Pablo Zabaleta has backed under pressure teammate Joe Hart after the 'keeper was criticised for his display against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

City were humbled by the German champions this week thanks to goals from Franck Ribery, Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben - Alvaro Negrado made it 3-1.

Hart was widely criticised for his performance on Wednesday night but has been publicly backed by teammate's and England boss Roy Hodgson.

Real Madrid 'keeper Casillas has been muted as a potential replacement for Hart after speculation grew about a possible departure for the Bernabeu icon.

The Spaniard has become second choice at Madrid to Diego Lopez and has yet to impress new boss Carlo Ancelotti.

Despite the rumoured interest in Casillas, Zabaleta believes he is not needed at the Etihad.

"At Manchester City we do not need Casillas," Zabaleta told Marca. "He's been linked with other clubs. I hope he stays in Madrid."

Hodgson maintained Hart is still number one for the national side after he called him up to the squad for the crucial World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland later this month.

Zabaleta is not the only City player to publicly back Hart, with both Micah Richards and Samir Nasri positive the 'keeper will bounce back.

"He will bounce back because he is a strong character," Richards has been quoted as saying. "He knows he could have done better. We all make mistakes."

Nasri said: "I think that when you are a top player like Joe, you don't have problems with confidence.

"Everyone is behind him at the club."

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#Premier League
#Manchester City
#Joe Hart
#Iker Casillas
#Real Madrid
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