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.
“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.
“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.”