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Man City vs Man UTD: Wounded Devils must be stopped from midfield, says Zabaleta

January 8, 2012 By Angela Asante
Manchester City’s defense of their FA Cup title will commence on Sunday afternoon against Sir Alex Ferguson’s wounded and furious Red Devils.
As both sides face the possibility of crashing out in the Third Round, the battle at the Etihad Stadium promises to look like a final. Argentine defender Pablo Zabaleta is anticipating the challenge. In an exclusive interview with, the Manchester City man analyzed the game.

“They [Manchester United] will have the 1-6 at Old Trafford very fresh in their minds and they will want to get their own back. But the situation this time is different and now they are the ones who will be playing under more pressure,” he said.

“We have to make our home advantage count and our stadium needs to become a fortress. That is how successes and titles are obtained.”

Zabaleta then joined his voice to Joe Hart’s call for total focus. Like the goalkeeper, Pablo Zabaleta reminded that Manchester City’s 6-1 battering of the Red Devils is now in the past.

“The key for Sunday's game is to forget the 1-6 in the league and think of this as a final in which only winning will do, even if it is only the first round of the cup we play.”

Reflecting on the fact that the Red Devils are yet to win a game since New Year’s Eve, Zabelata continued:

“Manchester United's morale must be damaged after two league defeats in a row, but that's a double-edged sword because they will give everything from the start. We expect a hard and intense match.”

So how will the Citizens have to approach Ferguson’s men in Sunday’s FA Cup match? Pablo Zabaleta revealed what he thinks is the trick. Concluding on this matter, the stated:

“Rooney is important for United and we saw that with his great goal last season, but our mission is [to] stop their midfield from functioning comfortably. That's where the battle will be won and lost this Sunday.”

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