City needed 120 minutes and a penalty shoot-out to see off Chelsea at Wembley on Sunday.
Manuel Lanzini has insisted that his best is yet to come at West Ham, after recovering from a serious injury and playing his first game of the season against Fulham on Friday. But on his first return to the Etihad Stadium as an opposition manager, former City boss Pellegrini knows his side still face a stiff task.
West Ham United are now ninth on the league table and a win vs Man City would take them within touching distance of that elusive seventh spot.
Speaking ahead of West Ham's trip to Manchester City on Wednesday, Zabaleta told Sky Sports News there is a feel-good factor in the dressing room.
"The way that you continue in all the competitions is more hard, but I said during the first season that I was in charge that if we continue in the Champions League - we were eliminated by Barcelona - and we continue with the games you must postpone because of the cups, you don't have enough Wednesdays to finish the league".
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Man City have scored 22 goals across six meetings with West Ham since the start of last season, but Sterling has been responsible for just one of those. But unless a 100 per cent confident, Pellegrini will not risk him against the attacking force that City have.
Whether he is scoring or assisting, West Ham tends to be a team Sterling enjoys coming up against.
"I think we played very well but the only thing we didn't do was score [more]", the Belgian said.
The full-back also added that he is hoping Antonio's brilliant goalscoring form in recent weeks continues for the Hammers, as they aim to push for a top half finish.