Assistant manager David Platt was thrilled to see Manchester City brush Stoke City aside at the Britannia Stadium in the FA Cup fourth round.
Ryan Shawcross’ tap-in was ruled out for offside on the half-hour mark and City captain Vincent Kompany went off injured shortly before the break.
But Pablo Zabaleta – returning from injury – won it for the visitors five minutes from time, bursting into the box to steer home a loose ball.
Platt said: “Everyone knows this is a tough place to come at the best of times so we have to be happy.
“Our defenders were excellent today and did exactly what you need to do when facing the aerial threat Stoke pose.
“On that score, we’re very happy to leave here with a clean sheet.”
Zabaleta has been in top form this season – he recently picked up the club’s player of the month award for December.
And the Argentinean full back has found a goal scoring touch this campaign, bagging his third of the season today.
“It wasn’t strange to see Pablo Zabaleta in that area,” said Platt.
“He often supports the attack and we encourage our full-backs to get forward when they can.”
Zabaleta himself was delighted to bag the winner and, more importantly, send City into the fifth round of the competition.
“Three goals this season is not bad for a full-back,” he said.
“But it’s a massive win on a tough pitch and it’s difficult to win here.”
City travel south to face QPR in the Premier League on Tuesday, before hosting Liverpool next weekend.
Image courtesy of Manchester City, via YouTube, with thanks.