Wednesday 27 Feb
Updated Wednesday 27 Feb 12:30
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Zabaleta: We need to be positive

Pablo Zabaleta challenges Leroy Sane

Pablo Zabaleta says the Hammers can approach tonight's Premier League trip to Manchester City with optimism after getting back to winning ways at the weekend.

The Hammers will be huge underdogs at Etihad Stadium with Pep Guardiola's Carabao Cup winners aiming to maintain the heat on league leaders Liverpool, but former City man Zabaleta says if everything falls into place his team has what it takes to upset the odds.

Zabaleta won two Premier League titles during his time with the Citizens - one of them under current Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini - but says there will be no time for sentiment once the game gets underway.

‘’We need to be positive because we have quality in the team to beat anybody," the No5 said. "If we can have a good performance, maybe we can do it.

"We need the confidence and the belief that we can do it. I know it’s going to be tough because they have one of the best teams in the league with so much quality. It will be hard but anything can happen in football. They are just one point behind Liverpool so they need to win. I expect a very good game.

It’s not about friends - Kun [Aguero] - even if I have a great relationship with him, if I have to go in for a tackle, I have to do it because I am playing for West Ham

Pablo Zabaleta

‘’When you play against your former clubs and you know all the players and the people it is a bit weird, a bit hard at the same time but you need to understand that I am a West Ham player now. If I get the chance to play I need to give 100 per cent for the West Ham shirt as I try to win the game.

"I need to compete as always have done from kick off. It’s not about friends - Kun [Aguero] - even if I have a great relationship with him, if I have to go in for a tackle, I have to do it because I am playing for West Ham and I want the best for this club.’

With eleven games to go this season, Zabaleta is targeting a strong finish - with seventh place and the possibility of European football not out of reach.

He added: "’I think the season has been good so far. At the beginning of the season we were probably talking about being in the top ten and thinking about that seventh position which allows you probably to play some European football next season.

"At the moment we are four points behind Watford, they are seventh and its still eleven games to go. It wasn’t the best start, we lost the first four games. We had a new manager, new players came in and it took a bit of time to create a good a team and for the players to settle in to the Premier League. Apart from a few bad games in general, I think the season has been good and hopefully we can finish strongly.’’

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