Joe Hart gave one of the most honest and refreshing interviews, following Manchester City’s last gasp 3-2 defeat to Real Madrid on Tuesday night, and his manager, Roberto Mancini, had the nerve to round on him.
Coming off the pitch, the City keeper, who had a special game between the sticks, was collared by a TV reporter to give his assessment of City’s display, a match in which they squandered a 2-1 lead with minutes to go and lost the chance of an historic win at the Bernabeu.
Hart reflected with emotion on what was essentially a headless chicken display when the finish line beckoned. He refused to take the positives; thank God! There were none.
As he rightly said: “It's hard to come off the field after losing 3-2 and be positive. I'm really sorry. We're not a team that should come here and pat ourselves on the back for doing well. We're a team that gets results.”
Hart was right to criticise the team; anything less after the game would have been the same old pathetic media-trained garbage that the football-watching public have to stomach every match.
Mancini is a master of mind games during interviews, but he should not round on his keeper for speaking the truth.
Maybe Mancini should look at himself in the mirror and wonder why his team – who, let us be honest, have been awful in the Champions League since they joined – failed to get across the line.
If his team want to start winning at the top level, then they need mental toughening. Hart was merely pointing out the obvious.
City can take solace from the fact that the bookies still rate them highly in the Champions League odds; the Citizens are 62/5 with Betfair to win at Wembley in 2013.