France international is confident over Manchester City’s ability to defeat Barcelona in the knockout stage. Nasri, who has been on the sidelines for a while now, is scheduled for an MRI on Thursday which will reveal whether he can return to training sessions with the squad.
Nasri is hoping to make a quick recovery before the FA Cup clash with Chelsea on February 15, which is three days before Manchester City host Barcelona at the Etihad Stadium for first leg of knockout stage.
“I've missed a month-and-a-half of competition. It's allowed me to recharge my batteries,” Nasri told RMC. “With City, we're still in four competitions with the aim of winning them. In the Champions League, we are going to have an exciting game against Barca. For me, they are more beatable than in the past. Personally, I think we can knock them out. If our injured players are back, with a full team, I think we can beat them.”
Before being struck down from injury, Nasri was in phenomenal form for Manchester City. The French midfielder’s performances had lit up Pellegrini’s team, a quality that was missing from Nasri under former manager Roberto Mancini. Nasri hailed Pellegrini to be the man behind his transformation into a better player.
“I get on very well with Manuel Pellegrini,” Nasri said. “He understands me. I need affection. He gives me all that. He gave me that confidence again. He made me understand that I was once more an important player for the team. On the pitch, he gives me quite a lot of freedom. So I try to repay that faith as much as possible.”
Nasri hasn’t always been friendly guy on the pitch. Nasri received a three-game ban from French Football Federation for abusing a journalist at the Euro 2012. Consequently, the midfielder was kept in exile from the national team for a year. Now, Nasri has finally been given a call-up and the attacking midfielder is keen on making a comeback.
"I feel great. I am soon going to be 27. I tell myself I have wasted enough time and that I need to exploit my potential,” Nasri said. “When you're young, you don't worry about things. You think you know everything. With hindsight, maturity, and a certain form of intelligence, you ask questions of yourself. Because you know what you have done, it wasn't what you should have done.”