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Season starts now for Everton


Nasri may be back for Barca clash

Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri is winning his battle to be fit to face Barcelona in the Champions League next month.

Samir Nasri Manchester City
It had initially been feared that Samir Nasri would be out for a long period.

• Mooney: Stick with starters
• Negredo fit to face Spurs
• Pellegrini: Seven challengers

Nasri, 26, was injured by a shocking challenge from Newcastle defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa on Jan. 12 and was seen at City’s Carrington training ground on Tuesday with his knee in a brace.

But manager Manuel Pellegrini insisted the France international is on course to recover from his knee problem to take on the Spanish champions at the Nou Camp on Feb. 18, saying: “Next week Samir will start running and in two or three weeks he will be fit.”

Pellegrini has insisted that City are excellent defensively and said his team work more on trying to prevent goals than score them.

They conceded twice to Championship side Watford in the FA Cup on Saturday and captain Vincent Kompany told ESPN: “Our weakness is our strength, like any other squad that are so dominant and so attacking. We play with two strikers and two wingers who are virtually strikers and one of our midfield players -- which we only have two of -- is also virtually a striker.

“Our full-backs are pushing up all the time, ultimately out of a team of 11 players we have six or seven who are always involved in the attack and it just means that there is a lot of ground to cover when you lose the ball. It’s a risk but it’s a style of playing that suits us at the moment.”

But Pellegrini responded: “We must be a very balanced team. Maybe you don't believe me but we work more in defending than attacking. It's my opinion and maybe I am wrong but I think this team defends very well. For the moment, we will continue in the same way.”


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