Manchester City’s manager, Manuel Pellegrini, insisted yesterday that the gap between his own side and Bayern Munich was not as vast as the midweek Champions League demolition suggested, while he also claimed he was debating whether to drop Joe Hart from the side to face Everton today.
Asked whether it was too much to expect City to win the European tournament this season, the Chilean said that “we will try to do it” and he used the evidence of the club’s narrow 2-1 pre-season defeat in the Audi Cup at the Allianz Arena as evidence.
To the proposition that it would take the club another two years at least to challenge for the Champions League, after the deficit with the reigning champions had been so exposed, Pelegrini said: “No, it’s not a conclusion to draw after the game.”
Goalkeeper Hart was grim-faced as he walked into the club’s training base shortly before 10am yesterday and Pellegrini revealed three hours later that the 26-year-old had told him, one to one, that he feels he failed the team in the 3-1 defeat to the Germans.
Hart certainly felt that the extent of criticism he received after earlier mistakes for England and City at Aston Villa was disproportionate. Against an Everton side who have been one of City’s bogey sides – they have beaten City in seven of the last 10 Premier League encounters – Pellegrini will try to decide how Hart would respond to the blow of being dropped.
“He continues with the trust of all the team and with our trust so we hope he will recover from what he did last match,” Pellegrini said. “I repeat, it’s a very difficult decision and we will see tomorrow what is my final decision. Really at the moment it’s very difficult. We will see what’s the best decision.”
This will be a moment for the power of motivation which City saw in Pellegrini to come to the fore. “I think football is the present and that it passes,” he said. “It’s very important to analyse what we do every match, but after the match it is finished – the good things and the bad things. You must think of the next game.”
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