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Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Nastasic delighted with City start

Richard Jolly

Manchester City defender Matija Nastasic says he has exceeded his own expectations by becoming a regular in the side so quickly.

• Blog: City fans should empathise

Nastasic, 19, who joined the Premier League champions on transfer deadline day in August, has gone on to become Vincent Kompany's regular partner in the heart of the City defence, making 20 starts this season.

And the youngster is surprised at already having displaced Joleon Lescott from the side, while also fighting off competition from Kolo Toure.

"I'm very proud that I have held down a first-team place because Joleon Lescott is a great player and so is Kolo Toure," Nastasic said.

"I didn't expect to play straight away. When I arrived I noticed in the first couple of games that I could settle down and had time to play my way into games and that gave me confidence.

"So far I've played 20 games and everything is going well for me at the moment. But it's not really important who plays as long as the team do well. Of course, it's very important for a player to do well in the first two or three games because you are still finding your feet."

Nastasic joined City from Fiorentina after spending one season in Serie A, and the Serbia international is delighted at having made the switch.

"It's a different challenge in Italy. It's also very difficult to play there but I'm happy here and feel suited to English football," he said.

"The main difference is that in Italy it's a very tactical game. Teams get a lot of players behind the ball. Here the games are more open and the challenges are stronger."

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