Zabaleta and Man City ignore Pellegrini order

Manchester City full-back Pablo Zabaleta said he and his team-mates defied an order from manager Manuel Pellegrini on Sunday.

The Italian boss instructed Zabaleta and his City colleagues to not watch the Liverpool-Chelsea match that preceded their trip to Crystal Palace, for fear of distraction.

But when the Blues' trip to Anfield was beamed into Selhurst Park while City players were warming up, Zabaleta said they could not resist watching a match that eventually handed the Eastlands club their title destiny into their own hands.

"Sometimes you don't want to watch it but Chelsea were winning 1-0 and it was such a great match to watch," Zabaleta told the Manchester Evening News, of Chelsea's 2-0 win over the league leaders.

"Most important was that we put in a fantastic performance, especially in the first half. We were solid at the back, with another clean sheet.

"Now everything is tight at the top and Chelsea have a big chance as well. We just need to keep winning games and see what happens at the end."

The Argentine said City's experience of being involved in the thrilling title race at the culmination of the 2011-12 season would hold the Sky Blues in good stead.

City nervously broke their league title drought with a last-minute win over QPR, to deny bitter rivals Manchester United the silverware.

"We talked about this earlier in the week - we have been in this situation two years ago and the most important thing we learned from that time is team spirit, to keep fighting until the end," Zabaleta said.

"Whoever will be champions will deserve it, and we are one of those that will fight, and hopefully continue winning. We are hungry for the title, but we'll see what happens.

"We still have three games to play, and it is in our hands. We must win those games if we want to win the title again, but it will be very difficult.

"The first game is at Everton way, which is always very tough. They are also playing for fourth place, so nothing will be easy until the end.

"We need to show character and personality, and we have a big chance.

"We said before Palace we needed Liverpool to drop points and for us to win, and that has happened - but nothing is done yet.

"We need to keep working hard as we have all season and hopefully we can win those three games."