English Premiership

Zabaleta urges City to harness Wembley momentum

2016-03-01 12:34
Pablo Zabaleta (Supplied)

Cape Town - Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta believes that his team's Wembley success in the League Cup final against Liverpool can spur them onto further silverware at home and abroad.

Manuel Pellegrini's team face Liverpool again in the Premier League on Wednesday, just three days after beating them 3-1 in a penalty shootout in the cup final, following a 1-1 stalemate at the end of extra time.

City have nine points to make up on surprise league leaders Leicester City and are also still very much alive in the Champions League, following an impressive 3-1 last 16 first-leg away victory at Dynamo Kiev.

Zabaleta believes winning the League Cup, for the second time in three years, will inspire them to additional success.

"We know that it's another competition, another cup is gone, now we have time enough to be focused on the Premier League and the Champions League," the Argentine right-back said.

"We know how important it is now to recover all the players and most of them be fit for that period because we have a lot of big games coming up now until the end.

"We need to try to win on Wednesday and get back on track again. There are still 36 points to play for in the Premier League, which is a lot of games.

"We were in this situation before a few years ago even when we won the league that we were about eight points behind the leaders and we still have a game in hand.

"It's time now to focus on the Premier League and try to win on Wednesday."

On a dramatic weekend in the Premier League, Arsenal's 3-2 loss at Manchester United was a boost for City, but Zabaleta says that his team must only focus on the trip to Liverpool as defeat could spell disaster.

'WE CAN BEAT EVERYONE'

"Well, of course, if we don't win on Wednesday it will be tough because we will miss a great chance to try to reduce the gap between the leader and us," he said.

"We are Manchester City, we have talent and big players to try to recover those points that probably we lost against Leicester and Spurs. They won their games this weekend. They are two good teams.

"We cannot forget Arsenal. Everything is very tight at the top of the table. It just depends on us."

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson admits there is a collective and personal responsibility for him to lift his teammates after the disappointment of defeat at Wembley.

And the England midfielder pointed to the experience of the 2011-12 season, when Liverpool lost the FA Cup final to Chelsea but bounced back to beat the same opponents three days later in the league, as inspiration.

"You have to try and take positives from it and learn from these experiences," he said.

"There is still a lot to play for. In the league we have to try and finish as high as we can and there is the Europa League. We have to focus on what we can do this season and finish it well.

"Of course I will take the responsibility, but as a team we've great character and personality. You saw that on the pitch, so there won't be a problem moving forward.

"I feel when we play to the level we are capable of, we can beat everyone. We left everything on the field (against City). We have to do the same until the end of the season and there could be still success for us.

"It is hard. It is difficult. But that is life and football and you have to deal with it as best you can. I've been in this situation before. We beat Chelsea 4-1 after the FA Cup final. We need to respond the same way."

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