Manchester City have proved the doubters wrong following their stunning victory over Barcelona, according to defender Pablo Zabaleta.
Questions were being asked of City’s development under new manager Pep Guardiola during a recent run of six games without a win – their worst sequence for eight years.
But that was brought to an end with a comprehensive win at West Brom on Saturday and followed up with a famous 3-1 defeat of five-time European champions Barca.
Zabaleta, who returned from a foot injury to feature in Tuesday’s Champions League success, said: “We had started the season really well, winning all the games in the Premier League and the Champions League, until we had a small blip.
“Perhaps people were talking about a crisis or saying we doubted our style of play a little bit, but we responded well in the last couple of games.
“Obviously Pep’s way is to believe in hard work, believe in what we’re doing, what we’re working towards, and that’s the best way to go.”
A big response
City may have feared a repeat of their 4-0 loss at the Nou Camp a fortnight ago when they fell behind to a Lionel Messi strike, but they hit back in style.
Ilkay Gundogan scored twice either side of a Kevin De Bruyne free-kick in a performance that must rank among City’s best in Europe. The immediate challenge for the Premier League leaders is now to follow it up and build momentum.
Right-back Zabaleta said: “The whole team played a very complete game. Perhaps in the first half Barcelona dominated the game a bit more but the goal just before half-time was important for our confidence.
“The most important thing is that we won and now we have to keep going.”