Pablo Zabaleta says the result is more important that the performance at this stage of the season.

The former City star, now at West Ham, played part of the second-half against the Blues on Wednesday evening with Sergio Aguero’s penalty settling the match.

But Zaba says three points will be all City wanted after a gruelling Carabao Cup final last Sunday.

HERO RETURNS : Pablo Zabaleta comes on to a standing ovation from the City fans
HERO RETURNS : Pablo Zabaleta comes on to a standing ovation from the City fans

“Winning is enough for them,” said Zaba.

“You can’t always expect City to win by three, four or five. It’s a period where they’ve been playing so many games and it’s very difficult, very tough. Winning is good enough.

“Sometimes people expect too much from Manchester City. It’s going to be tough, that race with Liverpool until the end. It’ll be really interesting.

“City just need to go game-by-game. They’re still in three competitions. You need to keep focused on what you’re doing. Looking at the next game is the only way to go.

“People are talking about the Quadruple but listen to Sterling and Kompany on Sunday: they said it’s only about focusing on what they’re doing game-by-game. That’s the best thing they can do.”

Zaba, who won the title twice with City, says experience could be the key in the final straight when tensions increase to uncharted levels.

He is expecting it to go to the wire, though he isn’t afraid to reveal where his loyalties life in the battle for the title.

“Everybody around Liverpool and the fans are just waiting for that Premier League medal,” he said.

“City have won it three times in the last few years. The pressure is there for Liverpool as well.

“It’s important to have won the Premier League previously because City have been in this situation before. Both times I won the league [with City], we were behind the leaders at this point. There is a long way to go.

“Some players in the dressing room now have experience of that. It’ll help for the rest of the players. They can talk to them, keep everyone focused and tell them their experiences from before.

“Not the third one last season, but the first two when City were behind United and then Liverpool. That’s going to be key.

“I hope City can keep winning games and retain the title.”