The Argentinean has made just a couple of league appearances from the bench due to a couple of knee injuries he has suffered this season.
He made his comeback as a substitute in the Hammers' 1-0 win over Swansea on Saturday and was involved in the Diafra Sakho's 90th-minute winner.
"I think what we are missing at some points in the game is that creativity that you need to create chances, to keep the ball," Zabaleta told Starsport.
"Sometimes we play so quickly that we gave the ball away so this is something we need to improve.
"We've been missing Manu so far this season and he's probably the only player we have to create [chances], and at least to keep the ball a little bit more.
"[He is] a player to play in the hole, between the lines, and that was a big difference when Manu came on."