Nasri and Tevez take weight of expectation in their stride as duo relax in City training
19:20 GMT, 28 February 2013
21:06 GMT, 28 February 2013
Samir Nasri and Carlos Tevez appeared to be in high spirits today as Manchester City prepared for their trip to Aston Villa on Monday.
Fresh from beating top-four rivals Chelsea at the Etihad last weekend, Nasri, Tevez and the rest of the City squad were put through their paces at City's training base in Carrington.
And Tevez, who doubled City's lead over Rafa Benitez's visitors after Yaya Toure's opener, took the time to give the cameras a thumbs-up while he rested between training sessions.
Relaxed: Samir Nasri reclines in Manchester City's boot room at their Carrington training base
Weight of expectation: Pablo Zabaleta puts a shift in as City prepare to take on Aston Villa on Monday
No way: Joe Hart dives over a hurdle to keep the ball out as Costel Pantilimon (left) watches
Nasri, who made a late cameo appearance in the win which tightened City's grip on second place, but struck a pose for the club photographer while reclining in the bootroom.
City manager Roberto Mancini criticised Nasri's work ethic last week, claiming that the France midfielder only offers him 50 per cent.
In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Mancini said: 'I think Samir has fantastic qualities
'With his quality, he should always play well. Every game he could be the difference. A player of this quality could be one of the best players in Europe. But it's not happening.
'Sometimes a player thinks it's enough what they did the year before and doesn't understand that every day they should improve.'
He added: 'You win the title, then you think it's enough to play 50 per cent and you don't arrive the next year.'
'If you are a top player you know you can improve until the last day of your career but sometimes you get players who think it is not important to work and this is their worst mistake.
'Samir can do better than this year. He is a top player but he has not been playing at his level.'
Pablo Zabaleta and Joleon Lescott undertook some weight training in their bid to be fully prepared for City's visit to Villa Park next week.
Goalkeepers Joe Hart and Costel Pantilimon were also pictured putting in a shift. Hart, who made an outstanding save from a Frank Lampard penalty to keep the game at 0-0 last weekend, dived over hurdles to keep the ball out in this afternoon's session.
Mancini will be desperate for his side to take all three points, as league leaders and cross-city rivals United could be 15 points clear at the top come Monday, provided they beat Norwich at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon.
Having a breather: Carlos Tevez gives a thumbs-up to the camera
Focus: Joleon Lescott powers through his training session
Game for a laugh: Javi Garcia (right) shares a joke with Zabaleta and David Silva (left)