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May 11, 2013

Nasri: Mancini criticism saved me

Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri has told The Times that criticism from manager Roberto Mancini has helped him to improve in the latter stages of this season, admitting his attitude threatened to derail his career at the start of the year.

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Nasri spoke candidly about his difficult transition from Arsenal to City and the criticism he faced from Gunners fans and sections of the French media, conceding he let the scrutiny interrupt his focus on football.

City boss Mancini questioned Nasri's desire in February after a string of poor performances relegated the France international to the bench.

But Nasri has cemented his place in the starting line-up heading into Saturday's FA Cup final against Wigan and the 25-year-old believes his resurgent form is due to the harsh words of his manager.

Nasri told The Times: "I didn't take it wrongly. He is the manager, he can say whatever he wants. I agreed with him. I knew. Sometimes I don't need him to tell me because I'm professional. When I go home, I watch the games again because I love football. I watch every game: second division, Premier League.

"I know if I've played well or if I've played s*** and, for eight months, I wasn't good. I didn't deserve to be in the national team. So I understand what the manager was saying because it must be frustrating when you have a quality player and he doesn't perform and you don't know why because you try to play him there; play him there, but he still doesn't perform."

Nasri will be hoping to clinch his third trophy for City at Wembley and he insists there is more on the line for City after a disappointing title defence and early Champions League exit.

"I'm really excited because it's another opportunity to win and when you win, you just get more and more hungry because you want trophies," Nasri added. "It's a great opportunity for me and us to lift another trophy because a club like Manchester City and the direction it wants to go, we have to win a trophy every year.

"Of course, it's not just about the title, it's about the Champions League as well. OK, we have been in a group with Dortmund, who are in the final, and Real Madrid, but still we could have done much better, so the FA Cup is the trophy to save our year."

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