Joe Hart set to remain on City bench
Joe Hart is set to remain on the Manchester City bench for Tuesday's Champions League match against CSKA Moscow.
The England goalkeeper was dropped by manager Manuel Pellegrini for Saturday's match against Norwich City, with understudy Costel Pantilimon keeping a clean sheet on his first Premier League start as City strolled to a 7-0 win.
The Romanian is set to keep his place when CSKA travel to the Etihad Stadium for Tuesday's Group D clash, with Pellegrini stating the time is right for Hart to take a break following a series of costly errors culminating in the mistake which allowed Fernando Torres to score Chelsea's late winner against City in the 2-1 victory eight days ago.
"For the moment we must support Costel," said Pellegrini. "Joe made a lot of mistakes, he knows. Not just this year, also last year. So I think for Joe it’s a good moment to stop. But I’m absolutely sure that working hard he will -- I don’t know when -- return to his normal position.
"But I have confidence in Costel, that’s why he’s the second goalkeeper. If I don’t have trust in him I will change it. It’s done and I am sure he will do very well.
"It’s not an answer to do in just one minute. He has had several things that normally happen to goalkeepers.
"We will try to recover him as soon as possible. But he was the first player today who congratulated Costel and the morale inside the team is very, very well.
"Joe is one of the players with him and my duty is to start with the players I think that will give the best performance."
City midfielder Fernandinho believes that Hart losing his place -- for however long it may be -- sends a message to the rest of City's players that their spots in the starting lineup are not secure.
"With the quality we have in our squad, everyone knows how hard they have to work," he said.
"We all know we have good cover in our positions. If the moment is not good you have to work harder. It’s the same for every player.
"We have two very good goalkeepers in Joe and Costel. The manager picks the goalkeeper he thinks is best for each game, like he does with the other players. I’m sure whichever one plays, the team is completely secure, because they are both good goalkeepers.
"We will all support Joe because when we lose, all the team loses, the same as when we win."
A win for City on Tuesday would all but seal their place in the last 16 of the Champions League for the first time, as it would put them six points clear of third-placed CSKA with two group matches remaining, including a home fixture against bottom side Viktoria Plzen on matchday five.