Derby win hugely important for Man City says Zabaleta

Defender Pablo Zabaleta has hailed Manchester City’s derby win over fierce rivals Manchester United as vital for their title aspirations, the BBC is reporting.

City overcame their neighbours 1-0 with another Segio Aguero goal after dominating large periods of the game – especially thanks to Chris Smalling’s late first half red card – with the win bridging the gap to leaders Chelsea at six points.

The victory was the club’s first in four games after a slump saw them lose at West Ham and drop yet more Champions League points at CSKA Moscow.

Any win over United is incredibly important to players and fans alike, but Zabaleta believes the three points have gone a long way in keeping them in the early hunt for this year’s title.

He 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.

“That’s the game everybody wants to win. We will let our fans enjoy it but we need to keep our feet on the ground and I think we can still improve.

“Winning today has got our confidence back.”

It was also their first clean sheet in five long games and serves as good preparation for their crunch clash with CSKA midweek.

Their Champions League hopes hang in the balance, sitting third in Group E with just two points – two behind Roma and seven behind runaway leaders Bayern Munich.

If City fail to beat their Russian opponents it could spell the realistic end of their qualification hopes.

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