Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta insists a successful title defence will be all about self-belief.

While Zabaleta is in no way dismissive of the significance of the seven-point gap between first and second 10 months on, there is a steeliness about City that suggests the title race will still be contested late into spring.

"When you win an important trophy it makes all the players stronger. We need to believe we have great quality in the team to retain the title," said the full-back.

"We are under pressure. If United beat Liverpool it's going to be difficult.

"But we won the Premier League because we believed in ourselves. Now it's the same."