This is not the final: Pablo Zabaleta calls for Manchester City to focus ahead of Chelsea FA Cup clash

By Paddy von Behr

Victory in Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final with Chelsea will not put one hand on the trophy for Manchester City, warns defender Pablo Zabaleta.

The other semi sees Millwall take on Wigan and the Argentine’s teammate Gareth Barry yesterday claimed this weekend feels ‘more like a final’.

But Zabaleta disagrees with the England midfielder and insists on taking each game as it comes in the hunt for silverware.

“We need to think about Chelsea and not beyond this match at the moment,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter that Wigan and Millwall aren’t considered top teams. In one game, anything can happen and it would all be about who plays the best.

“Our total focus right now is Chelsea who we know will be a very tough opponent.

“But we are in a good moment form-wise and if we play at our best we will have a great chance.”

City find themselves in a similar position to 2011, when they faced Manchester United in an FA Cup semi-final.

Bolton and Stoke completed the draw and the Manchester derby was billed as a final, but the Potters provided a stiff challenge in the decider.

However, Zabaleta fondly recalls the semi-final triumph at Wembley and he is hoping to repeat the feeling on Sunday.

“Wembley is a special place to play football and it gives everyone and extra motivation,” he added.

“I’m just looking forward to going back because the last time we played a semi-final there it was a fantastic occasion.

“It was an incredible game and the celebrations from our supporters is something I will never forget.

“Obviously the final whistle against Stoke was more important because we had a trophy to show at the end of it.

“We will prepare properly for Sunday and hopefully, things will go our way.”

Image courtesy of BBC, via YouTube, with thanks.

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