Ex Arsenal midifelder Samir Nasri was a target for Roberto Mancini's criticism, but none of that seems to be coming from Pellegrini…
Samir Nasri’s form seems to have improved under Manuel Pellegrini at Manchester City, and this season he seems to be proving why the side from the blue half of Manchester decided to spend around £24m to prise him away from Arsenal.
He has also played with a great deal more consistency than under Roberto Mancini – then again, he might not have been best motivated under Mancini when the ex-City boss came out with quotes like the following after 4-0 win against Newcastle last season.
‘I would like to give him a punch. Because a player like him should play like today always. Always. Every game. Maybe one game sometimes he can play [badly] but with his quality… I don’t know what was different on Saturday. I can’t understand [why] sometimes a player with his quality doesn’t play like today [in] every game.’
Mancini repeatedly said of Nasri: ‘Samir can do better than this year. He is a top player but he has not been playing at his level.’
In his first season in a Manchester City shirt, he managed to grab five goals and supply nine assists for his teammates, but very much like his side – failed to make an impact on the European competitions.
In the following season he managed to get a goal in the Champions League but didn’t supply any assists again, whilst his contribution in domestic competition also fell a little. This season, however, he has embraced Pellegrini's style with some first class performances, and gave a bit of insight into the difference between Pellegrini and his predecessor.
‘Managers have different ways to work. Some like to say things in the press to make players react and some like to say things face to face with the player.
‘Last year I just wasn’t in a good place so everything that he [Mancini] was saying was difficult for me to accept and it wasn’t his fault, it was just me that wasn’t in a good place.’
The way Nasri has tucked inside this season, and the movement from the players around him has made him a very effective player. He has been able to spot the pass that opens up the opposition’s defence.
So far in the Champions League this season, Nasri has managed to supply four assists, an upturn in form under Pellegrini, and seems to be an important part of City’s attacking play.
Maybe the Chilean says things face-to-face with Nasri, rather than in the press.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald