Villa Park

Next Game

A Villa v Man City

Saturday, 04 October 2014, 17:30

Barclays Prem

Etihad Stadium

Last Game

Man City 1 - 1 Roma

Tuesday, 30 September 2014, 19:45

Champions League Group E

Zabaleta eyes City improvement

Pablo Zabaleta accepts that Manchester City have come up short in the defence of their Premier League title.

Last Updated: 04/03/13 at 23:47 Post Comment

Pablo Zabaleta: One of City's most consistent players during their title def

Pablo Zabaleta: One of City's most consistent players during their title def

The dependable Argentinean has been one of City's more consistent performers in a campaign that currently sees them 12 points adrift of Manchester United with 11 games remaining.

Blues manager Roberto Mancini regularly shuffles his options elsewhere in his side, but Zabaleta has made the right-back berth his own in the absence of the injured Micah Richards and has captained the side when Vincent Kompany has been forced to the sidelines.

Players of the calibre of Carlos Tevez, Samir Nasri and Joleon Lescott have all spent time watching on from the bench, something Zabaleta says his team-mates must deal with.

"With 25 players it isn't easy for the manager to work and keep everybody happy," declared the 28-year-old.

"Sometimes if a player has been dropped for a game because Mancini wants to make a change, it's difficult for them, they go down, because they want to play. That happens in all teams."

Such are the changes at City that at four-and-a-half years Zabaleta is one of the longest-serving squad members, but he feels that the side should have raised their game in the wake of their title triumph.

"We are a team [built] over the last four years; it's not really easy for a team to build up the mentality to try to keep winning every year, like top teams around Europe.

"Probably this year we needed to show we wanted to retain the title and it's been very difficult. So we know that we need to do something more, give something more, try to do better, to create that strong mentality that we need."

Stronger

While City retain slim hopes of hanging on to their league title, they can only look on in envy as their cross-town rivals prepare for a mouth-watering Champions League clash with Real Madrid.

City's tenure in Europe's elite competition this season ended at the group stage, which included a last-minute defeat to Jose Mourinho's side.

Madrid will train for Tuesday's match at City's Etihad Stadium a day earlier, and Zabaleta is keenly aware of how City need to improve to make their presence felt on the continent.

"We know we have great, fantastic players but probably we have to be stronger as a group to be one of the top teams in Europe."

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

put Ince in my fantasy football team, so it's no surprise at all really. I do that to players. Also responsible for De Jong and Upson being injured. Think I'll transfer in Di Maria just to ruin United....

megabrow (cufc)
F365's Top Ten Surprise Strugglers

L

ovren? £20m always seemed a touch on the expensive side, but I wasn't expecting him to be quite such a waste of money

stevenjameshyde
F365's Top Ten Surprise Strugglers

H

alf of our players have the physical presence of a 14 year old girl. I don't know why people are always shocked that they're injured.

TheWhiz
Wenger baffled by injuries

Footer 365

Premier League: Sunderland boss Gus Poyet delighted Lee Cattermole stayed at club

Gus Poyet believes keeping Lee Cattermole was the best transfer decision he has made while at Sunderland.

Manchester United news: Rio Ferdinand says he has nothing against 'gentleman' David Moyes

Rio Ferdinand says David Moyes is a "great man" and would welcome a chat with the former Manchester United manager.

Championship: Gianfranco Zola has emerged as favourite for the vacant job at Fulham

Gianfranco Zola has emerged as a leading contender for the vacant manager’s position at Fulham, according to Sky Bet’s odds.

Mail Box

It Was Better When City Were Rubbish

'I think I preferred it when we were s**t' says one City fan in the afternoon mailbox. There's a decent chat about the empty seats plus views on Liverpool and Roma...

Do City Really Need To Expand Their Stadium?

That's the question posed by one Man United fan in the mailbox after seeing the empty seats at the Etihad last night. Sadly, there isn't a single mail from a City supporter...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property