Sport

‘We are under pressure’: Pablo Zabaleta desperate for dogged Manchester City to hunt rivals United in title chase

By Dean Wilkins

Despite focussing on each game as it comes, Pablo Zabaleta admits that Manchester City are already feeling the pressure of defending their Premier League title – with just less than half the season left.

City strolled to a 3-0 victory over tricky Stoke City yesterday and kept their hunt on league leaders Manchester United – despite suffering two defeats in December.

And the Argentinian rightback insists that the team must keep plucking away, without fault.

“The most important thing is always the performance of the team,” said Zabaleta, who scored the Blues’ first yesterday.

“We played a great game, we had a lot of chances, defensively we were very solid and it’s another clean sheet.

“It’s a good three points to carry on and we know that we are under pressure because we need to win every game.

“We know we are seven points behind United so it’s going to be very tough, but keeping positive and keeping working is the key to catching United.”

After surrendering their two-year unbeaten home record to rivals United – with a dramatic 3-2 derby day loss in early December – Roberto Mancini’s men were then condemned to another defeat at the Stadium of Light courtesy of Sunderland.

Zabaleta, who moved to the Etihad Stadium in 2008, has been one of the champions’ stand out players this campaign – but his efforts are still focussed on helping the team.

“You feel great when people give you credit but I always try to put the team before me,” he said.

“Football is not about individual players – it’s about the collective. I’m very pleased for the lads.

“We did great yesterday and it’s great when you see everyone play well.”

As Zabaleta rallied his teammates to step up their chase of United, rival manager Sir Alex Ferguson called on his players to not let their lead slip through their fingers and hand City back-to-back titles.

Picture courtesy of Wiki Commons, with thanks

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