Saturday 24 February 2018

Hart can leave if he asks to go - Guardiola

Joe Hart has been told he can leave Manchester City by manager Pep Guardiola Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Joe Hart has been told he can leave Manchester City by manager Pep Guardiola Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Jason Burt

It was an eloquently reasoned - but smartly brutal - assessment as Pep Guardiola declared that Joe Hart could leave Manchester City if he wanted to and suggested that Yaya Touré needed to work harder to get back into the team.

"I am here at Manchester City, who have contracted me to try to play the way I like," the City manager stated.

"I am here to try to convince the players. Until the 31st of this month (when the transfer window closes) everything is open. People are coming and people are leaving."

One who is expected to leave is Hart, with Everton his most likely destination, on loan, even though Guardiola also said that he would make the 29-year-old a better player should he stay.

"Of course," Guardiola said when asked if he would sanction a move if Hart asked him to. Hart has lost his place to Willy Caballero and the manager intends to sign another goalkeeper this month, with persistent links to Barcelona's Claudio Bravo.

"I want happiness for the players. I don't want players to stay here if they don't want.

Read more: Mark Hughes on Joe Hart: I never thought distribution was one of his weaknesses

"All the players have a contract. If they decide they want to stay they are going to stay, if they want to leave because they prefer to play every game - I am not speaking about Joe, I am speaking about all the players - I want to live, I want to work, I want to stay with the players who want to stay."

Ahead of today's Premier League fixture at Stoke City, Guardiola revealed he had spoken to Hart during City's pre-season tour to China.

"I was clear with him. I have a lot of respect about him as a person and a goalkeeper," he said. "But Willy is better, right now, in that position. It doesn't mean it is going to be like that in the future. So we have to decide.

"If he (Hart) stays here I want to help him."

Guardiola added: "Maybe Joe will stay and be a player who will fight with to convince me to play (him). It's simple like that."

Guardiola insisted that if Hart did stay then he would get better under his coaching.

"I said to him in the first moment - if he stays he is going to improve," the manager said.

Read more: Pep Guardiola already showing his ruthlessness as he makes a move for Joe Hart's replacement 

"With a goalkeeper the first thing I am looking for is to make saves. That is the most important thing.

"But, after, he has to play with the ball. He has to help us to create a good build-up. That's why I am here."

While Hart has been relegated to the bench, Touré has yet to make the match-day squad and did not travel to Romania for the midweek Champions League game against Steaua Bucharest.

"About Yaya I have a lot of respect and adulation and I know he is going to increase his intensity a little bit without the ball (then) he will be part of the group."

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