Pablo Zabaleta could be in line for his first start of the season against Newcastle on Saturday.
Fans’ favourite Zabaleta came on for the last few minutes of City’s 2-1 win over Borussia Monchengladbach in midweek after a six-week lay-off and will hope to get the nod against the Magpies.
Zaba admits he thought Newcastle would have been coming into this game in a loftier position than they currently are, particularly after their brush with relegation last season.
“I’m very surprised to see Newcastle where they are because of the experience they had towards the end of last season,” he said. “After that situation, you expect to bring in new players - which has happened - but the results haven’t been good so far, though there was a definite improvement against Chelsea last weekend.
“It’s not my club, but for me it is a real shame to see them in that situation. Newcastle is a club that has a fantastic stadium and great supporters who fill their ground every week. St James’ Park is a place I love to play at and probably the away ground I look forward to playing at the most each season.
That’s why I am disappointed to see them near the bottom and in my opinion, they should be doing a lot better
They went down the first season I came to England but came back up again under Alan Pardew and have done OK since, but they have a new coach now and there is a long way to go so there is time for them to improve and climb the table.
“It doesn’t change me wanting to beat them on Saturday, though. We need a good result ourselves and we have to start winning games again and need to build on our win over Borussia.”
Zabaleta also revealed he keeps in touch with Magpies skipper Fabricio Coloccini who he played alongside for Argentina Under-20s.
“I speak to Fabricio on the phone sometimes and Jonas Gutierrez as well because we were all in the national side together and we know each other well.
“He is the captain and has been at Newcastle as long as I have been at City and he is taking responsibility for the situation because he is the captain and believes it is the right thing to do, but I wish him only good things and hope everything turns out well for him.”