Zabaleta: Uefa ban will drive Man City in Champions League, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Zabaleta: Uefa ban will drive Man City in Champions League

West Ham United's Pablo Zabaleta believes Manchester City's ban in Europe will give them more motivation to go for this season's Champions League title.

About a week ago, Uefa imposed a two-year European ban and fine on City for breaching Financial Fair Play rules, thereby changing the complexion of City's Champions League last 16, first-leg tie with Real Madrid.

"It's a huge game, of course," Zabaleta told the Daily Mail ahead of Thursday morning's (Singapore time) clash.

"It has been a tough week for the whole City group... the Uefa decision will increase the motivation for sure because everyone at the club trusts those in charge and what they have done."

City's English Premier League 1-0 win over Leicester City yesterday morning has given Pep Guardiola's side a boost ahead of their away encounter with Real.

Gabriel Jesus came off the bench to secure the win, moving City seven points above Leicester and 19 points behind leaders Liverpool, who face West Ham tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

"The most important thing is that we won today," said Riyad Mahrez, who provided the assist against his former club.

"Today, we showed a great reaction (to the ban). It was a perfect game to prepare (for Real), a tough game, we are ready."

"It was a nice victory against a difficult opponent," added Guardiola, who confirmed that Raheem Sterling could return against Real.