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The FA Cup Fourth Round

Zabaleta: Squad is stronger

Pablo Zabaleta thinks that the current Manchester City squad is stronger than the one which won the Premier League title in 2012.

Last Updated: 28/10/13 at 10:53 Post Comment

Pablo Zabaleta: Says the current Manchester City squad is stronger

Pablo Zabaleta: Says the current Manchester City squad is stronger

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City finished 11 points short of rivals Manchester United at the top last season, but under Manuel Pellegrini, they have enjoyed a strong start to the new campaign, winning all four of their home games.

Pellegrini added five new faces to his ranks over the summer and Zabaleta believes that his side is in better shape than that of two seasons ago.

"I think we have a better squad now than when we won the title," he told the Sunday People.

"Some players have left and some big players have arrived. Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli were important players for us when we were champions and so were lads like Nigel de Jong and Adam Johnson.

"But now it feels like we have at least two top players for every single position in the team. I think the balance we have is very good. The manager has a lot of options and that is good.

"The new signings have all brought something different. Alvaro Negredo, Jesus Navas and Fernandinho have settled in very quickly and have already had a big impact.

"Stevan Jovetic and Martin Demichelis haven't played a lot of games yet but they will get their chance. So yes I think they have made the team much stronger."

Speaking ahead of City's visit to Stamford Bridge, Zabaleta admitted that Chelsea will be one of a number of teams also challenging for the title.

"We know that going to Stamford Bridge is never easy at any time but we will be going there to try and win because three points would be massive for us," he said.

"We had a good record against Chelsea last season but that will mean nothing because Jose Mourinho is back and that makes them a different team even if most of the players are the same.

"We know Chelsea are one of the teams challenging for the title. Every year it always seems to being between two teams, but this time I think there will be a group fighting until the end.

"Arsenal have started the season well. There is also ourselves, Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool, and we won't be forgetting United either.

"The Premier League is more competitive this year than I can ever remember and that's what makes it so tough to win."

The full-back also spoke of last season's heartache, saying that City must learn from their shortcomings and bounce back this time around.

"Last season hurt us. We finished second to United and lost the FA Cup final and this club cannot accept silver medals," said Zabaleta.

"The experience has made us more focused. This time the manager has told us that we must aim to win all four competitions that we are in.

"Of course, the Premier League and the Champions League are the most important options for every team, but he is also serious about winning the FA Cup and Capital One Cup.

"I think that's what you want to be aiming for when you want to be the best team."

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