Joe Hart insists Manchester City’s players will not be distracted by the hype surrounding Pep Guardiola’s forthcoming arrival as they fight for trophies on four fronts.
City returned to Premier League action at Sunderland on Tuesday, their first match since the announcement that Bayern Munich boss Guardiola would replace Manuel Pellegrini at the end of the season.
Sergio Aguero scored the only goal after 16 minutes, but the visitors’ impressive start subsided and they were indebted to some fine saves from England goalkeeper Hart to hold their relegation-threatened opponents at bay.
The 2011-12 and 2013-14 champions are three points behind Leicester City as they prepare to host the league leaders on Saturday and Hart believes focusing on the impending appointment of Guardiola would be a mistake.
He told the Manchester Evening News: That [Guardiola’s arrival] will take care of itself. Right now my focus is with the players I am with and the management staff I am with.
“The summer is the summer. It is very exciting for everybody outside of our team, but in our team it is the moment we live in.
“Manuel is the manager, we are with each other and that’s how it’s going to stay.
“It’s the club’s decision that Manuel won’t carry on next season, therefore it has been worked together with him, so he has enough time to sort himself out, and next season is next season.
“That couldn’t be any further from our mindsets right now. We have Manuel as manager and are fighting on all fronts.”
In their statement confirming Guardiola would be in place next term, City revealed they first held discussions with the former Barcelona coach in 2012, during Roberto Mancini’s managerial tenure.
The Italian’s spell at City ended the following year amid rumours of dressing room unrest but Hart maintains the current squad is fully supportive of Pellegrini, as the League Cup finalists retain ambitions in the FA Cup and Champions League.
“I can’t talk for everyone, but I think it’s pretty obvious there is no revolt,” he said.
“That is not the reason he is not managing us next season.
“We’ve enjoyed playing under him. We play expressive football and have been there or thereabouts from the moment he stepped through the door, winning stuff, not quite winning stuff, and we are going to keep going on with that.
“You can see from his demeanour and how he is that he is in control of the situation.”