Samir Nasri was delighted to prove his worth to Manchester City after sealing a 2-1 victory over West Brom on his return to the starting line-up.
Nasri, recently back from a long-term thigh injury, was named in a much-changed City side as boss Manuel Pellegrini cast an eye towards Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final second leg against Paris Saint-Germain.
Stephane Sessegnon gave West Brom an early lead and, although Sergio Aguero levelled from the penalty spot on his 200th City appearance, the hosts turned in a stuttering display.
But Nasri grew into the match individually and, following the introduction of Kevin De Bruyne and Yaya Toure from the bench, the playmaker was on hand to slot home a 66th-minute winner.
City are now two points behind third-placed Arsenal as they bid to secure a top-four finish and, speaking to Sky Sports after the match, Nasri was keen to underline the importance of capitalising on a 3-3 draw between Arsene Wenger’s men and sixth-placed West Ham earlier on Saturday.
“It was great to be back and to score the winning goal especially after the result of Arsenal and West Ham.” Nasri said, before discussing the misery of his prolonged injury woe.
“It has been more than five months since I have been out so I can’t explain how happy I am.
“The medical staff have done some good work but when you are out for so long, you want to prove to everyone you have the quality to be in the side.
“With all the new players, I wanted to contribute to the team.”
Victory over Tony Pulis’ side was the first time City have won back-to-back Premier League matches since October and Nasri suggested injuries to key players made them a predictable team to face as their title challenge faltered.
“When Kevin De Bruyne has been on the sidelines with me, and David Silva have been playing with pain, our game has been predictable with [wingers] Jesus Navas and Raheem Sterling,” he added.
“It is good when everyone is fit and the manager can choose all the players he wants. Then it is very easy to play in this team.
“I can play on the wing or through the middle. We can all play together, the only thing is that we have to defend too. We have to track back with the full-backs and if we can do that then we can all play together.
“I can help the team rotate too. We are playing in the Champions League and if we want to be fresh then we have to rotate and play at the same level. I will try and help the team finish as high as I can.”
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