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Zaba Trumpets Pellegrini

The season ended poorly for Manchester City star Pablo Zabaleta.

The Argentine international defender was arguably City’s best player during their underwhelming campaign, and he may have been justified in losing the plot in the FA Cup final, when all his efforts were coalescing into a painful defeat against Wigan.

The red card he received at Wembley left Zabaleta despondent, but he is naturally optimistic, and has been cheered by the rumours linking Manuel Pellegrini to the vacant manager’s job at the Etihad.

Pellegrini is the big favourite to sit in the City hot seat next season, after Roberto Mancini was sacked, and Malaga announced yesterday that Pellegrini is free to leave.

Zabaleta almost worked with Pellegrini when the Chilean was coach of the San Lorenzo first-team, and he played for the reserves.

And so he is confident City would be getting a classy tactician if Pellegrini arrives as expected.

"I have never worked under Pellegrini before, when he was at San Lorenzo I was in the second team," Zabaleta said.

"I don't know him as a person but he did well at Real Madrid, Villarreal and Malaga. We will see if Pellegrini signs for Manchester City.

"His way to play football is great. Somebody told me he is a great manager so we will wait to see what happens. Hopefully if he comes to City he can just carry on with his football."

Pellegrini’s impressive runs with Villarreal and Malaga in the Champions League appear to have counted in his favour, as City’s bigwigs looked for the right man to replace Premier League winner Mancini.

And Zabaleta seems to think Pellegrini’s positive brand of football can help City achieve their lofty ambitions.

"He likes to play attractive football," Zabaleta said.

"What I saw with Malaga, whenever they played they played to win.

"This is something important for a top team. Wherever you go to play, you play to win. Whoever is the manager, players need to work hard. When a new manager comes in you need to show you want to keep your place in the team and I am sure we will do in the pre-season."

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