Apr 11, 2016

    City 2 pts behind Arsenal after Nasri's winning goal


    MANCHESTER City boss Manuel Pellegrini hailed Samir Nasri as a "hard working, important player" after the French international marked only his second league start of the season with the winner against West Brom.

    However, the 28-year-old will not feature in tomorrow's Champions League quarter-final second leg home clash against Paris Saint-Germain.

    He was not included in City's Champions League squad because of the player's lengthy absence.

    "We expected he was going to come back in the middle of April but we needed to play the Champions League in February and we had just Kun (Aguero) as a striker," said the City manager.

    "He has worked very well and returned sooner than the doctor expected.

    "I am very impressed he played the 90 minutes after so many months without playing. He is a very important player."

    Nasri, who had to undergo surgery after a thigh muscle was torn from the bone in a training-ground injury last October, said: "It was great to be back and to score the winning goal.

    "It has been more than five months since I have been out so I can't explain how happy I am."

    Stephane Sessegnon's early strike gave West Brom the lead but that was cancelled out by Aguero's penalty - his 23rd goal of the season.

    Nasri, in his first start since September, scored the winning goal as City moved within two points of third-placed Arsenal who were held to a 3-3 draw at West Ham in the race to finish in the top four and secure Champions League football for next season.

    Added Pellegrini: "This was a very important game because the four teams who are involved with us in those positions in the table play together, West Ham and Arsenal, and... Tottenham and Manchester United."

    West Brom manager Tony Pulis was adamant his side should have had a penalty when Eliaquim Mangala barged midfielder Sandro in the back when the score was 1-1 early in the second half.

    Even still, his side, which have won just one of their last 10 away league games, pushed City all the way and could have scored a late equaliser with chances for Saido Berahino and James McClean.

    "I thought it was a penalty. It does not just affect us as a result, but all the teams around City who are fighting for the Champions League...

    "They will be disappointed with that decision," said Pulis.