Sunday 23 October 2016

Manuel Pellegrini backs goalkeeper: Joe Hart is human and can make mistakes

Published 31/10/2015 | 19:01

Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart made a late error but his side came back to beat Norwich 2-1
Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart made a late error but his side came back to beat Norwich 2-1

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini backed goalkeeper Joe Hart after a late error by the England number one almost cost his side victory against Norwich.

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Hart gifted the Canaries an 83rd-minute equaliser in their clash against the Barclays Premier League leaders at the Etihad Stadium as he dropped a cross and Cameron Jerome pounced.

But City snatched a 2-1 win with a Yaya Toure penalty in the 89th minute after Norwich captain Russell Martin was sent off for blocking a Raheem Sterling shot with his arm.

Pellegrini said: "It was unfortunate. Sometimes these things happen. Joe is human and he can make mistakes.

"Apart from that error, there were only two shots at him in the game and he saved those because he is a very good goalkeeper.

"We played against a difficult team that played very well."

City were frustrated by the resilient visitors until finally breaking through with a Nicolas Otamendi header from a corner midway through the second half.

They then looked to be cruising towards victory until Hart's blunder precipitated a chaotic finish out of keeping with the rest of the game.

Hart atoned for his mistake with a fine save from Martin Olsson after Toure had levelled and City missed a second penalty stoppage time, Aleksandar Kolarov firing wide after Sterling was tripped.

By then Toure had been substituted but had not gone quietly. The Ivorian seemed annoyed to be taken off and exchanged words with Pellegrini as he left the field.

Of the overall performance, Pellegrini said: "I think we deserved to win the game. We started from the beginning to try and score.

"Norwich played very well because they defended very well with 11 players near their box.

"It was very difficult for us to create space but we created three or four chances that we missed.

"Finally, we opened the scoring with a beautiful goal from Nicolas Otamendi.

"Unfortunately they drew level with a very unlucky goal but in the last 10 minutes the team demonstrated its personality and character."

Norwich boss Alex Neil also had to deal with a goalkeeping mistake after John Ruddy lost the ball in the build-up to the decisive penalty incident.

Neil said: "I thought we limited Man City to very little but if you're going to lose a goal away to the top teams, you want it to be from a bit of quality, so to lose one to a set-piece is disappointing.

"Then we made mistakes at the back for the second goal and it cost us the game. It is just disappointing. He (Ruddy) knows he has made an error.

"But it won't take us long to get over it. We will analyse it, we will get through it. There is a lot of positive stuff.

"It is the first time I have played three at the back, with two wing-backs dropping in to make five. I think it worked really really well. Manchester City struggled to break us down."

Press Association

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