Joe’s feel­ing the hurt of derby day dis­as­ter

Wilmslow Express - - SPORT -

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.”

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