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'Incredible' Sane and Sterling impress Zabaleta

CELEBRATION: Sane celebrates the equaliser with Raheem Sterling and Gael Clichy.

CELEBRATION: Sane celebrates the equaliser with Raheem Sterling and Gael Clichy.

Pablo Zabaleta expressed his delight at Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling’s wing play after Manchester City’s 5-1 FA Cup win over Huddersfield Town.

The young duo’s pace and trickery ensured they were a constant thorn in the Terriers’ side and experienced Argentinian Zabaleta believes there is a strong understanding between the two.

Raheem and Leroy have been playing so well recently,” said Zabaleta.

“They provide width to the team and they’ve got pace. It’s incredible how one is crossing and the other one is arriving to the back post.”

The two combined for City’s equaliser – Sterling delivering a tantalising ball across the face of goal and the German duly obliged with the finishing touch.

For the Argentine – who netted the third - it was a turning point in the match and the direct nature of the players on either side of Sergio Aguero is vital to the Blues’ approach.

“Maybe the first 15 minutes we gave the ball away so cheaply and maybe our play was a little bit sloppy”, he added.

“But then once we equalised and then scored the second goal I think we were a different team and we looked very dangerous going forward.

“This is what we need. They [Sane and Sterling] are really good players and they are so important for the team especially in the way we play, so I hope they can continue until the end of the season.”

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The win set up a sixth round tie away at fellow Premier League outfit Middlesbrough and as Pep Guardiola’s men approach the business end of the competition, Zaba admits he has eye on adding a second FA Cup medal to his collection.

“We know how important the FA Cup is,” explained the 2011 winner.

“Of course, every single trophy for us is important. We are just working hard to win something and it’s one of the things we are looking for.

“It’s job done and we just switch off a little bit about the FA Cup and just think about the Premier League and Sunderland, but of course in that competition we want to go to Wembley again.”

A consequence of fighting for silverware on three fronts, is, of course, a congested fixture schedule, with City now set to play five games over 14 days, including a crucial Champions League tie at Monaco.

With such experience Zabaleta knows keeping players fit and firing will be key to the team’s success and has urged his colleagues to remain focused as they look to continue their journey in both domestic and European cups.

“We’ve got a lot of games coming up now and we know how important and hard those games will be next week.

“We are playing well at the moment. I hope we can continue and keep that momentum going."

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