Club legend Zaba admitted there was little West Ham could do to stop the Blues at the London Stadium, leaving David Moyes’ side firmly in the battle to stay in the top flight.
Zabaleta had his name chanted throughout the game by the 4,000 travelling City fans and the Argentine applauded them at the end of what had been a difficult game.
“Obviously it’s always nice to see the lads,” said Pablo.
“I’m very pleased with the way they’ve been playing this season and I think they got what they deserved by being champions.
We knew there were going to be tough games on the run in. Of course, we played against the champions; against the best team in the league and it was tough.
“They are such an attacking team, they have a huge talent with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan, Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus…. they’ve been so good this season. We tried our best today, but it was not good enough.
“I have to admit they were miles better than us, no excuses. Now, we must move onto the next game. We’ve got Leicester away, three games to go until the end of the season, we are three points above the relegation zone so it’s in our hands.”
Zaba believes City have the capability to go on and dominate the Premier League and in Europe for years to come.
The two-times Premier League winner knows what it takes to be champions and he expects City to kick on again next season.
“The club has a great ambition and I’m sure they will go for a few good players in the summer to bring players in to improve the squad because they will go for the big trophies next season again,” he said.
“So, I’m sure the future for City is very bright for the coming years. Obviously, right now my focus is on West Ham and making sure we stay in this division.
“We cannot pretend that the teams below will not win a single game. But it’s still in our hands. We need to go for the three points in the next game - that’s it.
“Leicester is a team that doesn’t have anything to play for other than pride - they lost their last game heavily against Crystal Palace.
“Then we’ve got United and Everton so it’s still in our hands. We just need to forget today’s result. It’s not been good, but we need to remain positive and move into the next game believing we can get the three points.
One more win or three or four points would be enough to be safe 100%. But we cannot hope for Swansea, Southampton and Stoke to keep dropping points, we need to think about West Ham, going into the game to take three points.”
To cap a miserable day for Zaba, he was later credited with scoring the Blues’ 100th goal of the campaign as adjudicators decided it had hit him and not Declan Rice last.
It was an own goal neither player wanted, but the irony wasn’t lost on the man who spent almost a decade in sky blue.
“I scored it apparently,” he said. “I’ve been told it’s a Zabaleta own goal, so I inadvertently helped City get the record.”