Samir Nasri: Pellegrini can count on me
Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri wants to show his true face after admitting he "lost" himself during a turbulent last season for club and country.
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Following a controversial Euro 2012, Nasri was mediocre in City colours for much of the 2012-13 campaign as he scored just two Premier League goals.
However, having ended his year-long international exile in France's friendly in Belgium last week, and started the Premier League season with a goal in City's 4-0 rout of Newcastle United on Monday, Nasri said he will show his critics he has changed for the better.
"I know that I'll be under scrutiny this season, but I'm used to that," the 26-year-old told Infosport+. "Ever since I was 17, I've lived with pressure. Today, I've matured quite a lot.
"The incidents at the Euro, the fact to have shut myself off from the outside, that's not me. I'm about communicating, talking, enjoying life, smiling all the time. I lost myself a bit last season; I've found myself this year, which is great."
Shrouded in negative publicity after a high-profile spat with French media at the European Championship in the Ukraine, Nasri struggled to find his best form under Roberto Mancini.
Nasri is confident the Italian's subsequent replacement by Manuel Pellegrini, who sent on the former Arsenal midfielder just over an hour into Monday night's game, will enable him to rediscover the rich talent he first showed at Marseille as a raw teenager and fend off his rivals for a place in the starting line-up.
"I know the coach has confidence in me," Nasri said. "I came on, I showed that you're going to have to count on me this season. I went to get that goal because we need to score and I need to score points.
"I'm not afraid of competition for places, it makes me better. I have huge desire this season. I want to go to the World Cup, to show to everyone the real Samir Nasri. I've been training for that the whole pre-season. I've trimmed down, I feel better."