Zabaleta admits Manchester City squad fears

Manchester City defender admits everyone is playing for their future ahead of management change at the club.

Pablo Zabaleta admits he expects Pep Guardiola's arrival at Manchester City to trigger a squad upheaval in the summer.

City confirmed last week that Pep Guardiola would replace Manuel Pellegrini in the summer when his contract at Bayern Munich expires.

The timing of the announcement has come in for criticism during such a crucial stage of the season with City fighing for honours on four fronts.

As expected, City have been linked with a host of new players for when Guardiola takes charge at the Etihad and Argentine defender Zabaleta admits the players are unsure of their long-term futures.

“We suspect changes but it’s normal," Zabaleta told the Guardian "Now is not the right time to talk about the future because there’s a lot of time for this. We just need to be 100% focused on the next games. We need to deal with it."

Zabaleta also praised Pellegrini insisting the whole squad remain behind the Chilean and that they want to finish the season on a high for the departing manager

“The club decided to announced this now; after so many rumours we really understand this," added Zabaleta. "Now it’s just time to finish in the best way we can do this season. We are all behind Manuel Pellegrini.

"He’s been great for this football club, so he’s to continue in the way he has done for the last few years. Nothing changes for him and then we’ll see at the end of the season with the new manager coming in.”

City missed the chance to go top of the table on Saturday with Leicester stretching their lead at the summit to six points with a comprehensive 3-1 win at the Etihad.

Zabaleta admits the defeat is a major blow to City's title hopes, but is refusing to give up on the race for the championship having come from behind to win the title twice in the last three years.

“Obviously, we are disappointed with the result. We must give credit to Leicester, I think they were a really solid team, they deserve the three points," noted Zabaleta.

"So nothing to say about that game, it’s just they took their chances, they scored two early goals in both times and it was difficult to score goals. They are a team that defend really well, they are very solid at the back, they don’t give too much space and then they are very fast on the counterattack. They took their chances and they won the game.

“We are six points behind – obviously, it was a crucial game to try to get three points and be on top of the league but there’s still a long way to go.

"In this league you cannot give up so early, we need to keep working hard and just try to be back in our best form to win the games.

"We have the Champions League coming up as well, so we need to reach again our best form and, obviously, you need your best players playing their best football.”

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