MX23RW : Saturday, January 19 09:04:13

Manuel Pellegrini: 'Samir Nasri can make the difference for West Ham United'

Pellegrini: 'Nasri can make the difference'
© Reuters
West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini backs Samir Nasri to be a difference-maker for his side following his first Premier League start since 2016.

West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini has backed Samir Nasri to be a difference-maker following his January move to the club.

Nasri joined the Hammers earlier this month following the expiration of his doping ban and made his first start for the club during this afternoon's 1-0 win over Arsenal.

The Frenchman assisted the only goal of the game against his former club, and Pellegrini is confident that he will only continue to improve as he gets more minutes under his belt.

"We're very happy for the fans that we beat a club like Arsenal. I'm more pleased with the way we played. From the beginning we tried to play as a big team, to have the mentality of a big team, to have an ambitious mind, and I think the team today reflects all I am talking about," Pellegrini told reporters at his post-match press conference.

"Samir Nasri is a top player and when he has more minutes and is 100% fit then he can make the difference for us - as he did for Arsenal and Manchester City. In that position it is very necessary for us to have players like that because the other three players - [Jack] Wilshere, [Manuel] Lanzini and Andriy Yarmolenko - all have injuries.

"Samir is improving and I am sure that he will continue to do so in the future. He is not able at the moment to play on the wing or as a holding midfielder, but after two or three more games he will be able to play in the positions he has before."

Nasri's appearance against Arsenal was his first in the Premier League since August 2016.


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West Ham forward Marko Arnautovic waves goodbye during his side's Premier League clash with Arsenal on January 12, 2019
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