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Monday 5 December 2016

Joe Hart: Being beaten by Real Madrid will stand to us for the season

Manchester City's Joe Hart
Manchester City's Joe Hart

Goalkeeper Joe Hart is confident Manchester City will become stronger and fitter for the start of the season despite debutant Fabian Delph leaving the pitch on a stretcher during their 4-1 pre-season friendly defeat against Real Madrid.

Delph, who signed from Aston Villa after making a U-turn over his switch to City last week, lasted less than 20 minutes after a tussle with Luka Modric resulted in his early exit.

City will now face an anxious wait to determine the severity of the injury to their £8million signing, with their opening Barclays Premier League match against West Brom just over two weeks away.

However, Hart is not reading too much into the "disjointed" performance against Real in the International Champions Cup game at Melbourne's MCG.

He told Sky Sports 1: "It's pre-season at the end of the day. We can't get too wrapped up in the result.

"A lot of us haven't had many minutes and we're still missing the South American guys so we're still going to get stronger and fitter for the start of the season."

Moments after Delph had been replaced by Jesus Navas in the 20th minute, Real added insult to injury as an incisive move resulted in Karim Benzema volleying the opening goal past Hart.

Cristiano Ronaldo added the second shortly after before Pepe made it three with a header from a corner.

Yaya Toure pulled one back for City in first-half stoppage time from the penalty spot but Real winger Denis Cheryshev added Real's fourth with 15 minutes to go, and Manuel Pellegrini's side never looked like launching a comeback.

When asked what City would take from the game, Hart said: "Not a great deal, we didn't play very well. We didn't play to the pitch and we were a little bit disjointed but we will take things away from it."

But the City goalkeeper was impressed with the performance of £49million signing Raheem Sterling, adding: "He got a bit of treatment but that's what he's going to get. You fully expect him to bounce off players but he gets up and keeps going and he's going to be a great player."

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