Nastasic relishing busy schedule
Manchester City defender Matija Nastasic is relishing the busy festive program and insists he is unfazed by two away trips in five days.
The English 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.
Nastasic, who has been a mainstay at the heart of Roberto Mancini's defence during the 2012/13 campaign, is adamant the extended run of fixtures is not an inconvenience.
"To me it is not a problem," he said. "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.
"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 said.
"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," he said.