Etihad Stadium

Next Game

Man City v Leicester

Wednesday, 04 March 2015, 19:45

Barclays Prem

Anfield

Last Game

Liverpool 2 - 1 Man City

Sunday, 01 March 2015, 12:00

Barclays Prem

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

d like to add players who push their team-mates out of the way to celebrate on their own

exhausted
The Ten Most Hated Things In Football

I

f I were Manuel Pellegrini I would keep quiet and hope the Board didn't notice City not winning anything. If he isn't sacked I'd be astonished.

lfcfan80
Pellegrini: I won't be sacked

S

till I suppose it still gives him at least another year in the job. By the time it comes around , he can always make up another excuse. First it was 3 months , then a year .....Next year ? Whats his excuse with Van Persie ?

spud1
Di Maria 'could peak next year'

Footer 365

Neville 'concerned' over Reds form

Gary Neville has admitted that he is "concerned" that a resurgent Liverpool could qualify for the Champions League ahead of Manchester United.

Boro claim top spot as Derby lose

Middlesbrough became the new Championship leaders as they took advantage of Derby's latest slip by beating Millwall 3-0.

Aston Villa 2-1 West Brom: Benteke's late show helps end Villa's long wait for a win

Tim Sherwood recorded his first win as Aston Villa boss as Christian Benteke's late penalty helped beat West Brom 2-1.

Mail Box

United's No 2 Isn't That Bad Either...

One mailboxer is getting in a flap about the claim Man Utd would struggle without De Dea, while there's some anger directed at Chelsea...

There Are Mitigating Circumstances For LVG

One Mailboxer is admant there are mitigating circumstances to LVG's struggles at Manchester Utd and he offers his four signings for next season...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company