Pablo Zabaleta insists Roberto Mancini rumours didn't affect the Manchester City players

Manchester City defender claims a lack of passion to blame for defeat after red card shame

Defender Pablo Zabaleta highlighted a lack of passion and desire in the Manchester City side after their shock FA Cup final loss to Wigan.

Zabaleta himself created unwanted history on a dismal day for City at Wembley as he became only the third man to be sent off in a cup final as the Blues lost 1-0.

The Argentina defender, arguably City's best player this season, was dismissed for a second bookable offence after hacking down Callum McManaman moments before the unheralded Ben Watson headed a last-minute winner.

City had hoped for a consolation victory after disappointment in the Barclays Premier League title race but, after a build-up overshadowed by speculation over manager Roberto Mancini's future, they suffered one of the great cup upsets.

Zabaleta said: "It was one of those days I think.

"We tried to do our best but the team looked without passion, desire and it was difficult to find an answer why everything went wrong.

"The only thing we can say now is congratulations to Wigan, they played better than us and they deserved this."

Zabaleta denied the rumours that surfaced on the eve of the game suggesting City were lining up Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini to replace Mancini had anything to do with the subdued performance.

The 28-year-old said: "It doesn't affect the players.

"We are now in a bad situation because when you look at the team you expect City to win a trophy.

"It was the only opportunity for us to lift a trophy and now we will see what happens in the future."

City had their moments in the first half when Yaya Toure and Carlos Tevez both forced Joel Robles into good saves.

But Wigan, belying their relegation difficulties, always looked the more penetrative and inventive side and in McManaman and Shaun Maloney had two of the most dangerous players on the pitch.

McManaman, particularly, was a handful throughout and twice went through on goal in the first half without finding a finish.

As the game wore on, City's superstars might have found a way through but Wigan's confidence did not evaporate and they sensed their moment after Zabaleta's 84th-minute dismissal.

City captain Vincent Kompany said: "We have given ourselves all the chances to win the competition but it wasn't good enough.

"We need to say congratulations to Wigan first of all. They played really well.

"We were warned when we played them at the Etihad that they were very good and it was really close between us again.

"We get a red card and then conceded at a set-piece, so you can't say they had a lot of chances but you can't say they didn't deserve it as well.

"On a better day we probably would have won it but it is a final, there is no guarantee.

"It is a goal from a corner - it is not something where you can say we looked weak.

"Nevertheless all credit to them, maybe we should have buried a goal earlier and we didn't do that.

"It is a cup final. Anyone that calls it a failure I think is a mistake, it is always an even game."

Kompany promised supporters the team would bounce back and return to Wembley to make amends for their disappointment.

City have come a long way since Sheikh Mansour's takeover in 2008, winning the FA Cup two years ago and the title in 2012, and they are sure to regroup.

Kompany said: "I think Man City fans just need to bear with us.

"We will come here again and win a lot of trophies in the future.

"We have proven it and it is just a matter of time."

While City will end the season without silverware, they still have one piece of business to finish in securing second place.

They can achieve that with victory at relegated Reading when they return to action on Tuesday.

Zabaleta said: "The manager will decide who is the best team to play in that game and we need to do our best."

PA

Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing