Pep Guardiola: Joe Hart exit may return to haunt me

Pep Guardiola admits Joe Hart could make him live to regret the decision to allow him to leave Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola: Joe Hart exit may return to haunt me

By Andy Hampson

Pep Guardiola admits Joe Hart could make him live to regret the decision to allow him to leave Manchester City.

Former City goalkeeper Hart returns to City with new club Burnley this afternoon.

Hart won five major trophies at City, including two Premier League titles, before falling out of favour after the arrival of Guardiola as manager in 2016.

The 31-year-old spent two seasons out on loan at Torino and West Ham before joining the Clarets in a £3.5million permanent deal last summer.

Guardiola said: “I know how tough it was for the fans, for the people. He was an incredible keeper and had incredible results here in the club. That’s why it was not easy for me, to take a decision.

“I’m not always taking decisions that are right. I have made in my career good decisions and very bad decisions, but you have to take it in the right moment and at the right time. Sometimes I took it and afterwards I’ve regretted. That’s what it is. That happens.”

Hart joined City from hometown Shrewsbury in 2006 and made 348 appearances.

His sudden displacement from the side in 2016, first by Claudio Bravo and then Ederson, meant that the club were unable to pay proper tribute to the player for his services at the time. The champions have addressed that this week with the naming of the goalkeeper training pitch at the City Football Academy after him along with the unveiling of a mosaic bearing his image. Hart was invited to a an opening ceremony yesterday and a presentation will be made on the pitch this weekend.

Hart said: “There have been some incredible goalkeeping legends throughout Manchester City’s history, and I feel privileged that the club has chosen to recognise me amongst that number.”

Guardiola meanwhile said, contract talks had begun with winger Leroy Sane. The 22-year-old German has two-and-a-half years remaining on his present deal.

But the Catalan feels Jadon Sancho is unlikely to return to Manchester City while he is manager. Sancho, 18, shone on his England debut against Croatia last week having made big strides since leaving City for Borussia Dortmund last year. His emergence has seen him linked with a big-money move back to a Premier League club but, having decided to quit City, Guardiola would not expect him back at the Etihad Stadium.

The City manager said: “I don’t know, in football you never say ‘no’, but I don’t know. I think when he decided to move on from here it is because he doesn’t want to be here. When he doesn’t want to be here I think he’s not looking forward to coming back here.”

Sean Dyche has vowed Burnley will not shy away from the formidable challenge today. Burnley have not beaten City away since 1973.

Dyche said: “We know how good they are, everyone knows that. It’s not hard to work out. We certainly go into these games open-minded. We know the challenge, we know the statistics, and all the stuff everyone talks about.

“We’ve got to go out and take on the game, which we have done. There’s only been a couple of blips. This season a couple I put down to fatigue and over the last few seasons we’ve been at least competitive in every game. I think that’s a key marker for us to go there with a competitive mindset.”

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