independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Nasri: We must improve away form

Samir Nasri was in the Manchester City side that trounced Arsenal on Saturday

Manchester City playmaker Samir Nasri knows the team's baffling away form could be the only obstacle blocking a powerful title charge.

City were again at their destructive best as they thrashed Barclays Premier League leaders Arsenal 6-3 on Saturday to move within three points of top spot.

Coming after the 4-1 demolition of champions Manchester United and the 6-0 and 7-0 hammerings of Tottenham and Norwich respectively earlier this season, it was another powerful statement from Manuel Pellegrini's men.

But all those brilliant performances have come at the Etihad Stadium, where City have a 100 per cent league record and have scored 35 goals in their eight games.

Mystifyingly, they have lost four from eight and only won twice on their travels in the competition.

Encouragingly, they did win at Bayern Munich in the Champions League last week and Nasri hopes they are now ready to follow that up and click fully into gear.

The Frenchman said: "We were confident, we always perform against big clubs.

"We did it against United, against Tottenham, midweek we beat Bayern Munich away from home.

"Now we have to do the same away from home (in the league). Since the start of the season we haven't done as well away.

"But when you play a big game it is always easy to get the motivation. Big players always respond when you say, 'it is a big game'.

"Now we know the title race is open. We have come back to three points behind Arsenal and next week they play Chelsea, so we have to put pressure on them.

"I think they know when you score six goals - and we had so many chances to score more - that we are a real threat."

City showed Arsenal no respite with Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo, Fernandinho, twice, David Silva and Yaya Toure all getting on the scoresheet.

Four of those goals came after top scorer Aguero, whose calf injury is being assessed, left the field early in the second half.

Pellegrini was frustrated at the three goals conceded but felt the performance in attack was a complete one and vowed to continue in the same manner.

Nasri said: "We are going to try to break them but when we come on the pitch we don't have an obsession about scoring seven goals every game or six or five.

"We just try to do our job but we know we have an offensive team. When we have got chances we score."

Fernandinho's performance earned him the man-of-the-match award. The midfielder's goals in the second half were his first since his £30million summer move from Shaktar Donetsk and he is growing in influence by the game.

Fernandinho is not currently in Brazil manager Luiz Felipe Scolari's World Cup plans but Nasri can soon see that changing.

He said: "I think it is a mistake. I have such respect for the Brazilian players but when I look at the squad, I think he deserves a place there.

"But this season is not finished and if he continues like this he is going to be in Brazil for the World Cup."

Scolari is planning to spend time in Europe to assess players and Fernandinho himself can only hope to catch the eye.

The 28-year-old said: "I think I must keep playing the same way, always.

"I said he came to Europe to watch some games but I don't know where or when he will see me. I hope he comes here."

City are awaiting news of the draw for the last 16 of the Champions League having qualified for the knockout phase for the first time.

Having finished runners-up to Bayern in their group, despite accumulating 15 points, City know they could face a tough test against Barcelona or Real Madrid.

Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid are the other options.

Nasri said: "If we can perform against a top squad in the next round then we are going to have the confidence to know we could go as far as possible."

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