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Zabaleta backs City for the title

RETURN: Pablo Zabaleta spoke after returning to the Etihad when West Ham faced City.

RETURN: Pablo Zabaleta spoke after returning to the Etihad when West Ham faced City.

Pablo Zabaleta has backed Manchester City to win the Premier League title this season.

The Blues legend returned to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday with West Ham as a late David Silva goal secured City’s 20th-consecutive win in all competitions.

The result means City re-established an eight-point lead over second-placed Manchester United in the Premier League table and made it a remarkable 28 games unbeaten in a run stretching back into last season.

And Zabaleta, who spent nine successful years at City before leaving in the summer to join the Hammers, says he wants his former side to go on and lift the title.

“There's still a long way to go,” he said. “The gap between them and the rest is big at the moment, but the Premier League is hard and hopefully they are big contenders for the title.

“I hope they win it.

“They are doing great and have a great team. I am so pleased to see them playing that well.

“Teams come to the Etihad now and defend so deep to try to frustrate, but I wish them all the best and hope they can win a lot of trophies at the end of the season.”

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Zabaleta was afforded a hero’s welcome on his first return to the Etihad since bringing the curtain on his City career.

He won two league titles, an FA Cup and two League Cups during his nine-year spell at City, forging a reputation as one of Europe’s finest right-backs in the process.

And he says it was a pleasure to come back and play at the Etihad again.

“It was really good, really nice to be back in front of the City fans,” he said. “I have seen the lads, the staff and everyone.

“Of course, I was a little upset because I thought we did great and were so close to getting at least one point.

“We showed much better discipline as a team and now we need to move on.”

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