Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini insists he still has faith in Joe Hart but is yet to decide if he will start this weekend.
City and England goalkeeper Hart is under intense scrutiny after another error-strewn performance in Wednesday’s Champions League loss to Bayern Munich.
Hart was at fault for two of the German side’s goals in the 3-1 defeat at the Etihad Stadium, adding to a growing list of costly mistakes for club and country over the past year.
England manager Roy Hodgson has given the 26-year-old his full backing ahead of the upcoming vital World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland.
Pellegrini is also supportive but claims he has made no selection decision ahead of Everton’s visit in the Barclays Premier League today.
The Chilean said yesterday: “I will decide (today) if he starts.
“I don’t tell you now if Joe will play because the players don’t know yet, but (today) I decide.
“Of course Joe knows he must improve the way he is playing but he has our trust.”
Twelve months ago Hart was widely hailed as one of the best goalkeepers in the world after a brilliant display in a Champions League game against Borussia Dortmund.
Since then his form has been indifferent and already this season he has been heavily criticised after errors against Scotland and Cardiff.
It has been claimed that a lack of serious competition for his place at City and with England could be a factor but Pellegrini, from the club’s point of view, disagrees.
He said: “Costel Pantilimon is also a very good goalkeeper, he has all the rights to play. He is working hard and I am absolutely sure, if it is (today) or another game and he must play, he will do well.” Regardless of that, Pellegrini is confident Hart will bounce back. The 60-year-old said: “Of course, he feels that he didn’t do very well but I think he doesn’t have any problem.
“He continues with the trust of all the team and with our trust so we hope he will recover soon from what he did last match.”
Pellegrini also has other issues to address, Hart’s problems not obscuring the fact City were comprehensively outplayed by Bayern.
City have now lost two in succession following last Saturday’s surprise 3-2 reverse at Aston Villa.
Pellegrini is concerned about the goals conceded in the past week, but insists his players have not lost focus since their derby defeat of champions Manchester United last month.
He said: “They are very different goals but at least four of the six were a lack of concentration and that is very important.
“You must not only play well, you must concentrate for 90 minutes.
“We won here against Manchester United and I told all the players that that game was over and we had to start again from the beginning.
“We lost against Aston Villa but I think we played well. That can happen in a match.
“I am sure nothing that happened last Wednesday we are going to repeat.”
Everton will travel to Eastlands full of confidence as the only remaining unbeaten side in the Premier League.
They also boast a good record against City having won six of the last eight meetings between the clubs.