Pep Guardiola refuses to shut door on Joe Hart's Manchester City future
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 14/08/16 11:56pm
Pep Guardiola claims his decision to leave out Joe Hart for Manchester City's clash with Sunderland could prove a one-off, and gave no indication that the goalkeeper could be sold.
The new City head coach sprang a surprise in his first match in charge by dropping the England goalkeeper in favour of Willy Caballero.
The decision is certain to fuel speculation over the 29-year-old's future but Guardiola says his thinking could change for Tuesday's Champions League qualifier at Steaua Bucharest.
The Spaniard, who saw his side beat Sunderland 2-1 in their Premier League opener, said: "Of course he can play. All the players in the squad can play.
"I have a lot of respect for Joe, a lot of respect for his career. I know how good a goalkeeper he is, but today I decided for Willy. That is all.
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"I think Willy had a good pre-season - really, really good. He gave me today a lot of confidence for his build-up play, for his personality and that's why I choose him.
"In the end, I have a squad and I decide what I see. I have to create a team spirit. It's not about tactics, it's not about anything, and I decided today for this line-up.
"That does not mean in the future they are not going to play or they are going to play."
Some reports in the British and Spanish press have claimed Guardiola would like more of a ball-playing goalkeeper in the mould of his former Bayern Munich number one Manuel Neuer.
But while Guardiola has not denied this is how he would like a goalkeeper to play, he insists Hart - who joined up for pre-season training later than others after international duty - could still be his choice.
He said: "Willy trained in more training sessions than Joe. We spent a lot of time working two on one, three on two, four on three, using the goalkeeper in training more. That doesn't mean Joe can't do that."
Guardiola, who also left out Yaya Toure, said: "I am very pleased with our performance. We were a team. We played very good in the first 10-15 minutes.
"In the second half until the goal from Defoe, we played really, really well. We made a really good build-up process and the spirit was perfect.
"We kept going, got the result. For the first game, there were so many good things that I didn't expect to see. When we don't play good, I will be the first to say we played bad - but I think we deserved our victory."