Hart denies Capello's claims he must learn to be more focused

 

Joe Hart last night delivered a barbed response to Fabio Capello's suggestion that the Manchester City goalkeeper lacks concentration in games, insisting that the England manager was wrong and asking: "What else could I be considered to be concentrating on?"

Hart was slow to respond to the David Bentley free-kick, which let Nikola Zigic score Birmingham City's first equaliser in the 2-2 draw at St Andrew's on Wednesday. Added to a moment's indecision in the second half and an error to gift Leicester a goal in the FA Cup last month and the goalkeeper is not instilling much confidence in his defence.

Capello insisted last month that Hart "has to understand when you play with the first team you have to be focused every game. He has to be focused only on the game." Hart was clearly piqued by this and, though not referring directly to Capello, gave an eye-catching response to the suggestions the Italian made. "It is quite frustrating to hear," Hart said at an event at Eastlands to promote healthy eating among children. "Sometimes I don't know whether my personality of actually enjoying a game of football comes into question. Maybe I will have to take some boring lessons. People are entitled to their opinions and can say what they want, but when it comes to football I focus.

"I don't know what else there is to think about when you are in goal, what else I could be considered to be concentrating on. It is not as if there is a movie going on in the background or you are doing your homework and a fly comes into the room and you go after it. There is a ball. That is it."

Hart does not lack confidence when it comes to challenging questions about his on- and off-field activities. His response last month to questions about the fact he had been drinking included the line that he could not be expected to "live like a monk". However, Capello may be surprised by the reaction of a player who is expected to feature for England in Denmark next week.

Hart certainly aspires to grow into a legend at City, contributing last night to the flood of tributes for his club's former forward Neil Young, who has lost his battle with cancer at the age of 66. Young's example showed "that by doing something like that at a great club like Manchester City you can be put down as a legend," Hart said.

Another City player some way off Young's status is Mario Balotelli, who has declared that he believes he can be fit for the Manchester derby a week tomorrow. One of the knee specialists who worked with him during his enforced break in Vermont is accompanying him back to England to maintain his rehabilitation. "I'm dying to get back to playing: without football I am not Mario," said the striker, who has been concerned all season about the lack of muscle strength around his damaged knee and is working to build it up with one of the clinicians assigned to his case by the world-renowned specialist Bill Knowles. "I'm giving it my all [to try to be available for the derby]."

Aleksandar Kolarov has questioned manager Roberto Mancini's claim after City's draw with Birmingham that the club can no longer win the Premier League title. "I think we can do better than just the first four. I think we can maybe win the title. If we try to play like in other months, we can win the title. The championship is long and we will try to do our best."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower