Joe Hart Thinks Manchester City Axe Is a Good Idea, Says Manuel Pellegrini

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistNovember 5, 2013

Manuel Pellegrini believes Joe Hart has reacted positively to being dropped from Manchester City’s starting lineup, even claiming the goalkeeper thinks it is a good idea.

The Chilean boss—who recently axed the English stopper from his first-team plans—claims the 26-year-old will benefit from a break, per Kevin Francis of the Daily Star.

"Joe has reacted well. He’s a professional player," Pellegrini said. "For him it is a good thing to have a rest after playing so many games in the last two-and-a-half years."

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 30:  Goalkeeper Joe Hart of Manchester City looks on from the dug out during the Capital One Cup Fourth Round match between Newcastle United and Manchester City at St James' Park on October 30, 2013 in Newcastle upon
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Costel Pantilimon is also profiting from the arrangement, securing his only run in the first team since arriving from Politehnica Timișoara in 2011.

The giant Romanian followed up his recent clean sheet in the Capital One Cup with a first start in the Premier League during City’s 7-0 hammering of Norwich.

Pellegrini has confirmed Pantilimon will start his third consecutive game in the Champions League tie with CSKA Moscow, and he also took a moment to reveal he isn’t sure when Hart will be reinstated, per Francis’ report:

I don’t know when he [Hart] will come back and, for this game, Pantilimon will play. He is working without any problems and supporting Pantilimon.

Of course, nobody wants to be out – that is only natural. But Joe thinks it will be useful for him.

Hart’s form has largely been on a downward spiral since City captured the Premier League title in 2011-12, forcing many to claim the England No. 1 has become a victim of his own confidence.

His continued run of mistakes has hindered Pellegrini’s debut season so far, summed up by the player’s decision to burst off his line against Chelsea.

While Matija Nastasic’s poor back-pass also heightened trouble at Stamford Bridge, Hart shouldn’t have given Fernando Torres an easy opportunity to win the game.

The goalkeeper’s decision-making and ability to deal with simple threats have been sloppy for a while, signalling a rest is needed.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 02:  Costel Pantilimon of Manchester City celebrates during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Norwich City at Etihad Stadium on November 2, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Gett
Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Pablo Zabaleta suggests all Etihad players know what is expected of them and remains typically level-headed when discussing Pellegrini’s decision to stick Hart on the bench, per Francis’ report:

That is football. The manager makes decisions. We know the performance of everyone should be good week in, week out because we have two players in each position who can play.

Pantilimon faced just one shot on target in the game against Norwich, per, suggesting he is likely to receive more action in the upcoming European tie with CSKA.

Should the Romanian continue to perform with confidence, Hart’s positioning in the City dugout may become increasingly permanent.

That would spell bad news for his World Cup hopes as England prepare for November friendlies against Chile and Germany.

Roy Hodgson was always expected to experiment in those forthcoming matches, but decent outings by the likes of Fraser Forster could raise serious doubt over Hart's status as England's No. 1 heading to Brazil.