Champions League: 5th November Preview
Joe Hart will remain on the bench when Manchester City host CSKA Moscow in Champions League Group D on Tuesday, manager Manuel Pellegrini has confirmed.
The England goalkeeper paid the price for a poor run of form when he was dropped for understudy Costel Pantilimon in the 7-0 thumping of Norwich City on Saturday.
It ended a run of 123 consecutive Premier League starts for the 26-year-old. Pellegrini decided the time was right to take Hart out of the firing line and confirmed he would remain among the substitutes for the visit of the Russians. “Joe has reacted very well,” he said.
For him this is a good thing after playing so many matches over the past two or three years. He has been working no problem, supporting Costel. Nobody wants to be out but he thinks a rest will be useful for him too.”
Pellegrini has also warned CSKA Moscow fans against repeating their racist abuse of City midfielder Yaya Toure on Tuesday. The sides meet again in the Champions League two weeks after Toure was targeted during City’s 2-1 win, leading to Uefa punishing the Russian club. “The CSKA fans made a mistake,” said Pellegrini.
“Uefa acted and gave them the punishment it deserved. “I hope we can leave this in the past and it will be an example for them.”
City’s remaining Group D games
5 November: v CSKA Moscow (home)
One of the single-tiered ends of Arena Khimki will be closed when CSKA host Bayern Munich on 27 November. Pellegrini said the club’s supporters had a responsibility to behave properly because “they have a World Cup in their country” in 2018.
The Chilean coach also revealed Vincent Kompany, Richard Wright and Stevan Jovetic are out injured but the rest of his squad was ready to keep up the pressure on group leaders and last season’s winners, Bayern Munich.
“It would be a great achievement to qualify for the next round. For a team that is trying to grow every day, it is very important,” he added. The Group D clash represents City’s first home encounter with Russian opposition while CSKA have visited England four times in the past decade – earning a draw on three of those trips, most recently 3-3 against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the group stage in November 2009.