Potters frustrated us says Nasri
- 23 February 2014 08:33
- Posted by @dclayton_mcfc
Samir Nasri was as relieved as everyone else when Yaya Toure broke the deadlock against Stoke.
The France international found playing the Potters a stifling affair and he told Sky Sports that the Blues were still feeling the after-effects of their midweek exertions against Barcelona.
Sport Mole’s Matt Domm picks up the story: “Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri has insisted that it is tough playing against a team set up to defend, which is what he thought Stoke City did on Saturday afternoon.
The Citizens eventually managed to win 1-0 at the Etihad and Nasri said that Manuel Pellegrini's half-time team talk helped the players to keep things simple.
‘It was frustrating playing against a side with 10 in defence, especially when three days before you play against Barcelona,’ Sky Sports News quotes Nasri as saying.
‘We were not really fresh in the first half but we played better the last 10 minutes. At half-time the manager told us to be behind the midfield and play as simply as possible to have opportunities to shoot and that's what happened. But most important was the win.’"
Indeed it was, Samir.
On a thin day for interesting City stories, Richard Jolly in the Daily Express acknowledges the Blues’ grittier side came to the fore against Mark Hughes’ men who looked set to record a second clean sheet of the season against Pellegrini’s goal machine.
He writes: “Just when Stoke seemed set to make this the worst week of Manuel Pellegrini’s reign, up stepped Toure. It wasn’t the most important goal the Ivorian has ever scored. It wasn’t even his most significant strike against Stoke. But how it mattered.
“In the context of City’s season, it was crucial. Slip up against Stoke and they could have been 11 points behind leaders Chelsea by the time they next played a league game.
“After 69 minutes to forget, a second stalemate of the season against the Potters beckoned.
“But Toure is the scourge of Stoke. He had the final say in a tale of two cities in the 2011 FA Cup Final, ending the Manchester variety’s 35-year wait for silverware. He gave them renewed hope of winning a second league title in three seasons.”
Finally, Dave Wood in the Daily Mail picks up on a result that should give City plenty of encouragement ahead of the Round of 16 second leg in Spain next month.
With the general consensus in the media suggesting the Blues are facing mission impossible at the Camp Nou, Real Sociedad proved the Catalans can be beaten – and by a score that City will need to progress into the last eight of the competition
He writes:“Barcelona, featuring Lionel Messi, Neymar and Andres Iniesta, were a shadow of the side that outwitted Manchester City in midweek, as the Spanish giants slumped to a shock defeat at Real Socieded on Saturday.
“Despite Tuesday's 2-0 win at the Etihad, Barca coach Gerard Martino made changes and tried to reinforce his defence by playing with two holding midfielders in Sergio Busquets and Alex Song.
“But Song scored own goal in the 32nd minute in the first of several defensive lapses that doomed the defending champions.
“Messi equalised four minutes later but Antoine Griezman restored their lead in the 54th minute and David Zurutuza ghosted in to seal victory just before the hour mark.
'We didn't feel comfortable and hold possession which is our strength. This meant that they had openings,' said Barca defender Gerard Pique.
'Now we have a break for a week and we can consider what went wrong. We are only three points behind so it isn't worrying.'
“The defeat leaves Barcelona three points adrift of La Liga leaders Real Madrid, who earlier had eased to 3-0 win over Elche.”