Roberto Mancini has tested the 3-4-1-2 system in pre-season and may now favour it ahead of the upcoming Premier League campaign.
Zabaleta revealed that he was very happy with how the new shape worked both in training and on match-day, while indicating it could be a vital option with City fighting on various fronts domestically and in Europe this season.
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"We have been working with three at the back in pre-season and it worked well."
Mancini's men get the defence of their Premier League crown underway on Sunday when they play newly-promoted Southampton at the Etihad Stadium.