Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says he left goalkeeper Joe Hart on the bench for the 2-1 win over Sunderland because he was less ready to cope with the opponents’ “high pressing”.
Guardiola, who made his Premier League debut at home to the Black Cats on Saturday, has traditionally favoured goalkeepers highly capable in distribution and cool under pressure, such as Victor Valdes at Barcelona and Manuel Neuer at Bayern Munich.
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This combined with the two high-profile errors made by Hart, 29, against Wales and Iceland during England’s ill-fated Euro 2016 campaign led many to speculate over the Shrewsbury-born shot-stopper’s status as No.1 at City.
Guardiola’s decision to bench Hart for Argentinian Willy Cabellero, whom he praised for his assertiveness in “build-up play”, has only added to the bleak outlook confronting Hart currently.
“I think Willy [Caballero] make a good pre-season – really, really good,” Guardiola told post-match reporters. “He gave me a lot of confidence for his build-up play, for his personality and that’s why I chose him.”
Guardiola indicated that although Cabellero impressed him, with more training sessions Hart could yet force his way back into his line-up.
“I took that decision [to leave Hart out],” he continued. “Today, in the world, people are afraid to take the decisions I like to make. But in the end I have a squad and I decide what I see.
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“That doesn’t mean in the future they are not going to play. I have a lot of respect for Joe, a lot of respect for his career. I know how good a goalkeeper he is but today I decided for Willy, that’s all. I thought Sunderland played high pressing and Willy had trained in more sessions than Joe. We have spent a lot of time working in training. That doesn’t mean Joe can’t do that. Just today, it was for that reason.”
Culled from Squawka