Football: No excuses for Manchester City display at Stoke - goalkeeper Hart

Manchester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho (left) and midfielder Raheem Sterling leave the pitch after losing.
Manchester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho (left) and midfielder Raheem Sterling leave the pitch after losing.PHOTO: AFP

STOKE-ON-TRENT, United Kingdom (AFP) - Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart said that fatigue was no excuse after the Premier League leaders crashed to a 2-0 defeat at Stoke City on Saturday.

Manuel Pellegrini's side were hoping to put pressure on the teams below them, but instead they were ripped apart by Stoke, with Xherdan Shaqiri setting up Marko Arnautovic for the hosts' two early goals.

"It was a disappointing start and we could not recover from it," Hart said.

 

"We didn't play well today. A few of the lads are feeling it from the games we are playing, but that is not an excuse. We need to put in at least a 7/10 performance every game and we are not doing that."

City have struggled during the absence of injured captain Vincent Kompany, but Hart said that there was enough depth in their squad to compensate.

"Vincent Kompany is a massively important part of our squad, but we have a good squad here," said the England international.

"After a 2-0 loss it is easy to say, but we will stick together as a squad. Conditions were tough, but that's English football.

"Nobody was able to walk off the pitch with an excuse. Both teams played on it and Stoke deserved to beat us today. We can't accept how we played."

Stoke could have won the game more comfortably, with Arnautovic squandering several chances to complete his hat-trick, and produced some scintillating football despite the swirling wind at the Britannia Stadium.

Mark Hughes's men have now beaten Chelsea and City in successive home games and Shaqiri believes there is more to come.

"It is important that we play how the coach wants and today we see that from the first minute we want to win the game. The two goals were very nice," said the Switzerland winger.

"We have a very good team. We can win against every team in the Premier League. This year the league is weird - every team can lose.

"We must work hard together and that is the key for the season. We have a lot of potential."