Belfast Telegraph

Joe Hart will return for Roma Champions League test, says Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

By Martin Hardy

Joe Hart will return to the Manchester City side for the Champions League clash against Roma tomorrow.

The England goalkeeper was surprisingly omitted for Saturday's 4-2 victory over Hull, with Willy Caballero retaining the gloves following a midweek appearance in the Capital One Cup.

That raised questions over Hart's position, with Caballero considered a more credible challenger for the number one shirt than predecessor Costel Pantilimon.

But City boss Manuel Pellegrini was quick to explain it was a straightforward case of squad rotation and later confirmed Hart would be back on duty against the Italians.

Asked directly if the 27-year-old would be returning against Rudi Garcia's men, the Chilean said: "Yes, yes. He is in a very good moment also.

"It's a crucial game because Roma won their first match and we lost. It will be a very tough group and we cannot drop points here at home. It's very important for us to win that game."

Caballero will be expecting to see action again soon, though, having kept a clean sheet in the 7-0 thrashing of Sheffield Wednesday, while he had little chance to keep out either of Hull's goals – an unstoppable own-goal from Eliaquim Mangala followed by an Abel Hernandez penalty.

And City captain Vincent Kompany underlined the notion that the Argentinian is more than just a willing deputy.

"We're lucky to have two top-class goalkeepers and there is not much in it," he said.

"I have gained so much playing with Joe and I am gaining a lot playing with Willy.

"At this level there can't ever be much between the goalkeepers because it's a long season and you need everyone."

Two goals from Edin Dzeko ensured champions Manchester City overcame a resilient Hull City.

The visitors had taken a two-goal lead after Sergio Aguero's volley and a Dzeko strike from long range.

But Eliaquim Mangala headed into his own net, then conceded a penalty, from which Abel Hernandez made it 2-2.

However, Dzeko struck again from close range, then substitute Frank Lampard hit his fourth goal in a week to secure the win.

Hull boss Steve Bruce said: "We had an awful start but it shows the character that we've rolled our sleeves up and got back into it.

"For a good hour, it could have gone either way.

"We gave it a right good go, it just didn't go for us. If you're champions of this country you've got to be a class act and they are."

Pellegrini said: "We were very unlucky with two individual mistakes.

"These things can happen. He [Mangala] was very unlucky with the own goal and after that he arrived late for the penalty but we continue to trust him because he is a very good player who had very bad luck.

"It was very important to win three points here because we cannot allow to drop any more points on Chelsea."

Belfast Telegraph


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