Premier League: Pablo Zabaleta says Manchester City ready for Crystal Palace
Pablo Zabaleta insists Manchester City, who face Palace on Saturday, always play to win regardless of the opposition.
Last Updated: 01/01/14 3:14pm
City maintained their 100% winning record at home this season with a 2-1 win over Liverpool on Boxing Day to elevate them to second in the Premier League ahead of this weekend.
They entertain Crystal Palace on Saturday and Zabaleta insists City have no intention of relenting as they attempt to take top spot in the league with Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool all in action on Sunday.
"Whoever we play, we play to win, it doesn't matter who we have got in front of us," Zabaleta said. "We feel good and always want to show to the other teams that at the Etihad we are a very strong side.
"For the other teams it's hard to come here and get points and this is good for us. We have to keep working hard and keep very focused on what we are doing.
"It doesn't matter if we are playing home or away, we need to keep playing with the same intensity and I think when we play in our best form, we can beat anyone.
"We are in a good way for the title, one point behind the leaders. There's still a long way to go and we cannot relax.
"We have to play against the best teams in away games so it's going to be very tough. But we always play to win games."
Zabaleta returned to the starting line-up in for the game against Liverpool after missing last weekend's trip to Fulham with a hamstring injury sustained during Capital One Cup quarter-final win at Leicester.
The 28-year-old acknowledged it was a risk to make a comeback so soon after the injury but insisted it was vitally important in light of the lack of available cover at right-back.
"It was huge risk to play because normally a small grade-one tear takes two weeks to recover and I played eight days after getting injured," Zabaleta said.
"It was a hard decision for the manager but as a player you always want to play and against the big teams.
"It was important for me to play against Liverpool and we didn't have a right-back in the team with Micah also injured."