Pellegrini is no soft touch, insists Pablo Zabaleta

The Manchester City defender insists his manager is more fierce than he appears, and he also defended his teammates.

Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta has denied reports that manager Manuel Pellegrini is a soft touch, reports the Mirror.

The Chilean manager is well known for his calm nature and lack of confrontational attitude, a far cry from former manager Roberto Mancini.

That holistic approach was seen as the perfect antidote to Italian Mancini’s fiery style, and it has so far proved a shrewd appointment as he won the Premier League title in his first season and successfully got the side out of the Champions League group stages.

However, with City now seven points behind league leaders Chelsea, questions have been raised about whether the Chilean has allowed his players to slip into a comfort zone. Zabaleta though, doesn’t agree with that opinion.

“What you see in public isn’t the whole story with the manager,” said Zabaleta.

“So people see a very calm person – and that is one of the big qualities he has – but I can also tell you there are times when he shouts and really loses his temper.”

The Argentine defender has also jumped to the defence of City’s squad, who have similarly come in for criticism across the season.

A recent 4-1 routing of Stoke at the Britannia saw them bring an end to a run of five games without a win, which included being knocked out of the FA Cup by Middlesbrough, and allowing Chelsea to go seven points clear at the top of table.

Despite that, Zabaleta feels his side should be given more credit than they currently get, given the fact they’ve won the Premier League twice in the last three seasons.

“We showed in 2012 and again last season that it is wrong to think that the title is won before it is won,” he added.

“I don't think anyone should really ­question our character and our mentality. Chelsea have been in great form this season. They have been more consistent than us but we're not going to give up in February when there are still 13 games to play.”

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