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Zabaleta: We deserved to go through

ZABMAN: Pablo Zabaleta is looking forward to another trip to Wembley with City

ZABMAN: Pablo Zabaleta is looking forward to another trip to Wembley with City

Pablo Zabaleta hailed Man City’s creative spark in the FA Cup quarter-final triumph over Middlesbrough.

Goals from David Silva and Sergio Aguero booked the Blues’ place in the semi-finals at Wembley, although the scoreline could – and probably should – have been more flattering.

Zabaleta acknowledged Pep Guardiola’s men were well worthy of their win, crediting an impressive collective effort from the team.

“It’s never easy,” he reflected. “This is a tough place to come and get a result, we know that.

“They are a very physical team and we know they are really dangerous with crosses but we were really solid at the back and we looked very dangerous going forward.

“We should have scored a few more goals. We created a lot of chances but overall we were the better team and we deserved to go through.

Read... Pep Guardiola: When you defend well, you attack well

“We know we are a team that doesn’t have a lot of physical presence. We have players who feel better with the ball at their feet and we try to play good football.

“You also have to be ready for those games where the back four have to defend those crosses and long balls, being strong and winning duels. This is what you need.

“We have so much talent upfront to create chances and score goals.”

Leroy Sane – influential once again – echoed his captain’s sentiments.

“We had a lot of chances to score a goal. I had three, David had a lot and so did Raheem Sterling.

“If we score, it’s easier for us to play the game.”

The German winger provided the perfect delivery for Aguero to bag his 24th goal of the season and spoke of his admiration for the striker.

He declared: “He’s a great player – a big player – and it’s a lot of fun to play with him.”

First Team News

Boro v Man City: Team news and tactics

START: Raheem Sterling

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola made five changes to his line-up for the FA Cup quarter-final clash with Middlesbrough at the Riverside.

David Silva, Raheem Sterling, John Stones, Pablo Zabaleta and goalkeeper Claudio Bravo returned to the starting XI as the Blues aim to book a place at Wembley.

What the Media Says

Leroy Sane on the FA Cup and teasing ‘uncle’ Yaya

AWWYEAH: Yaya Toure is mobbed by Leroy Sane, and flashes a cheeky smile to the City fans!

Leroy Sane is quickly becoming a fans’ favourite at Man City, and he’s hit the headlines again.

The German winger is in red-hot form for the Blues and in an interview with BBC’s Football Focus, he’s been discussing how he has settled in – and his teasing of Yaya Toure!

First Team News

Middlesbrough v Man City: Talking points

DETERMINED: Aguero fires an effort at goal but he can't beat Valdes

A Wembley appearance is the prize for the victor when Manchester City face Middlesbrough in Saturday's FA Cup quarter-final, but what subplots are also on the pre-match agenda?

Raheem Sterling, stubborn Boro and new competition rule all feature in our considerations.