Hart: Manchester City can still retain the title

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Joe Hart has admitted yesterday's Boxing Day loss to Sunderland was painful, but says Manchester City have already proved they can claw back points in the Premier League title race.

City's 1-0 defeat at the Stadium of Light, twinned with Manchester United's 4-3 comeback victory at home against Newcastle, meant Sir Alex Ferguson's side have now extended their lead at the top of the table to seven points at the halfway stage of the season.

The 25-year-old conceded that the situation is far from ideal, but emphasised that the mood in the camp at the Etihad Stadium was still positive, and that he and his team-mates remain confident in their ability to turn things around again come May.

"We've had leads, United have had the lead - it's to-ing and fro-ing at the moment," Hart told City's official website. "We're a team of winners, it's hard and it hurts but we've got to move on.

"It is hard to lead and it is hard to chase too. We've clawed points back before, we proved it at the end of last year - we've just got to believe."

Roberto Mancini criticised his players for being too weak in the aftermath of Wednesday's defeat, which came courtesy of a goal from former City star Adam Johnson, whose speculative effort slipped under Hart and into the corner, to give the Black Cats all three points.

The England goalkeeper was disappointed to see the shot squirm past him at the near post, before highlighting the importance of ensuring an individual and collective response follows.

"First and foremost someone stamped on Zaba - it was a blatantly obvious foul but what can you do?

"A few of our players have stopped but Johnno has seen me sniffing for a cross and he's struck it well with that stiff ankle of his and it just deviated under my hand unfortunately.

"The only way we can change it is (City's record at Sunderland) by winning here next year but for now we only have Norwich on our minds."

Joe Hart
Manchester City
Premier League
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