Samir Nasri hailed France's collective performance in the win against Albania which ensures their destiny remains in their own hands ahead of Tuesday's Bosnia and Herzegovina decider.
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Samir Nasri says France will go in to their final Group D qualifier against Bosnia and Herzegovina with confidence fully replenished following Friday's convincing home win against Albania.
Les Bleus may be unbeaten in 14 matches, but there was nevertheless a degree of apprehension this week when a series of key players – including Karim Benzema, Franck Ribéry, Bacary Sagna and Eric Abidal – dropped out through injury. They made light of those absences, however, as goals from Florent Malouda, Loïc Rémy and Anthony Réveillère condemned Albania to their fifth defeat and ensured Laurent Blanc's men stay top of the section, a point above Tuesday's opponents.
Blanc had little choice but to blood some new faces, and he also experimented with a 4-4-2 formation for the first time, yet the performance remained fluid and left Nasri in buoyant mood ahead of the section finale. "It gives us a lot of confidence," the Manchester City FC midfielder told UEFA.com. "We were determined to turn in a good performance and to show everyone that we are a strong team despite all the injuries. We were collectively very good and that's encouraging ahead of Tuesday's game."
Much like his team, Nasri upped his own game, although the playmaker denied he had a point to prove. "I wasn't trying to respond to anything," said the 24-year-old, who exerted considerable influence from his starting position on the right and notably set up Rémy's 38th-minute strike with a fine, surging run. "I just wanted to concentrate on playing football. It's what I do best and that's why I went out there with a lot of determination."
Yohan Cabaye was another to impress, although the Newcastle United FC midfielder now faces a battle to be fit for Tuesday after limping off with an ankle injury early in the second half. The 25-year-old was nevertheless keen to savour the victory, saying: "We knew we had to win this game before we could think about Tuesday. We wanted to score goals and we did."
Playing alongside Yann M'Vila in central midfield, Cabaye looked at ease and insists he had few problems adapting to the new system. "I'm used to playing in a 4-4-2 with my club," he pointed out. "I had to adapt to having different players around me but they all have great quality so it was easy."
Nobody, however, seemed happier than Djibril Cissé, who, after receiving a late call-up, completed his international comeback by appearing for the last ten minutes. Greeted by a raucous ovation, the S.S. Lazio striker still had a smile on his face an hour after the game.
"It was a fantastic feeling," he said of the fans' reaction. "I don't know why they've warmed to me. Maybe it's because they know how desperate I was to come back. They want to see players who want to fight for the national team."