Manchester City defender Nastasic relishing busy festive schedule

The former Fiorentina defender has no complaints over the lack of a winter break in English football and is keen to continue impressing the club's fans with his performances
Manchester City centre-back Matija Nastasic is relishing the busy festive program in English football and insists he isn't fazed by two away trips in the space of five days.

The Premier League champions face Martin O'Neill's Sunderland on Boxing Day before Saturday's meeting with Norwich at Carrow Road as they look to keep up the pressure on rivals Manchester United at the top of the table.

And Nastasic, who has been a mainstay at the heart of Roberto Mancini's defence during the 2012-13 campaign, is adamant that the extended run of fixtures is not an inconvenience.

"To me it is not a problem," he said, as quoted by the Independent. "I am always happy when I am playing, so this time of the season makes me happiest of all!

"My father and mother are here, so I won't miss my family. I don't look at the two long away trips as a problem at all.

"Now we concentrate on the Sunderland game, and then we focus on Norwich - it's not a headache.

"The league in Italy stops, and we have a break, but playing here is no problem for me. I am looking forward to the next couple of games."

The gap between the Manchester rivals was reduced to four points as United were held by Swansea on Sunday following City's narrow victory over Reading a day earlier and Nastasic believes his side were good value for the 1-0 win over the Royals.

"We knew the game would be difficult because it was obvious they would just come and defend, but we deserved the goal in the last minute," the Serbia international added.

"Reading played 11 men behind the ball, in a small area which always makes it very difficult to attack - but that was their game plan.

"We are a very strong team, self-motivated and full of confidence at the moment. What is important is that we keep the same attitude, if we want to win the Premier League.

"We won the game, and that is the important thing."

Nastasic has emerged as a key member of Mancini's back four with Vincent Kompany's recent injury woes and the former Fiorentina star is determined to remain a fans' favourite by keeping up his impressive performances on the pitch.

"It makes me happy if the fans think highly of me, and I just want to keep playing the way I am - that is the objective for the whole team, not just me."