Joe Hart, Roberto Mancini squawking over that goal


Do you know which goal I’m talking about? Ninetieth minute yesterday at the Bernabeu. Cristiano Ronaldo cuts onto his right foot, releases. Vincent Kompany ducks. Joe Hart freaks out. Ball goes in. Javi García collapses like he’s been shot.

It was a horrible way to lose any match, but City had led this one twice. They were up on Real Madrid in the Spanish capital. So close to getting the result, no wonder this one hurts.

So afterward, it’s no surprise to hear some dissension, though it’s usually caused by more than this Joe Hart comment (via The Guardian):

“You can’t go 2-1 up and lose the game. We can only blame ourselves. They are a very good team and so are we. We dug deep, got a lead twice and threw it away. It’s hard to come off the field after losing 3-2 and be positive.”

Seems pretty standard stuff, right? Not to Manchester City coach Roberto Mancini:

“Joe Hart should stay in goal and make saves. If anyone should criticize the team it should be me, not Joe Hart. I am the judge, not Joe Hart.”

True, Roberto, you are the judge, but not a particularly fair one. This response seems disproportionate. It’s almost as if you want to blame Joe Hart for the final goal, don’t want to do so publicly, so you’re using this issue as a proxy for your frustrations.

Lie down on this coach, Roberto. Let’s talk.

As one further hint of Mancini’s state of mind, consider his comments when asked about Vincent Kompany’s role in the goal (ducking away from the shot):

“I don’t know why – I saw the goal, but I haven’t asked him why this happened. Usually he doesn’t do this, but the mistake is that he did. We are disappointed for this. You can meet Madrid and lose. We didn’t play well in the first half, but by the second half we played well.

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like Mancini is going out of his way to avoid blaming Kompany while being particularly harsh on Hart. Is that what you’re reading, too? It’s a view I’d agree with. I think Hart is far more at fault on the final goal than Kompany, but Mancini’s going about this all wrong.

Mancini’s not overtly criticizing Hart’s role in Real’s winner. He’s talking about Hart’s post-match comments, as if it’s wrong to express disappointment at allowing two goals in four minutes.

Is it just me, or is this not adding up? It all seems so passive aggressive.