• Premier League

Nasri hits back at Mancini over criticism

ESPN staff
April 26, 2014
Samir Nasri told the Telegraph he had a "bad experience" working under Roberto Mancini. © Getty Images

Samir Nasri has hit back at Roberto Mancini over the former Manchester City manager's criticism of his attitude and again defended his decision to leave Arsenal.

Mancini brought Nasri to the Etihad Stadium from Arsenal in 2011, but he recently told So Foot Junior that Nasri had "settled for the minimum" despite having the ability to be a world-class talent.

However, Nasri has pointed the finger at Mancini, who is now in charge of Galatasaray, saying he found it extremely difficult to play under the Italian after having worked under his "football father" Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.

"How I can say it without being rude? He's a different person when he wants you and when he has you," he told the Daily Telegraph. "When he wanted me, he was calling me every day, telling me everything I wanted to hear. I arrived here and for me it was a shock. He was really, really the opposite of Arsene Wenger. Not even a 'good morning.'

"Sometimes when you play he comes and talks to you. If you don't play he doesn't talk to you for three or four months. It's never his fault. You cannot have a discussion with him, try to explain something. When we have a loss, he gets crazy in the dressing-room.

"He says things that you cannot say even on the street to someone. I really had the bad experience with him. He had the results as a manager everywhere he went because he had great players with him. But now, he will not be in my top three or four managers of all time."

Nasri also had to contend with questions over his attitude when he made the decision to leave Arsenal for City in 2011, with even the then-Arsenal player Emmanuel Frimpong tweeting: "Money is the root of all evil."

However, Nasri stands by his decision - "Tell me in the last few years which trophies Arsenal have won?" the Telegraph reported him saying - and stressed that he had good reason for choosing City over the likes of Manchester United and Juventus.

He said: "This image of me being 'materialistic' is a French thing. People were envious. It's fine. What happened is this: It was my best season with Arsenal. We were in October [2010] and the manager asked me whether I wanted to stay at Arsenal. 'Yes, I want to stay at Arsenal,' I said. Then they offered me a contract. It was far from what I wanted. With my agent, we were saying: 'If I stay at Arsenal, I know I'm going to win less money, but it's fine, I'm only 23. I have time to win money. If I'm good I will always win money.'

"We were still in four competitions with Arsenal. We were playing really well. The manager wanted to be focused on what happened on the pitch. It's normal. We wait, we wait, we wait. We arrived in June. I have only one year left on my contract. I had propositions from Manchester City, Manchester United, Inter Milan and Juventus. I said: 'I don't want to go to another country. I want to be in England.'

"I really hesitated a long time. There was United. City wasn't the big club it is right now. My agent told me: 'Do you want to play in the big club, already with a big history, where you will be just one of them? Or play for Manchester City, who didn't win the league for 44 years, where if you win the trophy, you can make history?' I said: 'Oh, yeah, I want to make history.' In my first year, I won the league. I don't have any regrets.

"Yes, economically I have a better life now than what I had at Arsenal. It's normal. If I said to you tomorrow that there is another journal, as serious as your journal, offer you three times your salary, I think you are going to go there. But my first motive was to win trophies."

Arsenal sold captain Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona earlier in the summer of 2011, and Nasri said his decision to leave was influenced by a lack of power in the transfer market as the club sought to cope with the cost of the Emirates Stadium, which opened its door in 2006.

"I stay at Arsenal at the same time we sell Fabregas, who was our best player," he said. "I had the discussion with the manager. I said: 'Cesc is going. Who we are going to take?' Then he told me the name of some players that he was going to take. No disrespect to them but they were not the standing of Fabregas to win a trophy.

"The problem was the stadium. They didn't have the money to buy the players. Arsene is a straight guy. He can see into the future. He didn't want to be penalised by financial fair play so he wanted to stay by the rules and not living by debt. This year everything has been paid. He's just paid £50 million for Mesut Ozil. In the future, he will do it.''

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