MX23RW : Wednesday, December 19 12:14:54

Guardiola: I may live to regret decision to let Joe Hart leave Manchester City

Former City goalkeeper Hart returns to Manchester with new club Burnley on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola admits Joe Hart could make him live to regret the decision to allow him to leave Manchester City.

Former City goalkeeper Hart returns to Manchester with new club Burnley on Saturday.

Hart won five major trophies at City, including two Premier League titles, before falling out of favour after the arrival of Guardiola as manager in 2016.

The 31-year-old spent two seasons out on loan at Torino and West Ham before joining the Clarets in a £3.5million permanent deal last summer.

Guardiola said: “I know how tough it was for the fans, for the people. He was an incredible keeper and had incredible results here in the club. That’s why it was not easy for me, to take a decision.

“I’m not always taking decisions that are right. I have made in my career good decisions and very bad decisions, but you have to take it in the right moment and at the right time. Sometimes I took it and afterwards I’ve regretted. That’s what it is – that happens.”

Hart joined City from hometown club Shrewsbury in 2006 and established himself as first choice in the 2010-11 campaign, after being loaned to Birmingham the previous year.

His sudden displacement from the side in 2016, first by Claudio Bravo and then Ederson, meant that the club were unable to pay proper tribute to the player for his services at the time.

The champions have addressed that this week with the naming of the goalkeeper training pitch at the City Football Academy after him along with the unveiling of a mosaic bearing his image.

Hart was invited to a special opening ceremony on Thursday and a further presentation will be made on the pitch this weekend.

Guardiola said: “I think there is no doubt how important he was and is. Tomorrow you will see how people appreciate what he has done for this club.”

Despite Hart’s pedigree, Guardiola felt Hart was unsuited to his style of play, which places emphasis on goalkeepers playing out with their feet.

Guardiola was impressed by Hart’s professionalism during the period in which he was out of the side.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Guardiola said: “Normally the player thinks of himself, himself, himself – it’s not easy – but he put himself a little bit in my position and said he understood perfectly. That’s why I appreciate a lot his behaviour.”

Hart, who made 348 City appearances, said the pitch renaming was a “huge honour”.

He added: “Manchester City has been a huge part of my life and my career, and I’m immensely proud of what I and my team-mates achieved in that period.

“There have been some incredible goalkeeping legends throughout Manchester City’s history, and I feel privileged that the club has chosen to recognise me amongst that number.”

Guardiola meanwhile said, “Yes, the club are working on it” when asked if new contract negotiations had begun with winger Leroy Sane. The 22-year-old German has two-and-a-half years remaining on his present deal.

Guardiola added: “(It is) not (just) for the recent performances. We value the quality of the player, the human being, how settled he is.”


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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool1714303773045
2Manchester CityMan City17142148103844
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs17130431161539
4Chelsea17114235142137
5Arsenal17104337231434
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd177552929026
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves177461919025
8Everton176652422224
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham177372525024
10Watford177372325-224
11Bournemouth177282528-323
12Leicester CityLeicester176472121022
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton176382024-421
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle174491422-816
15Crystal Palace1743101423-915
16Cardiff CityCardiff1742111733-1614
17Southampton172691632-1612
18Burnley1733111533-1812
19Huddersfield TownHuddersfield1724111028-1810
20Fulham1723121642-269

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