Joe Hart says you have to be able to move on after Mancini’s criticism
Goalkeeper says it’s been tough
England's Joe Hart during a training session in preparation for tomorrow's away game against San Marino
Joe Hart has given another indication of the uneasy relationship between Roberto Mancini and the Manchester City players by admitting his manager’s criticism makes him feel Mancini does not believe he is “up to it” on occasions.
At differing times during a fraught season in which City’s Champions League challenge and title defence have faltered, Mancini has made negative comments about his goalkeeper’s performances, as he has about other City players.
“You have got to be able to move on,” Hart said. “Everyone is going to have their opinion, you have to take it as best you can, for what you are trying to achieve and move on from there. He is free to do his press conferences as he feels and, if he feels you are not up to it . . .”
When City lost to Real Madrid in a Champions League group game last September, having conceded two late goals, Hart stated the team “threw it away”. Mancini’s response was sharp: “Joe Hart should stay in goal and make saves. If anyone should criticise the team, it should be me, not Joe Hart.”
Another Hart error came when he was beaten at the near post by Adam Johnson as City lost 1-0 at Sunderland on St Stephen’s Day. After City’s 3-1 defeat at Southampton in February, when Hart was at fault for the second goal, Mancini said: “It’s not strange because he did two or three mistakes this year and this is not good for us. Joe is a good ’keeper but a goalkeeper can’t do a mistake like this.”
When it was put to Hart Alex Ferguson never publicly criticises his players, he said: “All managers have their different way of doing things.”
Hart does admit it has been a challenging season for him. “I’ve enjoyed it. It’s been tough, things haven’t always gone my way. I’m enjoying the fight and getting back in there,” he said. “Sometimes you take knocks, that’s football. You take opinions but you’ve got to be strong. I’m my strongest critic but I would never bury myself.”
A view has formed Hart requires competition of a quality higher than his current deputy at City, Costel Pantilimon. Before the World Cup qualifiers with San Marino tomorrow and Montenegro, Hart has been joined by Ben Foster in the England squad, after he was persuaded from international retirement by Roy Hodgson, his former club manager. Yet Hart denies he needs pushing. “I don’t need reinvigorating. I train hard, I work hard, I want to play well, I try and play well no matter who is doing what. I’m sure that’s the way Ben thinks.”
Regarding City appearing to all intents to have lost the championship to United, Hart said: “I’d love to know. We have done well. But we have been up against a killing machine that have kept turning out results no matter.”