Manuel Pellegrini has explained the reasoning behind his decision to leave Joe Hart out of his Manchester City for their trip to the KC Stadium.
The England international may be established as the number one choice for both club and country, but he has now been left out of the Blues side for the past two matches. On Wednesday night he was given a watching brief as City beat Sheffield Wednesday 7-0 in the Capital One Cup, and he was again left out as the champions took three points off Hull City on Saturday afternoon.
Instead, Willy Caballero was given the gloves for both fixtures. The Argentine was signed from Malaga during the summer for a fee of around £5million, with the intention of providing Hart with some serious competition for a place in the starting XI. And Pellegrini has explained his reasons for selecting the 33-year-old, who helped his side to a 4-2 win against Steve Bruce’s side.
“I think for Willy it was good to play not just one game but to play two in a row,” said the Chilean coach, who knows Caballero well having also coached him during their time together at Malaga. “Joe played eight games in 32 days, a lot of games for a goalkeeper. I have a squad of 22, 23 players and I make rotations because I think it is better for the team. In this case I think it was good for Willy.”
Having drawn their last two games on the back of a shock 1-0 defeat at home to Stoke City, it was important that the Blues collected maximum points at the KC Stadium. And when Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko fired them into a 2-0 lead within 11 minutes, it looked as though they were in for a comfortable afternoon. However, an own-goal from Eliaquim Mangala and an Abel Hernandez strike gave the Tigers parity, before Dzeko and Frank Lampard wrapped up the win.
“It was very important because we cannot drop more points,” Pellegrini, whose side are now third in the Premier League standings, told Sky Sports. “Chelsea are five points in front of us, so for us it was very important to win away. It was important to win away because we lost important points at home against Chelsea and Stoke, so we must recover by winning away games.”
Is Hart’s long-term place in the City side in serious danger, or is Caballero likely to play nothing more than a bit-part role? Have your say by joining the discussion below.