Manchester: Manuel Pellegrini said yesterday that he 'trusts' Joe Hart and has praised the Manchester City goalkeeper's improvement in recent weeks.
Hart was dropped by Pellegrini after his error at Stamford Bridge in late October gifted Chelsea a 2-1 win. He was consequently replaced by Costel Pantilimon.
The England international had to wait almost two months for another Premier League appearance, but he has subsequently helped City to climb to the top of the table.
Ahead of tonight's clash with Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium, the keeper's return to form has been welcomed by Pellegrini.
"He has improved a lot," said Pellegrini. "It was very important for him to have a rest. Now you can see good performances and that is very important for the team. He's improved everything.
He was not taking good decisions, maybe his stats were not 100 per cent, so having a rest was very useful to him. I trust him because I see him working every day."
Speculation continues to surround Hart's long-term future but City boss Pellegrini wants to simply focus on the present. "In football it is very difficult to talk about the future.
Football is about the present, especially for players, and more so for managers, it is about performances and results," he said.