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Arsenal can lay down a marker

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Zabaleta: City learnt from loss

Manchester City's Pablo Zabaleta said he and his team-mates have learnt from their 'worst defeat' of the season after succumbing 3-1 to Southampton last weekend.

Zabaleta could not stop the Saints from handing the defending Premier League champions just their third loss of the season and, in turn, allow City's neighbours Manchester United to open up a 12-point gap at the top of the table.

But after a week of soul-searching, the 28-year-old Argentinian said City are now using the loss as a source of motivation for the rest of the season.

"Sometimes after a game like Southampton you need a few days to think about what went wrong and why, and then come back stronger and I believe that's what will happen," Zabaleta told the club's website.

"We will learn from this defeat and use the deflated feeling we had afterwards as an inspiration to maybe try and re-discover the sort of spirit we had last season. We need to stand together, battle and show what we are really capable of."

And despite refusing to take anything away from Southampton's performance, Zabaleta believes the slip-up was out of character for the defending champions and is confident the winning feeling will quickly return.

"I think it was just one of those days when everything went wrong," Zabaleta said. "It's not an excuse, but sometimes when everyone is away for international duty in the days before it is difficult to prepare in the normal way and I think it didn't help us on this occasion.

"But having said that we must give full credit to Southampton who played really well and pressed us from the first minute to the last. We have to hold our hands up and admit they were better than us on the day.

"We will aim and get back to winning ways at the weekend in the FAC Cup and that is our immediate focus now."

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