Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini says goalkeeper Joe Hart will be fit to face Swansea on New Year’s Day, despite needing stitches in a gash to his face.
The England international made several saves as Pellegrini’s men needed Eden Dzeko’s solitary strike to down Crystal Palace. He played on with a wound just below his left eye after a collision with Cameron Jerome.
“Joe Hart has a cut beneath his eye but it’s not dangerous and he can play,” the Chilean said at Monday’s pre-match press conference.
His performance against the Eagles on Sunday came in the wake of another impressive display in the Blues’ 2-1 win over Liverpool on Boxing Day at the Etihad Stadium.
The 26-year-old was dropped for seven Premier League games after a series of mistakes that culminated with an error that allowed Chelsea’s Fernando Torres to score the winner at Stamford Bridge in October.
But Pellegrini, prior to the Crystal Palace game, described the goalkeeper as the “best in England.”
“Everyone knows why Joe Hart is the first choice goalkeeper here,” Pellegrini added.
“He’s played for two or three years at a very high performance; he can do it so we hope that he will continue in the same way.”
City travel to Swansea just a point behind leaders Arsenal and Pellegrini admitted his delight at a month that has seen them make up valuable ground.
“It was a fantastic month for us: we played 10 games and we won nine and drew one,” Pellegrini said.
“In the Premier League we won six of the last seven so we have recovered points. Arsenal were six points ahead of us. It’s very important to finish the year in this position. We would have liked to have been first but we have recovered points.
“In the first six months we have prepared for all the competitions we have been in and now, in the second half, we try to win.”