Manchester City right-back Pablo Zabaleta has revealed he would 'have a word' with any teammate who dived in a competitive match.

Diving has been the subject of much debate over the past week after Manchester United star Ashley Young tried to con referee Jon Moss into awarding the Red Devils a penalty.

And Zabaleta, speaking exclusively to the Daily Mail, has weighed into the debate by blasting divers.

Speaking ahead of Manchester City's derby match against arch-rivals Manchester United, Zabaleta said: "I think it’s part of the culture, you know.

"I was in Spain for three years and players dive too much there also.

"But here the fans HATE players diving so much and that’s why if you do this often then people and fans here are going to kill you.

"As a defender you are always trying to win the ball clean with a good tackle. Sometimes you are late and you get booked and you need to step back.

"But when strikers or wingers try and dive it’s not good. We must be clear about this.

"I would always try to have a word with any team-mate of mine who was doing it. I would explain and get them to stop. It’s not good at all."

Zabaleta is due to go head to head with Ashely Young if the Manchester United winger starts on the left hand side of the Red Devils' midfield.

The right-back scored in last season's corresponding fixture when Robin van Persie scored in the closing stages to hand Manchester United the win.

Zabaleta believes the acquisition of Van Persie swung the title race in Manchester United's favour last season.

He added: "United deserved to win the league last year. They were better, particular because of Van Persie’s goals early in the season.

"Hopefully we can do it better this time.

"We beat United at Old Trafford but in the Premier League you don’t have easy games.

"You can play well against top teams but that doesn’t matter at all if you then go and lose at teams that are fighting to stay in the league.

"You need to get three points at those places as well. When teams come to play against City it’s the team that they want to beat.

"It’s the best they play all season. I know that."

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