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Aug 14, 2010

Mancini wants to keep dropped Given at City

Roberto Mancini says he will fight to keep Shay Given at Manchester City despite handing Joe Hart the number one jersey in the Premier League opener at Tottenham.

• Tottenham 0-0 Man City: Hart shines at Lane

Hart fully justified his selection at White Hart Lane as big-spending City somehow survived a first-half onslaught to head back to the north west with a goalless draw.

But that will be no consolation to Republic of Ireland star Given, who revealed last week he would consider quitting the club if he lost his place in goal.

The Italian refused to reveal what he would do were a rival club to bid for Given before the transfer window closes.

"I hope it doesn't arrive. I hope that Shay can stay here with us," said the Italian, who confirmed Hart would be his number one "for now". "We have time, another 20 days, until the end of the market. I respect every decision but I hope that Shay stays here."

He added: "At this moment, Joe plays. Because we have four competitions, we need Shay. I'm sorry for one goalkeeper but today I chose Joe and I'm very happy to have Shay Given. I spoke to him. He's a big name, he's a big goalkeeper, he respects my decision."

The keeper controversy perhaps prevented Mancini from giving Hart due credit for what was a world-class performance today.

The 23-year-old produced a string of wonder-saves from Jermain Defoe, Tom Huddlestone and Benoit Assou-Ekotto to keep Spurs at bay as his multi-million-pound team-mates went AWOL.

City, who handed debuts to three of their summer signings, improved immeasurably after the break, allowing Mancini to shrug off their first-half malaise.

"I think that this point here, after the first half, is a good signal for us," he said. "I think that we must improve but we're missing four, five players. I think that we need three or four weeks together."

He added: "Tottenham played with the same team they played last year. For us, it's different, and Tottenham is a good team. I think in the second half we improved our play."

Mancini was hoping to wrap up the signing of James Milner tomorrow, while Mario Balotelli did not feature this afternoon after completing his move from Inter Milan yesterday.

Carlos Tevez was named captain ahead of Kolo Toure, with Mancini stating he felt it would be good for the striker to lead the side.

The City boss was also hopeful Aleksandar Kolarov would be fit for Thursday's Europa League play-off first leg at FC Timisoara.

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