Heroic Hart acknowledges Barcelona brilliance as Man City crash out of Europe

first_img Manchester City and England goalkeeper Joe Hart Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart acknowledged Barcelona’s superiority as Manuel Pellegrini’s side crashed out of the Champions League at the hands of the Catalans.Hart produced a magnificent rearguard performance, totalling ten saves in the 90 minutes, but his efforts were in vain as City lost 1-0 on the night and 3-1 on aggregate.England’s number one kept the scoreline respectable, with only Ivan Rakitic’s clever first-half strike escaping his clutches, and Hart was quick to recognise the hosts’ quality.“It’s disappointing – we gave ourselves a chance and didn’t take it,” said the City shot-stopper.We’ve gone out to a magnificent side, they’re going to get a lot of plaudits for how they play and they’ve got fantastic players, but that’s the second time in two years which is disappointing for us.“I had a lot to do, but I wanted it to count. I said that after the first leg, and it hasn’t.“But even when we lose – even when I make mistakes, and it’s all my fault – I am still proud of my efforts, and of my team, and we will keep going.City’s defeat mirrored their exit from last season’s competition in exactly the same circumstances, meaning they have failed to reach the last eight four years in a row.Hart was humble when reflecting on his own individual performance as the City stopper continually kept Barcelona’s front three of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar at bay.Messi, in particular, was in frightening form, but Hart emerged victorious in his ongoing personal duel with the Argentine maestro by frustrating him time and time again.Hart said: “It was busy. Messi is a phenomenal player, definitely the best in the world. I just tried to smother them as best I could because I know full well they’re thinking they’ve got to pass at all times.“From there my job is to rush them, with quality players it’s difficult to do sometimes, and I got a bit of luck on my side.”Despite Barcelona’s dominance, City squandered a great opening when Sergio Aguero’s controversial penalty was saved, and Hart rued the miss as a defining moment.“Make no bones about it, Barcelona were the better team in both legs, but we hung on in there, defended and made saves, and made tackles, then we had a big chance but unfortunately we couldn’t take it,” said the dejected England international.“We have to learn to take our chances. Sometimes in Europe you won’t be the better team and you have to somehow find a way to win.” 1last_img read more