Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta admits the champions are struggling to cope with league leaders Manchester United controlling the title race. But City kept up with their rivals following a 3-0 win over Stoke City on New Year's day.

He said: "The most important thing is always the performance of the team.

"We played a great game, we had a lot of chances, defensively we were very solid and it's another clean sheet.

"It's a good three points to carry on and we know that we are under pressure because we need to win every game.

"We know we are seven points behind United so it's going to be very tough, but keeping positive and keeping working is the key to catching United.

"It was hard to lose against Sunderland but always you need to try to respond well. We did it and I'm very proud for the team."

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