Fulham 2 Manchester City 4: Manuel Pellegrini confirms Joe Hart will continue in goal for Boxing Day clash with Liverpool

Pellegrini felt that Hart deserved another opportunity following poor run of form

Joe Hart will keep his place in the Manchester City side for the Boxing Day clash against Liverpool after making his first Premier League appearance in almost two months against Fulham, manager Manuel Pellegrini confirmed.

Hart made his first Premier League start since October 27 in City's 4-2 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage.

The England goalkeeper was helpless to stop Vincent Kompany's looping own goal drop into the net as Fulham clambered from 2-0 to draw level in the second half, before City replied with late goals from Jesus Navas and James Milner to take the win.

Afterwards, Pellegrini said he had seen enough to confirm Hart will face Liverpool.

He said: "We don't know what will happen in the future, today, what Joe did I think he did it well.

"We'll see what will happen, every match we can play with different 11 starters, but at the moment Joe will continue to play in the next game.

"At the moment he deserved to play today and he also deserves to continue.

"When I put (Costel) Pantilimon in the starting XI I spoke with Joe and he understood that he was not in a good moment.

"Maybe seven games after, one month after, he's working very hard, and I thought that he deserved another opportunity, and I think he did it well.

"It was a tough decision (to change the goalkeeper) because we were winning. I think Pantilimon was doing well also but I thought that this game was better for Joe to play.

"I think that we have a squad, and I have to make the decision every week who will play, not only Joe Hart."

City had eased into a 2-0 lead after half-time thanks to Yaya Toure's free-kick and a goal at the right end for Kompany.

But things changed after the break as the strong winds which had been behind City's backs in the first half began howling in their faces.

"It was a really difficult match: the pitch wasn't good and it was very windy," Pellegrini added.

"Fulham are a tough team at home and they defend very well.

"We started well but after slipping back Navas and Milner made huge contributions."

Kieran Richardson got Fulham's first before a bizarre own goal from Kompany, who sliced what should have been a routine clearance up and over Hart.

Pellegrini praised his players for not panicking when Fulham levelled the match.

He said: "We had at least three clear chances to score more goals and normally when you miss chances the other team will score.

"The second goal was very bad luck, and it would be impossible to repeat.

"These things happen and I think the reaction of the team was very important, to go forward again to try to win."

Dimitar Berbatov suffered a groin problem on Friday, and Fulham boss Rene Meulensteen admitted he chose not to risk the Bulgaria striker with the busy festive schedule in mind.

Meulensteen said: "Unfortunately he kicked a ball wrongly in training which aggravated something in his groin as far as I'm aware.

"So we had a good look at it, we assessed him, and actually assessed him this morning as well.

"And unfortunately he was too big of a risk. With all the games coming up I didn't want to take the risk of having to start Berbatov in that position and maybe him have to come off and then you lose him for the other games."

Meulensteen said Fulham continued their trend of praiseworthy hard graft without reward.

He said: "It's the same story as the Spurs and Everton games.

"The goals that we concede, from set plays, it's not good enough defending, especially the one just before half time.

"I was hoping the experience would kick in a bit from some of these players, to steady the ship."

PA

Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
Life & Style
life
Arts & Entertainment
Back in the suit: There are only so many variations you can spin on the lives or adventures of Peter Parker
filmReview: Almost every sequence and set-up in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 seems familiar from some earlier superhero film
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones
tv
Life & Style
Father and son: Michael Williams with son Edmund
lifeAs his son’s bar mitzvah approaches, CofE-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys he’s experienced in learning about his family’s other faith
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
musicJethro Tull frontman leads ‘prog rock’ revival
Sport
Gareth Bale dribbled from inside his own half and finished calmly late in the final to hand Real a 2-1 win at the Mestalla in Valencia
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
comedy... writes Jenny Collier, the comedian whose recent show was cancelled because there were 'too many women' on the bill
News
House proud: keeping up with the Joneses now extends to children's playhouses
newsLuxury playhouses now on the market for as much as £800
News
news
Life & Style
Stir it up: the writer gets a lichen masterclass from executive chef Vivek Singh of the Cinnamon restaurants
food + drinkLichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines
Extras
indybest
Arts & Entertainment
Ken Loach (left) and Mike Leigh who will be going head to head for one of cinema's most coveted prizes at this year's Cannes Film Festival
filmKen Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
News
The academic, Annamaria Testa, has set out on her website a list of 300 English words that she says Italians ought to stop using
newsAcademic speaks out against 'Italianglo' - the use of English words in Italian language
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit