English Premiership

Zabaleta accepts City's fate

2015-04-13 21:29
Pablo Zabaleta (Getty Images)

London - Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta has conceded the struggling English champions face a battle just to finish fourth in this season's Premier League.

City's hopes of a successful title defence had all but evaporated before Sunday's derby and a 4-2 defeat by Manchester United left Manuel Pellegrini's men 12 points behind leaders Chelsea, who have a match in hand, with just six games left to play.

But a sixth defeat in eight games in all competitions left them in fourth place and knowing they cannot afford to slip any lower if they are to play in next season's Champions League.

And if City's slump continues it's still possible for the likes of Southampton and Liverpool to overhaul them before the end of the season.

Yet New Year's Day saw City draw level on points with Chelsea at the summit after a 3-2 win over Sunderland.

"It is time to analyse what we are doing wrong and try to improve for the next few games," Zabaleta told reporters after the derby defeat.

"There are still 18 points to play for and we must be honest with ourselves and start to push hard, play better and win games, so we can get in the top four.

"When you lose those games it is always really hard, but that is football sometimes. Football is about momentum.

"It seems you lose confidence when you cannot get results and it was a really tough afternoon."

City made a fine start to their bid for a fifth successive derby win when Sergio Aguero put them 1-0 up in just the eighth minute.

But it did not take long for United to equalise through Ashley Young and Louis van Gaal's men pulled away through goals from Marouane Fellaini, Juan Mata and Chris Smalling secured a convincing win before Aguero's 100th City goal reduced the deficit late on.

"It seems we lost confidence and were nervous," said Zabaleta. "Then it was hard for the team to react and we conceded the second goal.

"In the second half we didn't create many chances and when United scored the third goal the game was over."

Meanwhile City winger Jesus Navas was equally bemused by the way the team were undone by United.

"I don't really know (what happened)," the Spaniard said. "They scored the equaliser and they were back in the game. We started strong but it wasn't our day and we need to focus on the upcoming games.

"It's Champions League (qualification at stake) so we have to fight until the end to be in the top four."


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Tuesday, 12 December 2017
Burnley v Stoke City, Turf Moor 21:45
Crystal Palace v Watford, Selhurst Park 22:00
Huddersfield Town v Chelsea, The John Smith's Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 13 December 2017
Swansea City v Manchester City, Liberty Stadium 21:45
Newcastle United v Everton, St. James' Park 21:45
Southampton v Leicester City, St. Mary's Stadium 21:45
Liverpool v West Bromwich Albion, Anfield 22:00
West Ham United v Arsenal, London Stadium 22:00
Manchester United v AFC Bournemouth, Old Trafford 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton & Hove Albion, Wembley Stadium 22:00
Saturday, 16 December 2017
Leicester City v Crystal Palace, King Power Stadium 14:30
Stoke City v West Ham United, Bet365 Stadium 17:00
Arsenal v Newcastle United, Emirates Stadium 17:00
Chelsea v Southampton, Stamford Bridge 17:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Burnley, The American Express Community Stadium 17:00
Watford v Huddersfield Town, Vicarage Road Stadium 17:00
Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur, Etihad Stadium 19:30
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2017/18 season?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.