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Zabaleta excited for different Leicester challenge

BATTLE: Pablo Zabaleta is watched very closely

BATTLE: Pablo Zabaleta is watched very closely

Pablo Zabaleta says he is enjoying coming up against the contrasting styles of Manchester City’s opponents.

After a 1-1 draw with Celtic on Tuesday night, City travel to Premier League champions Leicester City on Saturday and Zabaleta expects it to be a very different game.

City fell behind to Brendan Rodgers’ side after Patrick Roberts’ goal before Kelechi Iheanacho equalised only minutes later.

The Scottish champions completed a high number of passes whereas Leicester are widely known for their more direct approach. That difference between the two sides is something that motivates Zabaleta.

He said: “In modern day football every team try to play more with the ball with talented players, not so direct, and this makes football more competitive.

“I think every way of playing is good but it’s important to work on one specific way. In the Premier League you may find teams who play more long balls, more directly… but there are also young managers with their own philosophy.”

The Argentinian spoke after the draw with Celtic where he was deployed in a central midfield role as opposed to his usual right-back berth.

With qualification from Group C already ensured, Pep Guardiola took the opportunity to introduce youngsters such as Pablo Maffeo and Tosin Adarabioyo and Zabaleta insists he is more than happy to fill in wherever he is needed.

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He said: “The manager wanted to give minutes to players who hadn’t featured in recent games and we also missed some midfielders so I had to do that job. It went very well, I’m happy. You always have to do what the manager asks.

“I try to be able to play whenever the manager needs me and I have to do the job and I always try to give my best.

“I feel fine, we are a big squad and the manager is making changes in different games and it’s important to be ready at any given moment.”

After falling behind, City equalised quickly and spent much of the game on the attack despite not being able to force a winner.

“We may have started the game a bit sleepy and they scored very soon but we reacted well and scored just a few minutes after they did and that calmed us,” said Zabaleta.

“We kept playing well and creating chances. The second half was a box-to-box kind of game and they also are a good side so they got their chances too, so I think it was a fair result.”

There will be full coverage of City’s trip to Premier League champions Leicester City on mancity.com!

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