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Mar 3, 2014

Samir Nasri eyes World Cup redemption

Samir Nasri hopes his stunning goal in Manchester City's Capital One Cup final win against Sunderland can help him earn a recall to the France squad for the World Cup.

Marcotti: What does it take to win a World Cup?
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Nasri, 26, who recently returned from a month-long knee injury, has been overlooked by Les Bleus coach Didier Deschamps for Wednesday’s friendly against Netherlands at the Stade de France.

However, after helping City to silverware at Wembley on Sunday, the former Arsenal midfielder is planning to force his way back into Deschamps’ thinking.

"The best response is on the pitch," Nasri told L'Equipe. "It's up to me to give him headaches by repeating this kind of performance."

Nasri was long ignored by Deschamps after receiving a three-match ban for clashing with a journalist during Euro 2012.

And now he seems to have been punished for a below-par performance in the first leg of France's World Cup playoff against Ukraine.

The Marseille native first caught the eye after winning the European U17 Championship in 2004, but despite winning 41 caps at senior level he remains a divisive figure in his homeland.

Nasri feels it is "annoying" that he is disliked in his own country and blames the outcry on his behaviour at Euro 2012.

"I reacted badly, of course," he said. "But I was provoked. I responded. I didn't kill a child -- I insulted a journalist.

"People don't know us. They read the papers, they watch the TV and if they hear that 'him, he's a moron,' that obviously leads to a negative connection with the public.

"I can seem arrogant because I want to be sure of myself. If you don't believe in yourself, no one will do it for you. But if the only thing you hear is criticism then inevitably, in your head, that bothers you."

Nasri says he is relieved to have won over City's fans, though, after emerging from what he terms a "negative spiral" that engulfed him last season.

And he gives much of the credit for his return to form to City manager Manuel Pellegrini, who he says has shown more faith in him than his predecessor Roberto Mancini.

"He reminds me a lot of Arsene Wenger," Nasri said. "He gives me a lot of confidence. Before, in the 50th minute, I'd see the board go up and I knew that it would be me who would be replaced.

"That's no longer the case. I have a manager who keeps telling me that I'm an important player." 

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