Manchester City are only going to improve, warns Hart

Date published: Friday 8th April 2016 9:08

Joe Hart

Joe Hart has warned PSG that Mancehster City’s best is yet to come ahead of the two clubs’ battle for a place in the Champions League semi-finals.

The two sides have it all to play for in the second leg of their last-eight tie at the Etihad Stadium next week after a frantic 2-2 draw at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday.

Fernandinho’s 72nd-minute equaliser gave City the advantage of a second away goal but after a breathless first clash littered by errors from both sides, goalkeeper Hart knows improvement is necessary.

The England number one, who saved an early penalty from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, said: “There is defeinitely an opportunity there but 2-2 is no foregone conclusion. It is going to be another open game – two very positive teams playing against each other.

“I think both of us are going to want to cut out a few mistakes and we can move on from there.

“They are a good team, they are dangerous, but we are always going to believe we are a good team. We have a lot of good players and there is lot more to come from us.”

Hart’s spot-kick stop was his sixth from the last 11 he has faced for club and country and offered early justification for the decision to play him after rushing back from a calf injury.

Ibrahimovic was delayed slightly as Hart took a sip from his water bottle but the keeper denied this was gamesmanship.

He said: “I am stupid but I am not crazy! I just needed a drink. I am pretty sure he is one player who you are not going to make change his mind or do anything that he doesn’t want to do.”

Hart was beaten four times by Sweden star Ibrahimovic – including an outrageous overhead kick – in an international in Stockholm in November 2012 but the City man insisted revenge was not on his mind.

He said: “No, that’s the past, life goes on. We are involved in a really important quarter-final, trying to make history for our respective clubs.”

Ibrahimovic spurned another good chance to put City ahead soon after his penalty miss and City capitalised to take the lead through Kevin De Bruyne after 38 minutes.

But the lead was not to last as Fernando embarrassingly lost control trying to take a pass from Hart and Ibrahimovic swooped in to equalise.

The game threatened to run away from City as Adrien Rabiot put PSG ahead and Ibrahimovic then hit the bar, but Hart hailed the resolve of his team-mates and refused to blame Fernando.

“Sometimes stuff happens,” Hart said. “There was a long way to go when it happened and there is a lot of character in the team. It was a brilliant performance from all of us and we will keep going.”

City have surprisingly slipped out of the Premier League title race having been favourites two months ago but the Champions League now clearly offers an opportunity to change the complexion of their season.

Hart feels the result in Paris further underlines the club’s growing maturity in European competition after struggles in past seasons.

“We are competing in every game,” Hart said. “That is one thing we can say.”

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