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Hart taken out of the firing line
Published : 13 Sep 2010 10:17:22
| Submit Comments| Comments (57)| Printable Version1/1Play SlideshowClose MapJoe Hart is set to be taken out of the firing line as City travel to Salzburg for their opening Europa League group game on Thursday night. But the young England keeper is not about to lose his number one spot to Shay Given on a permanent basis, manager Roberto Mancini insists. The Italian is considering handing the gloves to Given for the tricky game in Austria ? but if he does get the nod, it won?t be a reflection on Hart?s error, which handed Blackburn a gift goal in Saturday?s 1-1 draw at Eastlands. After City qualified for the group stages of the competition, Mancini said that it might afford Given a chance to play. Hart began the season in brilliant form to seize his place in the team, and make himself undisputed first choice for Fabio Capello?s England team. Wobble But he suffered a wobble in form during the national team?s 3-1 win in Switzerland last week, and then produced a bad mistake to cost the blues two points on Saturday. Mancini was in no mood to point fingers, any more than he was about to blame Carlos Tevez?s astonishing open-goal miss at the Stadium of Light for the defeat there. In fact, he was more concerned about the Blues? profligacy in front of goal, pointing out that if Adam Johnson, Carlos Tevez or Jo had taken good chances, Hart?s error would not have been so glaring. He said of his goalkeeper?s rick: ?These things can happen in football, but after Sunderland and Blackburn, I think we have finished giving out gifts. ?I checked after the game and we had 25 chances to score a goal, and we need to be harder when we are near the goal. ?Luck is going against us, but we know we are a good team, and must continue to work at it.? Skipper Tevez shrugged off an ankle injury sustained in midweek for Argentina but his touch in front of goal let him down. Mancini added: ?It was very difficult for him as he only arrived the day before the game. But I still thought he had a good match.? Johnson continued his sparkling England form in the game, but failed to cap some splendid wing work with a goal. Mancini said it was not a case of Johnson having to add finishing to his growing list of attributes ? he proved he knows where the net is by scoring for England against Bulgaria and Switzerland last week. But the Wearsider now has two goals in four England appearances, while his record for his club is not quite so impressive. He has just one goal in 21 games for City, although he could argue the quality tempers the lack of quantity ? it was the gorgeous last-minute curler at Sunderland last season. Mancini wants to see more of that, and for Johnson to snap up some of the easier chances which his ability creates.Said the manager: ?Adam played very well but had two chances early in the game when he must score a goal. ?It?s not that he needs to add that to his game ? he showed for the national team he can score goals ? now we just need him to do it for us as well!? Mancini has urged his players to dig deep and try to win the next six games, even though he feels the team is going through the kind of adversity which afflicts every team?s season at some point. Those six games are Europa clashes with Red Bull Salzburg and Italian giants Juventus, a Carling Cup tie at West Brom and league matches against Wigan, leaders Chelsea and Newcastle. Mancini said: ?In every season you have difficult moments, and we are in a difficult moment because we have a lot of important players injured. ?We have also been very unlucky, and gave Blackburn a gift. ?But we need to put these things right with hard work, and hopefully in two or three weeks we will start to get players back. ?We must also improve when we come up against teams who put all of their players behind the ball, as we will face a lot of teams like that. Break ?Our difficult moment should only last until the next international break, and after that we should have more players in the squad. ?There are six games until then, and we must try to win all of them.? Wayne Bridge could make his comeback from a foot fracture in Salzburg but Germany defender Jerome Boateng?s debut was again postponed and he is now pencilled in for next week?s Carling Cup tie at West Brom. Dutch midfielder Nigel de Jong should also be fit for Thursday?s trip, while Gareth Barry can expect to return after being rested against Blackburn. Greater Manchester Police have launched an investigation after a glass bottle was thrown as players were leaving the field after City?s clash with Blackburn. Police have confirmed that they are looking into the incident. No player was hit and there were no reports of any injuries. The bottle has been seized by police and an investigation is under way.