Manuel Pellegrini considers dropping Joe Hart after mistakes
England goalkeeper has made a number of high-profile errors this season
Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart walks off the pitch dejected after his side’s defeat to Bayern Munich, a game in which he was at fault for two goals. Photograph: Dave Thompson/PA Wire
Manuel Pellegrini is considering dropping Joe Hart for Manchester City’s visit of Everton following the England goalkeeper’s mistakes against Bayern Munich, with the manager admitting he now faces a “very difficult decision”.
Hart was at fault for Franck Ribery’s opening goal and Arjen Robben’s final strike in the 3-1 win by the Champions League holders at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday evening and his performance followed a number of other high-profile errors this season. Should he be dropped, his position would be taken by the Romanian Costel Pantilimon, who impressed during City’s FA Cup campaign last term but has never played in the Premier League.
In City’s 3-2 defeat at Cardiff City in August, a Hart error allowed the Welsh club’s second goal. Following that game Pellegrini insisted he would always select on form not name. Reminded of these comments in the light of Hart’s display against Bayern, the manager said: “It’s a very difficult decision and we will see what is my final decision. Really at the moment it’s very difficult. Tomorrow we will see what’s the best decision.”
The Chilean’s deliberation over Hart’s place is in marked contrast to Roy Hodgson, the England manager, who on Thursday confirmed Hart remains his number one.
When it was put to Pellegrini that it must have been a boost for Hart to hear this, he said: “I don’t tell you now if Joe will play tomorrow because the players don’t know yet. Of course Joe knows he must improve the way he is playing but of course he has our trust. Of course, he feels that he didn’t do very well but I think he doesn’t have any problem.
“He continues with the trust of all the team and with our trust so we hope he will recover from what he did last match. After the game, I always speak with all the players, not only with Joe Hart, and we analyse what we did in that match and the reasons why we lost the game and the reasons also when we win.
“Pantilimon is a very good goalkeeper also. He has the right to play. He is working hard and I am absolutely sure if it is tomorrow or another game and Pantilimon must play, he will do well.”