Pablo Zabaleta: Derby win is ‘vital’

Pablo Zabaleta Manchester City defender

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Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta believes that picking up a victory against rivals Manchester United on Sunday was key to keeping within touching distance of Chelsea.

United were reduced to 10 men in the first half of the tie at the Etihad Stadium after Chris Smalling was shown two yellow cards by Michael Oliver.

City took advantage of the extra man in the second half and Sergio Aguero’s great start to the season continued as he bagged the winner midway through the second period.

The victory for Manuel Pellegrini’s side ended a run of three games without a win in all competitions and Zabaleta hopes it can be a turning point in their season.

The defending champions currently sit third in the Premier League table and six points behind leader Chelsea with 10 games gone.

Zabaleta said: “In the last three games we have not performed well enough.

“Today was a huge game to win to get confidence back and because we can’t drop any more points on Chelsea.

“We know how much it means for the fans, for everyone at the club and especially for the players.

“We have a very strong squad and great players and now we have to think about the Champions League on Wednesday.

“Winning today has got our confidence back.”

Pellegrini’s men, who are priced at 21.00 to win the Champions League, will now turn their attention back to the European competition as they look to try and get their campaign back on track with a much needed victory over CSKA Moscow on Wednesday.

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