Stu­art Bren­nan

Salford Advertiser - - CITY LIFE LOCAL -

PABLO Za­baleta has blasted back at the City snipers who have branded their sea­son a “dis­as­ter”.

And the iconic Blues de­fender has leapt to the de­fence of manager Manuel Pel­le­grini, who he says de­serves more re­spect for what he has achieved with the Blues.

The Ar­gen­tine ace was not try­ing to sweep a dis­ap­point­ing sea­son un­der the car­pet, but says the re­ac­tion to one tro­phy-less sea­son is ridicu­lous.

“We must be hon­est with our­selves and recog­nise that it was not our best sea­son but some­times foot­ball is like that,” said Za­baleta.

“You look at Liver­pool, Ar­se­nal, they are also some of the great­est teams and they’ve not won that many tro­phies in the last few years.

“But at City it seems one dis­ap­point­ing sea­son is like a dis­as­ter. Maybe it’s be­cause we’ve won the Pre­mier League twice, the FA Cup, the Cap­i­tal One.

“Now it seems like be­cause we have not won some­thing it’s a dis­as­ter and we have to change seven or eight play­ers and the manager – that’s what peo­ple say.”

City are well placed to fin­ish sec­ond in the league be­hind cham­pi­ons-elect Chelsea, with ri­vals United and Ar­se­nal still to play each other and the Blues yet to face trips to Spurs and Swansea and home games against QPR and Southamp­ton.

But the fact that they have won noth­ing has brought in­tense spec­u­la­tion about Pel­le­grini’s po­si­tion, hark­ing back to Roberto Mancini’s fi­nal sea­son.

Mancini at least reached an FA Cup fi­nal, but one ma­jor dif­fer­ence be­tween him and Pel­le­grini is the fact that the Ital­ian had some se­ri­ous and in­flu­en­tial enemies, both within the dress­ing room and the hi­er­ar­chy of the club.

Mancini was sacked be­cause his bosses de­cided the foot­ball had be­come stale and pre­dictable – which has been the case for Pel­le­grini as well – but the un­der­ly­ing cur­rent of dishar­mony in the camp, which is not the case at the mo­ment, un­doubt­edly in­flu­enced the de­ci­sion.

Doubts over the fu­ture of Pel­le­grini are dragged out when­ever the team loses - and some­times when they win, as hap­pened on Satur­day!

Za­baleta said: “The manager de­serves more re­spect from ev­ery­one. He came last sea­son, he won the league and the Cap­i­tal One. We can­not blame just the manager for this mo­ment.

“In­di­vid­ual play­ers have not been great in the whole sea­son. Ev­ery­one is re­spon­si­ble - when you don’t win ti­tles it can be a lit­tle bit frus­trat­ing for ev­ery­one.

“But lis­ten, we have to wait un­til the end of the sea­son. Now is not the time to be think­ing about what went wrong, it’s the time to fin­ish as well as we can. Then we’ll see what hap­pens.”

Pablo Za­baleta feels Manuel Pel­le­grini de­serves more re­spect for win­ning the league and Cap­i­tal One Cup last sea­son

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