Samir Nasri concedes revenge was primary motivation against Chelsea
Published 16/02/2014 | 13:42
Samir Nasri admits wounded pride was the chief motivation for Manchester City's successful FA Cup revenge mission against Chelsea.
City turned the tables on Chelsea, 12 days after losing to them in the Barclays Premier League, with a 2-0 victory at the Etihad Stadium that secured a cup quarter-final place.
Nasri himself got on the scoresheet, marking his return from injury off the bench with the second goal after Stevan Jovetic had struck in the first half.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini played down talk of revenge after the potentially damaging league loss to title rivals Chelsea, which had also ended a 100 per cent home record in that competition.
But Nasri admits it was uppermost in players' thoughts.
The France international said: "After the Premier League game, I wasn't really there, but in training you saw everyone was a little bit down because we thought we were the best team and we were unlucky.
"Fair play to Chelsea, they played the perfect game to counter us.
"But we knew in two weeks' time we would have to play them again and then we would show them our real faces. We did that.
"We want to win everything and they touched us inside when we lost the game at home because we wanted the perfect record.
"When we had to play them again we showed them how good we are and we don't accept a defeat, especially against a team like this.
"We wanted to get revenge and that is what we did, in the perfect way."
Pellegrini was criticised following the league encounter for his tactical approach, as Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho successfully adapted his midfield to counter the previously free-scoring hosts.
Yet instead of making changes to his system, Pellegrini vowed to stick to default tactics and it paid off with a dominant performance.
City were always on the front foot and Chelsea struggled to make inroads.
Jovetic, moments after hitting the bar, opened the scoring after 16 minutes and Nasri, five minutes after coming on, combined well with David Silva to double the lead with 67 gone.
That marked a personal triumph for Nasri, who feared he had suffered a season-ending knee injury when he was carried off on a stretcher at Newcastle five weeks ago.
He said: "I am really happy. When I had the injury I thought my season was over.
"Then they told me I could come back after five weeks. All the staff did a great job with me.
"Then when I came back, the manager, after two training sessions with the team, gave me 30 minutes to play, to get back fitness.
"Then I played a one-two with David (Silva) and I scored. Of course it is something special because it was a 2-0 (win) as well."
City were perhaps helped by the postponement of their midweek clash against Sunderland as they fielded a strong side.
Yet they still held little back ahead of first leg of their Champions League glamour tie against Barcelona with Silva and Yaya Toure particularly outstanding.
Pellegrini did make some changes with Costel Pantilimon back in goal and Joleon Lescott returning in central defence, but his determination to prolong the challenge in four competitions was evident.
Lescott, who is in the final year of his contract - and was linked with a January move - enjoyed the run out alongside Vincent Kompany but accepts his time at the club is coming to an end.
The 31-year-old, a £22million signing in 2009, told City TV: "It is always nice to play.
"They are not coming as frequently as I would like but when I called upon I like to think I can do a job.
"Vinny is a massive player, a massive part of the club. He has got a massive future ahead of him at the club.
"It has been great playing alongside him for the past five years and it is a shame it is going to come to an end this season."
City's attention now turns to Tuesday's much-anticipated visit of Barcelona.
Nasri said: "It is a massive game. Every player wants to play those kind of games - Champions League, last 16, against Barcelona.
"The good thing is we are really strong. We have our confidence back.
"I think they are weaker than they were two years ago.
"I think it is going to be a tight game and an interesting game for everyone."