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‘Got to perform’: Manchester City’s Joe Hart issues England warning before do-or-die Montenegro clash

By Pippa Field

Manchester City shot stopper Joe Hart warned England must avoid any slip-ups against Montenegro as they look to take a step closer to the Brazil 2014 World Cup.

While victory tomorrow would see the Three Lions leapfrog their Group H World Cup qualifying opponents into top spot, defeat would leave them five points adrift.

And after surrendering a two-goal advantage at the same Podgorica stadium in a Euro 2012 qualifier 17 months ago, Hart insisted complacency was not an option.

“Tuesday is big – an exciting game for us. We are getting closer to the World Cup finals,” he said.

“We’ve got to perform. Maybe we could be accused of taking our foot off the pedal as we let a 2-0-advantage slip away last time against them when we needed just a point.

“That is not going to be the case this time. We’ve got a job on our hands in an intimidating arena, but we’ve definitely got the capabilities.

“We go there with the intention of doing well against a good nation.”

Having been a virtual spectator in Friday’s 8-0 demolition of minnows San Marino, City’s number one will be expecting a busier night in Montenegro.

But the 25-year-old – who has faced criticism for some of his performances this season – insisted he will prepare as he would any match.

“It’s no different to me. I treat all games the same,” he said.

“Just because I might have had little to do on Friday, I’m not going to be asleep on Tuesday.

“It’s the same build-up, same hype, same adrenalin, whoever you play against.”

Compared to San Marino – ranked joint bottom in FIFA’s rankings alongside Bhutan and the Turks and Caicos Islands – Montenegro sit a lofty 28th in the world rankings.

However, Hart’s City teammate and England compatriot James Milner insisted the players were relishing coming up against stern opposition in their bid to reach Brazil.

“These are the sort of games you enjoy playing in, with the crowd on your back, and when you are getting a lot of stick,” said Milner.

“We will know it well from having been there before. It will be tough.

“It is never easy qualifying for a major tournament. We know Montenegro are a good team and they showed that in their qualifying campaign.

“But we are thinking positively.”

Image courtesy of Umbro, via YouTube, with thanks

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