Sport Soccer

Saturday 18 November 2017

We’ll take out our frustration on Leeds, promises Man City’s Pablo Zabaleta

Man City defender Pablo Zabaleta
Man City defender Pablo Zabaleta

DEFENDER Pablo Zabaleta admits Manchester City are still reeling from last weekend's Barclays Premier League defeat by Southampton but they will use the loss as motivation to beat Leeds in the FA Cup fifth round.

City's 3-1 defeat at St Mary's left a 12-point gap between themselves and rivals Manchester United in the Premier League title race and manager Roberto Mancini's hopes of retaining the silverware fading fast.

However, Zabaleta says the spirit in the camp is still very positive, and a win over Neil Warnock's Leeds at the Etihad on Sunday would be a much-needed tonic.

"I think it was just one of those days when everything went wrong," Zabaleta said of the Southampton defeat.

"It's not an excuse, but sometimes when everyone is away for international duty in the days before it is difficult to prepare in the normal way and I think it didn't help us on this occasion.

"We will learn from this defeat and use the deflated feeling we had afterwards as an inspiration to maybe try and re-discover the sort of spirit we had last season. We need to stand together, battle and show what we are really capable of.

"We will aim and get back to winning ways at the weekend in the FA Cup and that is our immediate focus now."

Meanwhile, Leighton Baines knows Everton need to avoid the mistakes of the past if they are to avoid a potential banana skin when they face Oldham in the fifth round.

Oldham knocked out Merseyside rivals Liverpool in the previous round while the Toffees have also tasted cup defeat against the npower League One side when they were beaten 1-0 at Goodison Park in 2008.

Another FA Cup giantkilling would be a great tonic for Oldham, who are in the League One relegation zone and without a manager after Paul Dickov stepped aside a week after they dumped Liverpool out of the Cup.

"We saw what a tough game they gave to Liverpool in the last round," Baines told the club's official website.

"We played them ourselves a few seasons back and they beat us, so we know what those cup ties are all about.

"It's just about getting through. Liverpool will have been aware of what they were in for as well."

Tony Philliskirk, head of Oldham's youth team, has taken caretaker charge, but despite the uncertainty at Boundary Park, Baines still expects a highly organised side which will be tough to beat.

He said: "You know you're going to be playing in difficult conditions and sometimes things don't go for you, but we've just got to go there and be professional."

Arsenal will take on Blackburn at the Emirates and winger Theo Walcott is feeling positive following last weekend's league win over Sunderland.

He said: "The three points have us on a high.

"A lot of players are back from international duty and need a bit of a break. Some may be rested for the FA Cup game, but that's just as important as we want to go far in that competition.

"If we lost [at Sunderland], we would have been dwelling on it for so long, so I'm glad we didn't."

Chelsea will play their fourth round cup replay against Brentford after returning from Europa League action against Sparta Prague.

The Blues, who won the Champions League in May, exited the premier European competition as holders at the group stage and dropped into the Europa League.

They will host Brentford at Stamford Bridge on Sunday after they drew 2-2 against the League One side at Griffin Park thanks to Fernando Torres' late equaliser.

Manchester United, who drew 1-1 against Real Madrid in their Champions League last 16 clash at the Bernabeu, will play Reading at Old Trafford on Monday night.

In the other games, non-league Luton play League One's Millwall at home after they knocked out Norwich in the previous round, MK Dons take on Barnsley and Huddersfield face Premier League side Wigan.

Press Association

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