Sunday 21 January 2018

Pep Guardiola: Joe Hart is a legend of Man City but it's impossible to keep everyone happy

Manchester City's Joe Hart blows a kiss to fans as he celebrates at the end of the match last night
Action Images via Reuters / Carl Recine
Manchester City's Joe Hart blows a kiss to fans as he celebrates at the end of the match last night Action Images via Reuters / Carl Recine

Chris Bascombe

Pep Guardiola stood firm on his decision to replace Joe Hart, admitting it was ‘impossible’ to keep happy those demanding the keeper stays at Manchester City.

Although Guardiola gave Hart his first start of the season against Steaua Bucharest, with Claudio Bravo on the brink of a £17 million move from Barcelona this represented a farewell for the England keeper.

“I am here to take decisions. I make a lot of mistakes. Some good and some bad but I try to be honest,” explained Guardiola.

“I can’t deny what I feel. I was honest with Joe and all the players in the squad. Joe right now is a player for Man City and if he has to play he will play.  I am so happy that today he played at the level he has.

“Joe is still a player for us. I know he is a legend for this club. He is one of the reasons the club is what it is. I know he helped make this team one step above so I am so happy the fans treat him like this and love him.”

City’s fans chanted for Hart not to be sold, and declared him the club’s number one despite the signing of his replacement being a formality. Bravo was in attendance at the Etihad for the 1-0 second leg win.

“They can express what they feel,” said Guardiola.

“I would like all my decision to make everyone happy but it is impossible. You have to take a decision to impact on the life of the players. We have 28 players. 17 can not play.

“From the beginning I arrived here with a lot of information and I analysed. I have to take a decision and I can not deny what I feel. If the fans are not happy I can understand. Joe has done more than I might do at this club. These guys like Joe, Silva and Yaya make this club how it is. I am here and I must take a decision.

“Some of the people will agree and some will not. I’m not always right but I have to take the decision to come and people to follow. That’s why City asked me to be the new manager.”

Guardiola could take some satisfaction from the ease with which his side progressed into the group stages. What looked a tricky tie before the first leg was negotiated with ease with a 6-0 aggregate win.

“After a short time we made two good games,” he said.

“We are ready in the Champions League and these players and the club deserve it. We were better in this game and last week. It was not easy playing against ten players behind the ball. In the second half we improved. Now is a day to celebrate our qualification for the Champions League and say big congratulations to the players.”

City will have to check the fitness of Kelechi Iheanacho who appeared to suffer a hamstring injury in the latter stages.

"I don't know how it is yet," said Guardiola.

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