Etihad Stadium

Next Game

Man City v Man Utd

Sunday, 02 November 2014, 13:30

Barclays Prem

Etihad Stadium

Last Game

Man City 0 - 2 Newcastle

Wednesday, 29 October 2014, 19:45

Capital One Cup Fourth Round

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

More of the games that matter

Watch Manchester City v Manchester United live only on Sky Sports this Super Sunday. Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

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."

TEAMtalk Facebook Fan Page

The TEAMtalk fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

C

an we release him in January?

dhirt11
Gerrard: I would leave Anfield

E

xcellent! Not sure if he is any good as a manager (never thought about it) but the 'headbutt in the technical area' and what he said to Pelligrini were just brilliant, it was as if he was trying to recreate the end of the Alan Partridge Xmas special when Alan punched a man in a wheelchair and verbally abused Tony Heirs.

beachend
Football Managers On TV: Alan Pardew

I

think you spelt Inter Milan wrong in your headline.

quoasis
Ince joins Forest on loan

Footer 365

Manchester United in talks with AC Milan over January friendly

Manchester United are in talks with AC Milan about playing a friendly in the new year.

Steven Gerrard says Daniel Sturridge is the best English striker

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard believes Daniel Sturridge is the best English striker he has played alongside.

European football: La Liga battle hots up as Real close on Barca after El Clasico win

The dust might be settling after El Clasico, but there’s plenty more drama in store in La Liga, writes David Garrido.

Mail Box

Is Ancelotti A Better Boss Than Mourinho?

That's one shout in the mailbox, although not as controversial as the mail imploring Jose Mourinho to sign Steven Gerrard in January so he can win the title he deserves...

'Pride' Didn't Stop Wenger Signing Flamini

Arsene Wenger's 'pride' in signings is quite rightly pulled apart. We also have a stupidly long email on going back, and one Mailboxer whooping about the FA Cup first round...

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