Pablo Zabaleta has spoken of his surprise to see Newcastle struggling this season – and only wishes good things for friend Fabricio Coloccini.
Manchester City face the struggling Magpies in their Premier League clash on Saturday, with Newcastle still to claim a Premier League win under new manager Steve McClaren.
Newcastle pushed champions Chelsea close last week, surrendering a 2-0 and being forced to settle for a 2-2 draw, and Zabaleta – who returned to the City bench in midweek after a month out with a knee injury – admits he is shocked by their struggles.
Speaking to City’s official website, he said: “I’m very surprised to see Newcastle where they are because of the experience they had towards the end of last season. After that situation, you expect to bring in new players – which has happened – but the results haven’t been good so far, though there was a definite improvement against Chelsea last weekend.
“It’s not my club, but for me it is a real shame to see them in that situation. Newcastle is a club that has a fantastic stadium and great supporters who fill their ground every week. St James’ Park is a place I love to play at and probably the away ground I look forward to playing at the most each season.
“They went down the first season I came to England but came back up again under Alan Pardew and have done OK since, but they have a new coach now and there is a long way to go so there is time for them to improve and climb the table.
“It doesn’t change me wanting to beat them on Saturday, though. We need a good result ourselves and we have to start winning games again and need to build on our win over Borussia.”
Zabaleta on Coloccini
Zabaleta admitted he is looking forward to looking forwards to see his friend and compatriot Coloccini on Saturday and wishes nothing but the best for the Newcastle skipper.
“I speak to Fabricio on the phone sometimes and Jonas Gutierrez as well because we were all in the national side together and we know each other well.
“He (Coloccini) is the captain and has been at Newcastle as long as I have been at City and he is taking responsibility for the situation because he is the captain and believes it is the right thing to do, but I wish him only good things and hope everything turns out well for him.”