'Devastated' City seek Baggies revival
Manchester City keeper Joe Hart admits the team is "devastated" going into Saturday's home game with West Brom after seeing their title aspirations fade badly.sports Updated: Feb 04, 2011 08:00 IST
Manchester City keeper Joe Hart admits the team is "devastated" going into Saturday's home game with West Brom after seeing their title aspirations fade badly.
Roberto Mancini's side went top of the table on their last home league appearance three weeks ago.
But since defeating Wolves 4-3 at Eastlands, City have suffered serious setbacks against struggling opposition.
They were hoping to return to winning ways at Birmingham on Wednesday after a 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa.
But, despite twice taking the lead at St Andrew's, they were held to a 2-2 draw by Birmingham and start the weekend eight points behind leaders Manchester United with 13 games remaining.
Hart is refusing to write off City's title hopes, but the England international said it was vital Mancini's side returned to winning ways against West Brom.
"We're devastated. These (Birmingham) are the kind of games we've got to look to be winning and we're not happy with it," said Hart.
"We prided ourselves at the start of the season of being a very tough team to get a goal against and people had to work hard to get it.
"They are coming a bit freely at the moment and it concerns all of us.
"We had that stage of the season where everything hit us or we blocked it and I think it's just around the corner where it'll be that case again.
"We'll only need one at the other end as we'll be keeping clean sheets.
"We're playing against teams that come the end of the season, they couldn't care less if it hits them on the bum and it flies into the top corner or we tackle it in."
With a make-or-break game against United on the horizon, Hart insists there is still everything to play for with City still in the Europa League and FA Cup.
"We're in three cup competitions and we're looking to win every game we play," added Hart. "We've got a massive game coming up against West Brom.
"That's our whole focus at the moment. We've got to try and get the three points at Eastlands on Saturday.
"I think every team in the top five or six will think the same. Everyone wants to get that top spot. You can't really rely on other teams. You can only rely on yourselves."
Mancini could be forced to reshuffle his defence as Micah Richards suffered a nasty looking neck injury against Birmingham while striker Mario Balotelli will not be rushed back and Adam Johnson remains on the long-term injury list with a knee problem.
West Brom, two points above the relegation zone, are waiting on the fitness of leading scorer Peter Odemwingie.
The Nigeria international registered his ninth goal of the season in Tuesday's 2-2 home draw with Wigan before suffering a damaged ankle.
"It is always interesting to play against a big team like Manchester City so I am hoping there will be no difficulties with the ankle," said Odemwingie.
"I enjoy big occasions and big games and this one fits into that bracket. It is easy to prepare for a big game because the pressure is there and you have to go all out.
"It is not like a home game, with not the biggest team, where you think today is going to be less running after the ball.
"With these games, you know you have to be ready 100 percent. It is a good pressure to have."