Pacesetters Manchester United could be 15 points clear of the Citizens before Roberto Mancini’s men travel to Aston Villa on Monday night.
And although Zabaleta is confident City have a team capable of winning the top trophies, the Argentina defender admits the Eastlands outfit have struggled to live up to their defending champions tag.
He said: “We are a team [built] over the last four years; it’s not really easy for a team to build up the mentality to try to keep winning every year, like top teams around Europe.
“Probably this year we needed to show we wanted to retain the title and it’s been very difficult. So we know that we need to do something more, give something more, try to do better, to create that strong mentality that we need.”
Zabaleta has been one of City’s most consistent performers in a largely disappointing season, scoring three goals in 22 appearances in all competitions.
Others such as Joleon Lescott and Carlos Tévez have spent a lot of time on the bench, but the Argentina international believes that players should not complain about being dropped.
“With 25 players it isn’t easy for the manager to work and keep everybody happy,” he added.
“Sometimes if a player has been dropped for a game because Mancini wants to make a change, it’s difficult for them, they go down, because they want to play. That happens in all teams.”
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