Zabaleta: Champions City ready to defend title

Pablo Zabaleta is adamant that Manchester City are ready to defend their Premier League title, but is wary that last season's heroics will make them the number one scalp next term.

City claimed their first Premier League crown in the final minutes on the final day of the campaign in a 3-2 win over QPR.

Zabaleta opened the scoring on the memorable afternoon at the Etihad Stadium, his only goal of the season for City.

And the Argentina full-back is confident that he and his team-mates will thrive on the pressure of defending the trophy next year.

"We are back fresh and mentally ready to defend the title," Zabaleta told the club’s official website. "Everyone will want to beat us. There is more pressure than before because we are the champions. It is a very good challenge for us.

"We are looking forward to it and we are very positive about our chances. When you see the squad we have got then there is every reason to feel that way.

"As always with success in any walk of life the key is working hard for the team. That is why we are here in Austria to work hard and be ready for the Community Shield which is a week before the start of the season.

"You can see and detect already that there is a determination and a focus about everyone. Hopefully we can do the same as we did last season and also this time do well in the Champions League too."

City begin their title defence at home to newly-promoted Southampton.