Joe Hart admits Manchester City don’t have time to dwell on their Champions League exit and says they must refocus to ensure the club qualify for the competition next season.
City’s bid to reach the final ended in semi-final disappointment as they were beaten 1-0 by 10-times winners Real Madrid at a fevered Bernabeu Stadium on Wednesday.
Having come so far, goalkeeper Hart is hungry for more and attention must quickly switch to the battle for a top-four place in the Barclays Premier League.
Fourth-placed City are being challenged for their Champions League spot by Manchester United and West Ham and they now face a crucial game at home to third-placed Arsenal on Sunday.
“Roll on Sunday,” said Hart. “I’m looking forward to it. We go again to cement our place in the Champions League.
“It is important for the club and for me personally. Nights like Wednesday are amazing and I want to keep them coming.”
3 – Real Madrid’s progression means three of the last four Champions League finals have been between teams from the same nation. Familiar.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 4, 2016
Missing out on the Champions League next season would be a setback for City just as they finally look to be coming of age in the competition. A campaign in the Europa League – in which City are at least guaranteed entry following their Capital One Cup success – was not the plan when they signed up Pep Guardiola as their next manager.
Hart said: “There is not a lot we can take from this night but in the Champions League this year we have grown and shown some good moments. We are going to have to take that into next year.
“It is not a bright moment losing a semi-final when we’d like to think we could have done a lot better. But we didn’t and we are out.”
In the final reckoning, an own goal from Fernando after 20 minutes of the second leg – deflecting Gareth Bale’s effort – proved the only difference between the sides over the two matches.