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Midfield void haunts Everton


Joe Hart welcomes No. 1 competition

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini insists he's pleased with his side's performance despite their loss on penalties to Liverpool in the International Champions Cup.

Joe Hart insists he is relishing the competition from new signing Willy Cabellero for his position as Manchester City's first-choice goalkeeper.

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Manager Manuel Pellegrini signed Argentine goalkeeper Caballero from his former club Malaga for 4.4 million pounds to replace Hart's former deputy Costel Pantilimon, who was released at the end of last season and has since joined Sunderland.

England international Hart finished last season as City's No. 1 as the club regained the Premier League title but was dropped by Pellegrini for seven league games at the end of 2013.

But although Cabellero is expected to provide him with a stiffer challenge for his place than the departed Pantilimon, Hart insists he is pleased the 32-year-old has signed.

He told City's official website: "It's great. He is obviously a great keeper. I have seen him play for Malaga. It is nice to meet him and realise what a great guy he is. I am really enjoying working with him."

Hart made his first appearance of City's preseason programme in Wednesday's draw with Liverpool as Pellegrini's side went down 3-1 on penalties after a 2-2 draw.

The 27-year-old, who came on at the interval, made three fine saves and, after having a post-World Cup break, said he was pleased he was able to talk Pellegrini into picking him.

He added: "[I was] in at the deep end. The manager wasn't too sure whether we were going to be able to play but we managed to persuade him. Willy did a great job [in the] first half and then I came on."

Key European club fixtures

French Ligue 1 -- Aug. 8
FA Community Shield: Manchester City vs. Arsenal -- Aug. 10
German Super Cup: Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich -- Aug. 13
English Premier League -- Aug. 16
Spanish Super Cup: Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid -- Aug. 19 and 22
Spanish La Liga/German Bundesliga -- Aug. 23
Italian Serie A -- Aug. 30

City's goals were both scored by Stevan Jovetic, who now has four in his last two games after also recording a brace against AC Milan.

And manager Pellegrini predicted the Montenegrin will have a major impact this season.

"I have said before that Stevan is a very important player for us and he proved again what an asset he can be," the Chilean said in his news conference.

"He had a number of different injuries last season but now he is fully fit. I'm sure if he continues in this way he will show why he is here. If he's fit all the year he will be a very important player for us."


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