Man City defender Pablo Zabaleta urges James Milner to stay at club
Defender Pablo Zabaleta insists everyone at Manchester City knows how important James Milner is to the club.
England midfielder Milner demonstrated his worth at the weekend, netting an added time fee-kick as City salvaged a last-gasp 1-1 draw against Hull at the Etihad Stadium.
Milner is out of contract in the summer and despite talks that have been ongoing for some time, he has yet to put pen to paper on a new deal.
The 29-year-old is thought to have reservations about whether or not he will command a regular starting role for City going forward, but Zabaleta is desperate for Milner to sign on.
"We know how important James is for this team, for this club," Zabaleta said. "His commitment and his passion have always been fantastic for this club and this team.
"He is a player who can play in different positions. He is a great professional, a fantastic lad. Hopefully he can sign a new deal and stay with us for many years."
City's home draw with strugglers Hull allowed Premier League leaders Chelsea to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to seven points.
Zabaleta admitted it was a blow to drop further behind Jose Mourinho's side but the right-back insists there is still a long way to go in the title race.
He said: "It's disappointing because that was a game we were always supposed to win, especially because we knew before the game that it was another chance to get three points and try to reduce the gap to leaders Chelsea.
"But it was another disappointing afternoon where we dropped another two points. It's a hard moment, because we expect our team to play better, not just for 45 minutes like we did in the second half.
"We were a little bit flat at the beginning of the game, and when you concede a goal you have to play against teams that choose to defend with all of their players behind the ball - it's hard to find space.
"But there is still a long way to go, a point is a point, and it was a great free-kick by James that saved a point."