Pablo Zabaleta said he had no doubt about the quality of Manchester City winger Leroy Sane after his goal in the side’s 2-1 victory over Arsenal on Sunday.
Germany winger Sane has struggled to make an impact at City since his £37 million move from Schalke in the summer.
He joined the City squad late in preseason after playing at the European Championship, then damaged his hamstring in the early weeks of the season.
Manager Pep Guardiola started him against title challengers Arsenal and he scored his first goal for the club to equalise before Raheem Sterling’s 71st-minute winner.
“He’s young, he’s got a lot of things to improve,” Zabaleta told reporters. “[He’s in] a new league where you have to settle in and sometimes for some players it takes more time than it does for others.
“But we are 100 percent sure about his quality and what he can give to this team. He has had a great game today, so congratulations to him.”
Sterling started up front but switched to the right wing, where he picked up the ball in the second half before his stunning winner.
And Zabaleta believes that shows the strength in the City squad, particularly without Sergio Aguero, who was serving the third of his four-game ban.
“We know the quality we have up front. We’ve got players that can make the difference,” the Argentine defender said. “That’s why as a team, defensively, we need to be solid and give confidence to the creative players.
“They will create chances by themselves and of course they can score goals. We have seen a really good team in the last two games, and hopefully we can continue in that way.”
It was only the second time this season that City had fought back from behind — the other being the 3-1 victory over Barcelona in November.
And Zabaleta said: “We reacted really well after the goal that we conceded early in the game.
“We kept going forward to try to equalise and we made a few chances. Then in the second half we were a lot better than them and were on top throughout the whole 45 minutes.
“Probably we should have had scored a few more goals if we’d been more clinical.”