Pellegrini waits on Hart decision

Joe Hart could remain on the Manchester City bench despite an impressive performance for England in midweek.

Last Updated: 22/11/13 at 16:33 Post Comment   

Hart: Could be on the Man City bench again

Hart: Could be on the Man City bench again

Joe Hart could remain on the Manchester City bench despite an impressive performance for England in midweek.

Hart was dropped by City boss Manuel Pellegrini earlier this month after an indifferent spell of form.

The 26-year-old displayed his class with a number of good saves in England's friendly loss to Germany on Tuesday but Pellegrini has consistently fended off questions about when he might return for City.

The Chilean was pressed on the matter again as he met media to preview this weekend's Barclays Premier League clash against Tottenham but he offered Hart no comeback guarantees.

He said: "I don't know. We will see tomorrow the starting 11.

"It was very important for him to play with England. It was an important game for England against Germany, it is a good test.

"I think he did very well."

Long-time deputy Costel Pantilimon has played in the club's last two Premier League games during a run of four successive appearances in all competitions.

Pellegrini maintains that Hart, who last played for City in the loss at Chelsea on October 27, will benefit from a period out of the team.

The 60-year-old said: "He played the last two-and-a-half years all the games in the Premier League.

"All the players are human and can have a bad moment."

Pellegrini at one point grew tired of consistent questions about the status of Hart, who is crucial to England's World Cup plans.

"That is enough questions because I can't tell you any more," he said.

He did, however, add that the goalkeeper's attitude since being dropped has been exemplary.

He said: "Joe didn't have any change when he was playing or on the bench. His attitude was really professional and very good for the team."

The other main squad issue concerned captain Vincent Kompany, who remains on the sidelines with a thigh injury.

Pellegrini had hoped the influential defender, who suffered the injury against Everton seven weeks ago, could return this week but there is still no date on a potential comeback for the 27-year-old.

He said: "Vincent is still working, recovering from his last injury. Maybe the next week he will work with the whole team."

Kompany has had a number of muscle injury lay-offs over the past two years and has been sorely missed each time.

There have been suggestions more centre-back cover is needed but Pellegrini will not discuss his plans for the mid-season transfer window.

He said: "We are not thinking about January, just thinking about November."

Playmaker David Silva and striker Stevan Jovetic are also still out but all players on international duty over the past fortnight returned unscathed.

That includes defender Matija Nastasic, who missed the loss at Sunderland a fortnight ago due to a minor knock. Midfielder Fernandinho is also ready to return.

The defeat to Sunderland - a fourth of the season, all of which have been away - saw City go into the international break eighth in the table, six points behind leaders Arsenal.

They were a point behind Sunday's opponents Spurs in what has so far proved a tight competition.

Pellegrini said: "It is a very difficult game for us. We are going to play against a very good team.

"They have a good position in the table and very good players.

"I think we are seven teams very close in the table. All have the same options to fight for the title."

City will be looking to get their title bid on track by maintaining their 100 per cent record at the Etihad Stadium this season.

Pellegrini is well aware that the issue of away form needs to be addressed but, with Viktoria Plzen and Swansea also visiting Eastlands in the next week, it can wait for now.

He said: "Now we have to play the next three at home and it is not easy to win at home so we must play very well against Tottenham.

"After this week we are going to think about what happened away."

During the international break two of City's key players, Sergio Aguero, were also linked with moves away but both have underlined their commitment to the club.

That came as no surprise to Pellegrini.

He said: "Both of them are very happy here and they will stay with us."


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