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Hart Blushing at Ferguson Praise

Written By Dino Hadi Prawira on Thursday, March 8, 2012 | Thursday, March 08, 2012

Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart is flattered by praise from Sir Alex Ferguson, the manager of cross-city rivals Manchester United.

Ferguson said last month he regretted passing up an opportunity to sign Hart from the player's former club Shrewsbury Town for 100,000 pounds.

Hart instead left Shrewsbury for City in 2006, making his name on loan at Birmingham in 2009-10.

The 24-year-old has now secured a role as England's first-choice goalkeeper, and his assured performances this season have prompted Ferguson to acknowledge his mistake in overlooking Hart.

"It's a great honour that Sir Alex Ferguson goes out of his way to mention my name, it's something that hopefully speaks volumes to how I'm playing at the moment," Hart said.

"(Ferguson is) someone I respect greatly, someone I've admired in football, (for him) to say that is a great honour."

"I'm not quite sure what he meant by it but he's got fantastic goalkeepers there at the moment in (Anders) Lindegaard and David De Gea and I'm quite happy on the other side of the city."

The two clubs are closely matched in the English Premier League title race, with defending champions United just two points behind leaders City.

Following United's 3-1 win over third-placed Tottenham on Sunday, Ferguson said his team's experience of championship run-ins would count in their favour as the campaign reaches its conclusion.

But Hart claims City do not feel under pressure from their neighbours, and are instead focusing on matters within their control.

"I think they're quite involved in what they're doing and I think we're quite involved with what we are doing," Hart said regarding Ferguson's comments.

"We're trying to internally win the league and win as many games as possible."

Both of the Premier League's top two are in Europa League action on Thursday, with City travelling to face Sporting Lisbon and United at home to Athletic Bilbao.
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