• Premier League

Nasri and Kolarov take swipes at Mancini

ESPN staff
March 1, 2014
Manchester City meet Sunderland at Wembley on Sunday for the right to lift the League Cup

Roberto Mancini has come under fire from Samir Nasri and Aleksandar Kolarov with the pair insisting the former Manchester City boss held them back during his time at the club.

Mancini was axed by City at the end of last season after failing to retain the Premier League crown he won in 2012 and losing to Wigan in the FA Cup final at Wembley, where the club face Sunderland in the League Cup final on Sunday.

Manuel Pellegrini appears to have rejuvenated Nasri with the midfielder impressing this season as City sit three points off Premier League leaders Chelsea with a game in hand.

Now Nasri has hinted he did not believe Mancini trusted him last season, and that his manager did not make him feel "important".

"The manager [Pellegrini] has been great," Nasri said. "From the first training session, he told me exactly what he wanted from me.

"I really like the way he talks to me and made me feel important again. And after that I go out on the pitch and try everything because he trusts you, so you have to do everything for him."

Kolarov is another player who has benefited from the managerial change at City. The left-back struggled to establish himself in Mancini's starting XI but has usurped Gael Clichy as Pellegrini's first choice in the position this season.

Under Pellegrini's commitment to attacking football, Kolarov feels City fans are seeing the "real" him.

"I was always the same player, it's just I play more often and now I show my real face," said Kolarov. "I just did not play a lot with Mancini. I enjoy how we play now.

"From the first day he asked us to play very offensive football - we show that on the pitch."

A little under 10 months ago during that shock 1-0 FA Cup final defeat to Wigan at Wembley, City fans had shown their support for Mancini, rumoured already to be on his way out of the club, by chanting, "You can stick your Pellegrini up your a***".

However there has clearly been a shift in their attitude towards Pellegrini. Asked what had changed since succeeding Mancini, Pellegrini joked: "Well I hope at least the songs!"

Pellegrini also insisted the club's fans did nothing wrong in questioning his appointment. He added: "I think Mancini deserved the support of the fans because he won the title here for the first time in 44 years.

"Everyone knows how passionate City fans are so I give my congratulations to their support, but also I felt that from the moment I arrived here they accepted what the club did and I think they are very happy with the team this year, the way we play and to be in another final.

"The way we play is an important reason [for the change in attitude]. For any supporter, they want to go see their team scoring goals. This season has maybe been special in that sense, because in a lot of competitions we have been scoring a lot of goals."

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