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Zabaleta excited by Pellegrini links

Marca journalist Juan Castro believes Malaga head coach Manuel Pellegrini would be the perfect candidate to replace Roberto Mancini as Manchester City manager.

Pablo Zabaleta has joined the chorus of Manchester City players suggesting Manuel Pellegrini is the right man to succeed Roberto Mancini at the Etihad Stadium.

• Nasri would back Pellegrini
• Pellegrini confirms Malaga exit
• Blog: The curtain comes down

Pellegrini is tipped to take over at City after confirming he will leave Malaga at the end of the season and Zabaleta has thrown his support behind the Chilean coach.

The defender played in the reserves at Argentinean side San Lorenzo when Pellegrini was in charge of the first team and he believes City will be heading in the right direction if they appoint the 59-year-old.

"I have never worked under Pellegrini before, when he was at San Lorenzo I was in the second team," Zabaleta said. "I don't know him as a person but he did well at Real Madrid, Villarreal and Malaga. We will see if Pellegrini signs for Manchester City.

"His way to play football is great. Somebody told me he is a great manager so we will wait to see what happens. Hopefully if he comes to City he can just carry on with his football."

Pellegrini steered Malaga to the Champions League quarter-finals this season and Zabaleta believes the manager's direct approach could improve City's fortunes in Europe.

"He likes to play attractive football," Zabaleta added. "What I saw with Malaga, whenever they played they played to win.

"This is something important for a top team. Wherever you go to play, you play to win. Whoever is the manager, players need to work hard. When a new manager comes in you need to show you want to keep your place in the team and I am sure we will do in the pre-season."

Meanwhile, Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano believes Roberto Mancini's exit from the club will start a new, successful 'cycle' at the club.

"(Mancini) did very good things for the club. He stayed there for three years, which is a lot of time. He brought the club to a winning club," Soriano told CNN.

"Now we are just looking for the next step, the next cycle.

"We have a fantastic squad. We want to play better football and we want to continue winning.

"It is not that Mancini did anything wrong. We are just in another cycle, in another era.

"We are looking to play very good football, very beautiful football. When we are playing good football, then we will win.

"So it is not only about winning, it is developing football that is attractive and it will be played by our main teams, our first team in Manchester, our young teams in Manchester and also our teams in New York.

"We want to share the same football concepts across all our teams."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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