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Guardiola expects Hart to fight for Manchester City place

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola expects Joe Hart to respond to being dropped for their opening Premier League game against Sunderland.

The England international was surprisingly left on the bench in favour of Willy Caballero for City’s 2-1 victory over David Moyes’ side at the Etihad Stadium.

The decision is set to spark further speculation over the goalkeeper’s future, with City having been heavily linked with a bid for Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen even before Saturday’s game.

But Guardiola has no doubt that Hart will fight to regain his starting spot, telling BT Sport: “Of course. They are all professionals and they will fight for their place, no doubt about that.”

City went ahead after four minutes through Sergio Aguero’s penalty, but they failed to capitalise on their dominance of possession before Jermain Defoe netted an equaliser 19 minutes from time.

Sunderland debutant Paddy McNair turned into his own net with just three minutes to play to hand City maximum points, but Guardiola was pleased with his side’s overall display despite their narrow victory.

“There were many, many good things. We were constant, we fought, and that’s how we won,” he said.

“We should have been a little more aggressive but these things have to happen so you know exactly what to do for the next games.”

Guardiola was delighted with the performances of new boys John Stones and Nolito and would not rule out the prospect of more signings before the transfer window closes on August 31.

“They were amazing, they were a team, they fought,” he said. “We spoke many times about what they should do as a team and they did it. It’s only a first step but it’s important to start winning.

“It’s not time to speak about that [transfers] today. Anything can happen before August 31 but I’m happy with the squad we have.”

Sat 13 Aug, 2016
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