Manchester City 4 Southampton 1: Pablo Zabaleta sets City task of winning every game to secure Premier League title

City strengthened their title charge with victory over Saints and they remain in the knowledge that seven more wins will see them clinch the title

Pablo Zabaleta says winning is the only objective now as Manchester City look to seize control of the title race.

City underlined their status as favourites for the Barclays Premier League crown with an ultimately comfortable 4-1 win over Southampton on Saturday.

Given that they also have games in hand over rivals Chelsea and Liverpool, third-placed City could afford to draw next week's crunch clash at Anfield.

But with the battle so tight, defender Zabaleta insists they cannot set out to achieve anything less than the full three points.

Acknowledging City needed to overcome a battling Southampton for their latest victory, the Argentinian said: "The most important thing was to win - we must keep winning all games. It is going to be very tough until the end of the season.

 

"At the end of the season, sometimes, teams can look a little tired but I think we must keep winning games.

"Every single game now is going to be like a final, (but) we have belief.

"I think we have a great team to make success this season but it is not going to be very easy.

"We need to keep working hard and keep playing like (we did) in the second half. I think playing in that way we will have more chances."

City made the perfect start against Mauricio Pochettino's mid-table side as Yaya Toure netted a third-minute penalty after Jose Fonte was adjudged to have tripped Edin Dzeko.

But they failed to build on that and Saints responded well, even after 17-goal top scorer Jay Rodriguez suffered a serious-looking - and potentially World Cup-ending - knee injury.

Rodriguez, who had been in the frame for a place in England's squad for Brazil, was carried off on a stretcher after landing awkwardly midway through the first half.

The player, club and national boss Roy Hodgson will all be awaiting updates on his condition early next week.

Manchester City 4 Southampton 1: City gallop on after Silva's lucky escape

Saints equalised with a Rickie Lambert penalty after Zabaleta tripped Jack Cork but two goals just before the break put City in command.

The first was highly controversial, with David Silva clearly offside before setting up Samir Nasri.

But as Pochettino complained, Dzeko headed a third and the game was effectively gone. Substitute Stevan Jovetic added a fourth nine minutes from time.

Zabaleta said: "I think they are probably one of the best teams in the league, for sure.

"I think we must give them a lot of credit because they are having a great season, they played really well.

"We didn't play our best in the first half but then we came back stronger.

"We had the control of the ball in the second half. We scored four goals and that is great for us."

Pochettino bemoaned the decisions of referee Chris Foy after the game. He was unhappy with the award of City's early penalty and then felt the missed Silva offside completely changed the game.

Striker Lambert was in full agreement with his manager, telling the club's website, saintsfc.co.uk: "It is a disgrace of a decision, I have got to say.

"You can understand two or three yards but five or six - it's unbelievable. I haven't got words for it.

Kompany draws 'positives and confidence' from difficult obstacle

"It absolutely killed us going into half-time. At 1-1 at half-time at this place, it gives everyone a lift.

"We're not saying we would have drawn or won, but it would have been a different game. Going back out at 3-1 down, it's hard to get back into a game."

Most thoughts at the club at the club after the game were with Rodriguez, who had been enjoying an outstanding season.

Lambert, who has his own World Cup hopes, said: "I'm gutted. Absolutely devastated.

"He has been superb for us. He is on fire, he has been on fire all season.

"Obviously with what is coming up, it is hard put into words. I can't imagine - his head's gone in there, which you can imagine."

PA

Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
Life and Style
Martha Stewart wrote an opinion column for Time magazine this week titled “Why I Love My Drone”
lifeLifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot... to take photos of her farm
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
filmReview: Sometimes the immersive experience was so good it blurred the line between fiction and reality
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices