Pellegrini backs Hart despite horror display
The goalkeeper won praise from his boss
despite the England international's error almost
costing the Premier League leaders against
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini
defended Joe Hart after an error from the
England goalkeeper almost cost the Premier
League leaders in their 2-1 win over Norwich
Nicolas Otamendi broke the deadlock after 67
minutes at the Etihad Stadium, powering home
Kevin De Bruyne's corner for his first goal for
the club, but Norwich were level seven minutes
from time when Hart spilt a routine catch on
Robbie Brady's cross to leave Cameron Jerome
with a tap-in.
The mistake ultimately did not prove costly, as
Yaya Toure converted an 89th-minute penalty
to keep Pellegrini's team ahead of Arsenal at the
summit on goal difference.
It was a result that could have been more
comfortable had Aleksandar Kolarov not missed
from 12 yards minutes later, after Raheem
Sterling won his second penalty of the afternoon
deep into stoppage time.
Hart, one of City's most consistent performers
this season, partially redeemed himself with a
vital save from Martin Olsson when the score
was 2-1, and he retained his manager's
backing after the match.
Pellegrini told reporters: "It was unfortunate.
Sometimes, these things happen. Joe is human
and he can make mistakes.
"Apart from that error, there were only two
shots at him in the game that he saved because
he is a very good goalkeeper."
Following the blow of conceding an equaliser
and the prospect of being dislodged from top
spot, Pellegrini was delighted with the character
shown by his players in securing a win
He said: "Norwich played very well. They
defended the whole game with 100 per-cent
concentration and the chances that we created,
"After we scored the goal from Nicolas
Otamendi it opened up the game but,
unfortunately, Joe allowed them to draw.
"The last 10 minutes was the most important 10
minutes from my team. We had the character,
the personality and the trust to go again for the
"We were not finished in the last minutes
because we always felt that we could score
"It is a relief because it is important not to drop
points here at home."
The Etihad outfit are next in action against
Sevilla in a vital Champions League Group D
clash on Tuesday.
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