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Top four our goal, says Zabaleta

Pablo Zabaleta

Pablo Zabaleta

Pablo Zabaleta knows City's FA Cup exit at Stoke was painful, but the Argentine defender says the Blues will make a positive out of a negative by re-doubling their efforts to finish fourth in the Premier League.

Though City were largely the better team during normal time at the Britannia Stadium, the Potters took full advantage of Emmanuel Adebayor’s dismissal to triumph in extra time.

“We are disappointed because we all know what the FA Cup means to our fans,” said Zabaleta. “We played a different style at Stoke to the one we play at home because they are a tough, physical side on their own ground, but I thought we played well.

“We had the chances to win but it wasn’t to be. We will go into the Chelsea match in good spirits and won’t have any problems lifting ourselves for this game. We also know we’ll have to be at our best if we are to leave with a draw or better.

The challenge this Saturday will be very different to the one Stoke posed because Chelsea have a lot more quality throughout the team

...Pablo Zabaleta


With fellow Argentine Carlos Tevez likely to return against Carlo Ancelotti’s side, Zabaleta reckons his return should give the Blues a huge shot in the arm.

“We are hoping everything is OK for Carlos and that he can play this weekend because we’ve missed him a lot,” he said.

“He’s a very important player for us and was in terrific form before he had to go back to Argentina. If he is back and plays, it will give everyone a massive lift.

“Make no mistake - this is a game we can win. We’re out of the cups now and we need to get our heads up and concentrate on the league because there is nothing else to distract us between now and the end of the season.

“The competition for fourth is fierce and, at the moment, it’s between ourselves, Tottenham, Liverpool and Aston Villa. They are all still involved in various cup competitions and we have to use that to our advantage.”

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Match Report

Stoke v City

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Roberto Mancini

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