Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart determined to 'ride wave' to Premier League title


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The Independent Football

Joe Hart is determined to "ride the wave" all the way to Premier League title glory.

The Manchester City keeper was a virtual spectator last night as the Blues claimed a 1-0 win over Manchester United to regain top spot in the Premier League table with only two games remaining.

Victory at Newcastle on Sunday, followed by a home win over QPR on the final day of the season will be enough for City to claim their first championship since 1968, unless United record improbably high wins over Swansea and Sunderland.

Like his manager Roberto Mancini, Hart is determined not to look too far ahead.

However, the England keeper can feel the momentum is with City. And he doesn't want it to stop.

"We deserve to be in the position we are in - we are a good team, with good players and good fans and we are going places," he said.

"Hopefully we can do it this year. You have to ride on that wave and enjoy it.

"There is no point in being robots. You have to feel that vibe and we felt the fans."

It is somewhat amusing that after all the hype that accompanied the build-up to last night's game "the biggest ever in the Premier League" according to the more enthusiastic pundits, City should now have to prepare for an even more important match.

Most United fans have already written Sunday's visit to Newcastle off, believing their team blew their chance last night.

Their City counterparts are less certain.

Years of playing second fiddle to their city rivals has taught them to be wary, knowing the art of comedy mishaps is in their DNA.

Mancini has adopted the stance of insisting Sir Alex Ferguson's team remain favourites, despite the current league positions.

And Hart, whilst not quite going that far, is keen to point out that a meeting with Newcastle, at the Sports Direct Arena, is not something to be taken lightly.

"We were pleased to win but we have moved on," said Hart.

"It's all about Newcastle now, which is pretty similar to what happened earlier in the season when we won at United - it was a great feeling but then we had the next game.

"It's all very well winning one game. But you can't just win one game if you want to do well. You need to win every one.

"Now we go to Newcastle to face a very tough side in a tough stadium, hoping we can get a good result."

Although he has only just celebrated his 25th birthday, with the exception of Micah Richards, Hart has more experience of life at City than any of his team-mates.

Signed from Shrewsbury during the cash-strapped Stuart Pearce era, Hart is now on his fourth City manager, his third owner and - probably - his third trophy.

"Me and Micah are still here, but apart from that it has been all change," he said.

"It has been exciting the way we have evolved as a club and I am proud and pleased to be part of that.

"We are coming of age, but we have the opportunities, we have the right people around us and the right squad and the right fans so it's all good.

"You live for nights like last night, and hopefully there will be many more to come in the years ahead."

Certainly, City approached their task with far more conviction than their opponents last night, to the extent that Hart didn't even have a shot to save.

"I wasn't in the game," said Hart, who reported a swollen ankle after the match.

"United came with a game plan and we ruined it by scoring a goal before half time. We were going to soak up the pressure in the second-half and look to score again, so I'm a bit gutted we didn't win by more than one.

"It was never in question that we would be up for it. We are not little boys, we are a good team full of great players who have been involved in some big things.

"Everyone was buzzing to get out on the field and it was unfortunate only 11 could play because we have a massive squad of 24 with everyone fit, and everyone able to do a job."