Joe’s feeling the hurt of derby day disaster
JOE Hart has reflected on Sunday’s derby drubbing as one of his worst days in a City shirt.
But the 27-year-old keeper has warned that there is no time for the subdued Blues to start feeling sorry for themselves as they still face a huge task to ensure they finish in the top three.
Asked about the day, Hart said: “That’s one of my worst in a Man City shirt, definitely.
“It’s hard to take. We’ve won enough of them to know how to lose properly though and we weren’t good enough after the first 15 minutes.
“We let ourselves down and we let our supporters down. But there are six games to go now and they are so big for us.”
Hart had told his teammates before the game that they owed their supporters a big result – and he was one of perhaps three players who could escape the blame as City retreated into a shell in the face of a fierce United challenge.
The England man has been one of City’s positives all season, putting in some big displays, but he is baffled as to why his team, after going joint top on New Year’s Day, have embarked on a run of four wins in 15 games, in all competitions.
“It would be easier to win games if I knew what was wrong with us but we’ve played well and been unfortunate in some games,” he said.
“Not many teams have put us to the sword like that. United know what they are doing, they took their chances. I didn’t have an overly busy day but United took their chances.”
City are now adrift of United and Arsenal, and are nervously looking over their shoulders at Southampton and Liverpool.
But Hart says it is essential that City finish third, and so avoid having a tricky two-legged play-off in August in order to qualify for the group stages of the Champions League.
At that point, City could still be active in the transfer market, with players knowing they are leaving, and reinforcements yet to arrive – and the prospect of two games against a club like Lazio, Galatasaray or CSKA Moscow is not one to relish.
The Blues still have to go to Tottenham, who also retain faint hopes of sneaking into that fourth qualifying place, and the final game of the season, at home to Southampton, could yet take on a big significance.
Four of their final six games are at home and in normal circumstances, the visits of West Ham, Aston Villa and QPR would be a virtually certain nine points.
But this dreadful run has taken the ‘normal’ out of City, and they face a real scrap to ensure that not only do they battle it out with the Gunners and the Reds for second and third, but that they also nail down a Champions League place.
Hart said that the bedraggled Blues need a day or two to clear their heads before turning to the prospect of getting their season back on track.
“I’m hurting from this defeat, there’s a lot of emotion running through me,” said Hart.
“Let’s see how it feels tomorrow, we’ll think about it and we’ll go again.
“It’s essential to try to finish third. We’ve got to get our heads down and win these massive games.”