Pep Guardiola showed he is not afraid to make unpopular decisions by allowing Joe Hart to leave Manchester City on loan, according to Peter Schmeichel.
England goalkeeper Hart had been a mainstay of the City XI under previous managers Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini, and it previously seemed unfeasible that he would leave the Etihad Stadium.
But the announcement of Guardiola as head coach cast Hart’s future into doubt with the Catalan openly stating his reservations that the 29-year-old is capable of playing the style of football he prefers.
Hart was overlooked at the start of the season for Willy Caballero and the signing of Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo left the distinct possibility he would be third choice at the Etihad.
A temporary move to Torino subsequently followed, and Schmeichel – who became a star name with Manchester United but enjoyed a brief stint with City in the 2002-03 season – says Guardiola made a statement of intent.
“They [City] finished fourth, don’t forget that. That was very bad, for what they spent. So he’s had to make some really tough decisions,” Schmeichel told Omnisport.
“He [Guardiola] already knew that coming in he wanted Claudio Bravo there, because he wanted him with the way he plays with his feet.
“Joe Hart’s a fan favourite and he’s let him go out on loan. That’s a statement that we all understand. He’s come in and he’s said ‘I’m the boss, don’t mess with me’. That’s what he said.”
Hart endured a difficult Euro 2016 with England, making high-profile mistakes in the group-stage win over Wales and the last-16 defeat to minnows Iceland.
But Schmeichel believes Hart’s performances in France had little bearing on Guardiola’s decision.
He added. “He’s had a look at Joe Hart in the last year and thought ‘I need to change him’. It’s got nothing to do with what happened in the Euros.
“It’s got all to do with the fact he doesn’t believe Joe Hart is good enough with his feet.”
Peter Schmeichel was speaking on behalf of Nabufit. Available on Google Play and the App Store.