Pablo Zabaleta claims struggling Joe Hart has whole Manchester City squad behind him after troublesome fortnight

By Tim Hyde

Pablo Zabaleta claims the whole Manchester City squad is behind England number one Joe Hart after his prolonged dip in form.

Hart has been subject to heavy criticism after recent spell of poor performances, including costly errors for both England and the Blues.

Full-back Zabaleta revealed Hart was bitterly disappointed with the goal conceded on Saturday’s 3-1 win against Everton but expects Hart to rediscover his best form.

“We saw him during the week a little bit down. We need him to come back again to his best,” he said.

“Sometimes it happens in football but that’s why team-mates need to support all the players. He knows we’re all behind him.

“Of course he’s upset. It’s really hard for any player when you know you’re not doing well. He has a personality so he needs to show that he’s coming back to his best.

“And I’m sure he will do because he’s a great goalkeeper.

“We’ve seen him for a long time doing very well so that’s why it’s strange to see him like this.

“Sometimes it happens in football but that’s why team-mates need to support all the players. He knows we’re all behind him.”

It is not the first time Hart’s form has been questioned over the last couple of seasons despite winning the golden gloves award the past three years.

City’s shot-stopper might have done better for Everton’s goal in City’s comfortable win at the Etihad Stadium.

Romelu Lukaku’s shot was well struck and from close range, but Hart got a good hand to it only for the ball to bounce into the net anyway.

Since arriving from Shrewsbury in 2006 Hart has made the number one jersey his own, but with a continued decline in form back-up Costel Pantilimon could receive a call up from boss Manuel Pellegrini.

Zabaleta said: “He’s been here for a long time and the fans are behind him, everybody’s behind him. I felt very good when I saw the crowd giving massive support to him. We need to be all together in this time.”

City boss Manuel Pellegrini admitted he thought hard about picking Romanian Pantilimon ahead of Hart before deciding to stick with the England keeper.

 “Costel is another great goalkeeper and he is putting pressure on him, and that is great,” said Zabaleta.

“I think for everyone, we know we’ve got two good players in every position and we need to feel the competition. That is normal.”

Image courtesy of CityTV via YouTube, with thanks.

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