x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Man City coach Mancini backs goalkeeper Hart

'Sometimes a keeper can make a mistake but this is normal'.

An error from Joe Hart, left, cost England two points in the World Cup qualifier in Poland.
An error from Joe Hart, left, cost England two points in the World Cup qualifier in Poland.

MANCHESTER // Roberto Mancini has defended Joe Hart after the England international was branded "cocky", arguing that arrogance is an essential part of a goalkeeper's make up.

The former Manchester United captain Roy Keane criticised Hart for what he deemed overconfidence after an error cost England two points in their World Cup qualifier in Poland on Wednesday.

"Every keeper is like this," the Manchester City manager said. "It is important because it's different to another position.

"If you want to be a keeper, you should be cocky. Joe is a good guy, he works very hard, he wants to improve."

And Mancini preferred to hark back a two weeks earlier when Hart produced a string of outstanding saves in the Champions League draw against Borussia Dortmund and a current United player, Wayne Rooney, hailed him as the outstanding shot-stopper in football.

"Last week, Rooney said on Twitter that Joe is the best keeper in the world but today he is cocky," Mancini said.

"It is my opinion that Joe is the best keeper in England and one of the best in Europe. Sometimes a keeper can make a mistake but this is normal."

City travel to West Bromwich Albion today short of midfielders with the hamstrung pair of David Silva and Jack Rodwell joining Javi Garcia, who has a thigh problem, on the sidelines.

Silva will also miss Wednesday's Champions League clash with Ajax but Mancini hopes the Spaniard, along with the Brazilian right-back Maicon, will be fit to return for the visit of Swansea City next week.

First, however, he is anticipating a tough game at the Hawthorns and praised Steve Clarke for his success in his short reign as head coach.

"Many compliments to him because he has done a very good job until now," Mancini said.

"I think West Bromwich are the team that have played the best football [in the league]."

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