The Sun (Malaysia)

Pellegrini backs Hart

> Anyone can make a mistake, says City manager after hard-fought win against Norwich


MANUEL PELLEGRINI was adamant Manchester City deserved their 2-1 victory over Norwich despite almost losing the Premier League leadership because of Joe Hart’s error.

Yaya Toure’s late penalty eventually kept City on top of the table following Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy’s error.

Ruddy flapped at a Jesus Navas cross, then was caught out of position as he chased the loose ball and appeared to foul Fernando before Raheem Sterling’s goalbound shot was handled by Norwich captain Russell Martin, who was sent off.

No-one celebrated Toure’s winner with more gusto than Hart, who had made his own embarrassi­ng mistake just minutes earlier when he dropped the ball to Cameron Jerome, who fired home Norwich’s equaliser after Nicolas Otamendi’s opener.

City could have won by a greater margin, but Aleksandar Kolarov missed a second penalty with the last kick of the game after Robbie Brady brought down Sterling.

They remain in pole position, ahead of second placed Arsenal, and City boss Pellegrini was in a forgiving mood as he discussed Hart’s howler and his team’s fighting spirit.

“Joe Hart is human. Anyone can make a mistake. He made two very good saves during the match as well, because he is a very good goalkeeper,” Pellegrini said.

“Of course I think we deserved to win. We tried to score from the beginning. Norwich defended very well, and it was very difficult to create the space.

“We created three or four chances, but we scored through a beautiful goal from Otamendi.

“They drew level with what was an unlucky ball for us. It was not good play from them.

“We demonstrat­ed character and belief in the last eight minutes.

“We scored a clear penalty and missed another. We struggled in creating space at times, but I think we deserved three points.”

Norwich manager Alex Neil told his players to cut out the individual errors after their chances of a point slipped away.

The Canaries’ fourth successive League defeat angered Neil, who was unhappy with Ruddy’s mistake and the way his team defended the corner from which Otamendi headed City’s opener.

“I think if you look at the goals we’ve been conceding, it’s been down to individual­s,” Neil said.

“The players have got to be big enough and brave enough to deal with situations, and at the moment, we’re not doing that.” – AFP

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