Zabaleta laments set-piece defending in Cardiff loss

Last season's Premier League runners-up have switched to man-to-man marking under new boss Manuel Pellegrini, and the Argentine defender admits it is taking time to adjust
Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta has blamed a new defensive system for Sunday's shock loss to Premier League newcomers Cardiff City.

Manuel Pellegrini's side went ahead at the Cardiff City Stadium through Edin Dzeko but an effort from Aron Gunnarsson and two Fraizer Campbell headers, both from corners, turned the tide as the Welsh side won 3-2.

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Zabaleta vented his frustration at conceding from set plays, but attributed any misunderstandings at the back to a change in system after Pellegrini ditched the zonal marking that had served City so well in the past.

"Two goals from set pieces for us is hard," said the Argentina after the match.

"It has changed for us as last season we were marking zonally and now it is individual marking and sometimes it is hard.

"But Campbell was very strong in the air. They did well defensively and closed the space well and didn’t give us the chance to create many opportunities.

"We didn't defend well at set-pieces and it cost us the game.

"We had control of the ball but we were a bit static in the first half. We were the better team but the only difference was we didn’t defend well from the set pieces and conceded silly goals."