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Nov 3, 2013

Dropped Hart keeps Zabaleta on his toes

Pablo Zabaleta said that seeing Joe Hart being dropped has provided a warning to the rest of the Manchester City side that they must maintain their high standards or they will join him on the bench.

Joe Hart was benched for Manchester City's game against Norwich.
Joe Hart lost his place in the Manchester City team for the Premier League win against Norwich.

• Mooney: Goalkeeping hubbub takes back seat to City attack

Manager Manuel Pellegrini left Hart out for Saturday’s 7-0 win over Norwich after a series of mistakes and promoted his deputy Costel Pantilimon instead.

Zabaleta is the first-choice right-back but faces competition for his place from Micah Richards and believes City have the strength in depth to mean no one is guaranteed to retain their place if they do not perform.

He said: “The manager makes decisions. We know in this team now the performance of everyone should be good week in, week out because we have two players in each position who can play.

“Sometimes mistakes might cost [someone] their place but we are a big squad and we need to try to do well to keep the place in the team.”

Zabaleta felt City bounced back in the best way possible from their 2-1 loss at Chelsea on Sunday and was pleased his teammates shared the goals around.

After Norwich’s Bradley Johnson put the ball in his own net, David Silva, Matija Nastasic, Alvaro Negredo, Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko scored in City’s record Premier League win.

He added: “It was a great result, 7-0, especially for the strikers -- Kun [Aguero], Negredo, Dzeko. Yaya [scored] another fantastic free-kick.

“We needed to respond well after the Chelsea defeat. I think it was a great performance by the team.”

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