Nasri relishing title battle

PA Sport
Samir Nasri
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Samir Nasri

Midfielder Samir Nasri believes Manchester City have proved they can stand the heat in the title race.

It was claimed City might be feeling the pressure when, after leading the Barclays Premier League for five months, they surrendered top spot to champions Manchester United. But after losing at Swansea, City showed character against Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League - albeit in a losing cause - and then by coming from behind to beat Chelsea.

Nasri, who scored the late winner against Chelsea, said: "After Swansea we could not say anything. We had a really bad game, they played really well, and we were a little bit tired after the trip from Lisbon. But after that we recovered and we talked, and said a few things, that we came here to win titles."

He added: "We said that we need to be focused because the 10 games that are left are 10 Champions League finals and we want to win them.

"Since then we have shown great character against Sporting and now against Chelsea. There will always be someone there to criticise. Not everyone can like City - there will be some who will say we were weak on Wednesday night.

"But inside the club we believe that we can achieve something together, and that is most important."

With United not in action again until hosting Fulham on Monday night, City can reclaim top spot with victory at Stoke on Saturday. Nasri is well aware of what a tough proposition Stoke can be - with his former club Arsenal having a poor record against the Potters - but thinks City can prevail.

He said: "We have to play our football if we want to beat them. If we try to play like them we won't win, because they are the best at doing it. They put the ball in the air and fight, but we have different qualities. If we play the same game that we played at home against them, we will beat them."

Nasri has had his critics since his £24million summer move from the Gunners but impressed throughout against Chelsea before capping his display with a sublime finish five minutes from time. The Frenchman claims he thrives in such circumstances.

He said: "I am not nervous. I play football to play in this type of game - (and have) since I was a kid. I love football, and on Wednesday, when you see the atmosphere, the crowd, and the football both teams played - everyone wants to play in this kind of game."

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