Manchester City defender Zabaleta acts a pacemaker in Villarreal feud

By Sportsmail Reporter

Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta wants to defuse any lingering tension between his side and Villarreal prior to their Champions League clash at El Madrigal.

City snatched a dramatic 2-1 win with an injury-time Sergio Aguero goal last time the sides met at the Etihad Stadium a fortnight ago.

Aguero clashed with Villarreal players after his late winner

Bust up: Aguero clashed with Villarreal players after his late winner

City celebrated their first win in Champions League football feverishly but amid the euphoria there was a sour note as Aguero was later accused of mocking Villarreal players by people from the Spanish club.

Aguero denied the accusations and fellow Argentinian Zabaleta wants to make sure all is forgotten by having a word with another of their countrymen before kick-off.

Zabaleta, 26, said: 'I don't know what happened in the last game with Sergio in the tunnel.

'But I know some players from Villarreal, especially Gonzalo Rodriguez, and I will try to speak to him to say what happened in the last game is finished.

Focused: Pablo Zabaleta

Focused: Pablo Zabaleta

'We need to try to focus on the next game. That is most important for us and for the Villarreal players as well.'

City's last-gasp success last time out changed the complexion of Group A as Bayern Munich and Napoli simultaneously played out a draw.

Roberto Mancini's men are still third but just a point behind Napoli and three off Bayern's top spot.

Yet there is still work to be done and Zabaleta added: 'We are in a tough group with difficult teams.

'We know it is going to be very hard and it is tight in front of us.

'If we want to get into first or second position we need to try to get three points.'

Zabaleta was speaking at City's pre-match press conference where the subject of a certain other Argentinian was raised as Mancini spoke.

Mancini has spoken little about Carlos Tevez since accusing the striker of refusing to play against Bayern five weeks ago.

Tevez was last week found guilty of that offence and five other breaches of contract by City and is currently frozen out of the first-team picture.

Yet Mancini says he would welcome the 27-year-old back into the fold if he was to apologise.

Mancini said: 'In life everyone can make mistakes but it is important to apologise in every situation.

'These are the crucial words, these easy words, when you make some mistake in life.'

Tevez has argued throughout the saga that he only refused to warm up, not to play outright. He has previously apologised to fans for a 'misunderstanding' over the matter.

Tevez's representatives chose not to comment on Mancini's remarks.

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