Roberto Mancini believes Samir Nasri "can do better" and Manchester City's manager also wants more goals from Carlos Tevez after naming the Argentinian on the bench for the past three matches.
Nasri has had a calf injury and did not feature in City's past two games but Mancini said the Frenchman is fit to face Everton on Saturday. While content with his general play, however, the manager believes Nasri can improve. "In my opinion we are talking about a top, top player here. And if he wants he can change every game. But I think he can do better. He has played some good games for us but he can do better because he has everything."
Asked if he thinks Nasri has found it difficult to consistently display his best form since joining from Arsenal two summers ago, Mancini added: "No, I don't think he has struggled.
"When I say this, we are talking about a player like [Yaya] Touré or [David] Silva – we always think they can change every game they play because they are capable of doing that. But sometimes in spells when we are playing a lot of games in a short space of time – like at the moment – a player can be tired. Samir also had a problem with his calf in the last two games but I wait for him to play always a fantastic game because he can do this."
Regarding Tevez, the manager said: "No, I'm not disappointed about his form recently. About Carlos I can say nothing [critical] because when he plays, even if he is not 100%, he's a fighter, he puts everything he can on the pitch so I can't say anything against him. But it is clear that we want our strikers to be scoring goals and at this moment Carlos is not strong and for this reason he was on the bench in the last three games. But on Saturday that could change or in the derby [next weekend]. He's not 100% because he has played many games and that is why at the moment he is not so good."
Mario Balotelli put City ahead with 20 minutes remaining of Wednesday's 2-0 win at Wigan, and with his first goal of the season. "It was an important goal in a difficult moment," Mancini added. "Now I hope he can continue to score because we need his goals."
There is continuing speculation regarding Mancini's position as manager, with Pep Guardiola and José Mourinho mentioned as potential successors. The Italian did reiterate that the club's hierarchy is content with the team's domestic fortunes though less so with the failed Champions League campaign.
Mancini said the chairman, Khaldoon al-Mubarak, "is happy with the way we are going in the Premier League – and we have the FA Cup to come".
The manager added: "Obviously they are so disappointed about the Champions League, and this is normal because our target when we started the competition was to get to the knockout stage and anything can happen when you arrive there. But we didn't do well and for this reason I think they are disappointed. But they understand it takes time to succeed in the Champions League."
James Milner and Jack Rodwell, who both have hamstring problems, and Gaël Clichy's back injury, mean all three will miss Saturday's visit of Everton.