Belfast Telegraph

Samir Nasri: Fatigue isn't the cause of Manchester City's problems

By Ian Herbert

Manchester City's Samir Nasri has rejected his manager Manuel Pellegrini's claim that fatigue - rather than complacency - caused them to throw away the chance to move within a point of leaders Chelsea in the Premier League table at New Year.

Pellegrini claimed after Sunday's shocking turnaround against Burnley that heavy Christmas pitches in their previous games, at West Bromwich Albion and the Etihad, had contributed to City's second-half malaise which saw a 2-0 lead end in a 2-2 draw.

But Nasri dismissed that notion. "It's not an excuse that we were tired," he said. "Look at their [Burnley's] team. They played exactly the same XI as played against Liverpool. Both teams didn't have many changes. There is no lesson to learn because we are playing for Manchester City against Burnley at home. It's not a lesson, we just have to be clinical."

Nasri also said the side must carry the memory of their disastrous attempt to defend their Premier League title two years ago into the second half of the season.

The club's attempt to retain their crown then was dismal, with an inspired and wounded Manchester United winning the subsequent title and City's players collapsing into a state of open warfare with a divisive manager, Roberto Mancini.

"Yes, we all know what happened and it's an example for us," Nasri said. "We know what we need to do. What not to do, as well. We learn from our mistakes. I don't know how many points we were behind United at this stage -we finished 11 or 12 behind them. I know this will not happen. All we want is to win the league again - and we'll do everything possible to do it again."

City were actually seven points behind United on this day two years ago, a lead Sir Alex Ferguson's side extended to 11 points by the finish.

City are expected to announce this week that Frank Lampard's loan contract from New York City FC, which runs until the end of this month, is to be extended at least until February, allowing him to remain and deputise for Yaya Touré, who will miss much of next month at the African Cup of Nations.

"We are hoping he will stay," Nasri said of Lampard.

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