at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
KINGSTON UPON HULL, United Kingdom – Samir Nasri insists Manchester City will get their season back on track at Hull on Saturday after crashing out of the FA Cup and the Champions League in the space of four days.
Manuel Pellegrini's side are nine points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea going into the weekend, although they have three games in hand and a superior goal difference.
City's European adventure concluded with a 4-1 aggregate defeat against Barcelona on Wednesday, a widely expected result following their 2-0 defeat in the first leg, but they were also shocked by a 2-1 home defeat in the FA Cup quarter-finals against Championship side Wigan last weekend.
Such has been City's involvement in the cups that only seven of their 17 matches since the turn of the year have been in the Premier League.
The 1-0 win over Stoke on February 22 was their only league match in their last six games but after a frustrating week, the League Cup winners now have only one thing left to concentrate on as they look for a second Premier League title in three years.
French midfielder Nasri took heart from the performance in the 2-1 defeat in Barcelona on Wednesday.
And despite pushing so hard in four competitions for so long, he maintains that winning the league and the League Cup would prove to be a successful campaign.
“We can't fear anyone. We saw that when we play we can compete with any team in the world,” Nasri said.
“It's good for the confidence to know that when we play we can be on top and next year it'll be important to know that.
“It'll be important to win the league because if we can finish with two trophies it will be a great season for us.”
City attempted to play down the severity of a muscle injury sustained by Sergio Aguero in the early stages of the match at the Nou Camp.
But the Argentina striker was forced off at half-time and is likely to miss the match against the Tigers.
Pellegrini also has doubts over striker Stevan Jovetic and defender Matija Nastasic, who have been out with respective hamstring and knee injuries.
Centre-back Martin Demichelis could return to the team after missing the trip to Barcelona through suspension.
Meanwhile, Hull midfielder David Meyler hopes his team can secure safety in the Premier League in time for the club's first FA Cup semi-final since 1930.
The Tigers are looking forward to facing fellow Yorkshire club Sheffield United at Wembley on April 12, but still have the task of booking their place in the top flight for next season.
The visit of City is the first of five league matches for Hull before the semi-final and Irishman Meyler says the team must make Premier League points their priority.
“We're hoping we can be safe before the semi-final, but it's a tough game against Man City first,” Meyler said.
“Then we've got to play a lot of the sides near us in the table. That's our bread and butter. We can't look beyond that.”
Hull were beaten at Eastlands in August but Steve Bruce's side gave a good account of themselves in the 2-0 defeat.
Meyler said Hull would aim to repeat their effort in a bid to derail the title-chasers.
“They'll have seen what a difficult lot we are when we played there at the start of the season,” he said.
“We gave them a good, hard game and we'll be looking to do it again.
“Teams come here and they don't really fancy it because we play football and work our socks off.” – Sapa-AFP