Don’t panic: No Hart attack for Pellegrini over starting line-up after limp Community Shield defeat

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has refused to confirm Joe Hart’s number one spot after Arsenal humbled his side 3-0 in the Community Shield.

The Citizens limp display questioned whether they have the fight to regain their Premier League crown ahead of their opener against Newcastle on Sunday.

But the performance of new £4million goalkeeper Willy Caballero – who was twice beaten too easily – has not caused the Chilean manager to back the England number one goalkeeper.

“All the 22 players that we have in our squad must demonstrate who is number one in all the positions,” Pellegrini said.

“The goalkeeper and the other positions of the team are exactly the same.

“Joe finished last season playing very well. We’ll see next Sunday which 11 starts against Newcastle.”

Hart was an onlooker from the bench as Caballero floundered at Wembley.

Yaya Sanogo’s opener tamely beat him and, although there was nothing he could do about Aaron Ramsey’s smart strike before the break, Olivier Giroud’s dipping volley exposed the Argentine’s positioning.

And the depleted Etihad outfit, who were without World Cup stars like Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero as well as injured Alvaro Negredo, could offer little response as the Gunners cruised to a second trophy in two Wembley appearances.

An injection of quality will be just what City need and Pellegrini admitted that the half-hearted run out did not reflect their pre-season form.

“We had two different faces. First half we didn’t play with the pace we did the whole pre-season and Arsenal scored two goals because we didn’t defend very well,” he said.

“The second half we played well, with possession of the ball, we had chances to score. It was really near to the team that I saw in pre-season.

“It is always bad to lose, but we don’t need to worry.”

Pellegrini also insists that he will stick with the best 11 for each game regardless of nationality – even though the Blues face a reduced 21-man squad and homegrown player requirements in Europe after breaching UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules.

He said: “It doesn’t matter if they’re English players, American players, Spanish players. For me it’s exactly the same.

“In every competition, we play I’ll play the team that I think is best to win that game.”

With Kompany and his fellow World Cup wonders set to return to action this week, Pellegrini insists his side will be stronger next week as they look to repeat their 4-0 romp over the Toon last year.

He said: “We have seven players who have just worked for five days. They were not considered for this game.

“We have another five players who have just worked for eight or nine days.

“It’s difficult to be ready in two weeks. Aguero, (Pablo) Zabaleta, (Martin) Demichelis, Kompany, (Bacary) Sagna, Fernandinho just arrived seven days ago. They started working on Monday.

“They will have 15 days before we start the Premier League so we’ll see during the week which of them are ready and which of them are not ready.”

Star midfielder Yaya Toure also believes that without their top-tier performers the Blues suffered – and the side are committed to putting that right.

“It’s difficult because we don’t have all the lads back from the World Cup,” he said.

“The target is the Premier League and the Champions League and we want to do as well as possible. We need to be sharp and bounce back against Newcastle because it’s going to be a very important game for the beginning.”

Despite the powerful midfielder being outrun by Ramsey for Arsenal’s crucial second goal just before the break, Toure claims that the hard work he has been doing in training will pay off.

“We’ve been working very hard over the last two weeks to prepare the body for the important games coming up,” he said.

“It was a good test for us and we need to move on and focus for the next game that is coming.”

However, Belgium defender Dedryck Boyata refused to join Toure and his manager in pointing at the missing first-teamers as an excuse for the demoralising defeat.

“We were missing players but we have a big enough squad that we should be able to deal with that and play our game,” Boyata said after a rare start.

“We don’t want to talk about the missing players – we’re only talking about the players who played today.

“It was a hard game and everyone is really down because we wanted to leave here with a win.”

Ahead of their first fixture, Pellegrini could add Eliaquim Mangala to his squad before the big kick-off.

The Blues have been linked with a second raid of Porto all summer after tying up the £12million deal for Fernando, who struggled to make an impression against Arsenal.

France defender Mangala could now make the switch to Manchester.

Pellegrini told BT Sport: “Some papers are maybe missing but we continue having interest in the player, he wants to come so we will see what happens in the week.”

Image courtesy of GameFollowUp, via Youtube, with thanks

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