Midweek Sport - - SPORT - By GRA­HAM CHASE

PABLO ZA­BALETA be­lieves Manch­ester City can win back the Pre­mier League ti­tle by be­com­ing English football’s great en­ter­tain­ers un­der new man­ager Manuel Pel­le­grini.

The Blues firmly laid down a marker with a com­pre­hen­sive 4-0 ham­mer­ing of New­cas­tle in Pel­le­grini’s first com­pet­i­tive game in charge.

Last sea­son’s ti­tle de­fence was limp, but the Eti­had is once again full of op­ti­mism af­ter their im­pres­sive open­ing to the cam­paign.

They em­ployed a high press­ing sys­tem, with new man Je­sus Navas pro­vid­ing the width in a dy­namic mid­field that con­tained an­other new face in Fer­nand­inho.

Edin Dzeko ap­peared re­vi­talised and David Silva, Yaya Toure and Ser­gio Aguero were also out­stand­ing against Alan Pardew’s side.

Pel­le­grini in­sists City will only im­prove on their fine per­for­mance against New­cas­tle.


But Ar­gentina full­back Za­baleta, 28, who signed a new four-year deal on Mon­day, is far from sur­prised at the im­pact be­ing made by the for­mer Malaga boss since he re­placed Roberto Mancini over the sum­mer.

He said: “This is the way we want to play.

“If you saw Pel­le­grini’s teams be­fore he came to City, they al­ways played this way.

“They were ag­gres­sive, al­ways try­ing to kill the ball, get into spa­ces and, above all, play to win.

“He pro­duces ag­gres­sive, at­tack­ing teams who play with a good tempo and a high in­ten­sity. We have been work­ing re­ally well in pre-sea­son.

“His com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the play­ers has been good and he has made his ideas very clear. We know the way we want to play.

“The bat­tle for the ti­tle will be in­ter­est­ing, though. We want the tro­phy back and we will try to get it back this sea­son with at­trac­tive football.”

Left-back Gael Clichy was de­lighted with the start made by Fer­nand­inho, a £30m cap­ture from Shakhtar Donetsk in the sum­mer.

Al­varo Ne­gredo came off the bench for a late cameo, while Ste­van Jovetic was kept out with a mi­nor nig­gle.

But Clichy feels the new quar­tet can take City to an­other level.

He said: “We had a great team last year and the new sign­ings are go­ing to bring some more and hope­fully we can keep go­ing.”


Za­baleta is de­lighted with City’s slick start

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