Last Updated: Mon, 06 May 2013 12:50
Roberto Mancini has backed his decision to leave Joe Hart out of the starting XI when Manchester City play Wigan in the FA Cup final.
Mancini has opted to play his number two keeper, Costel Pantilimon, in all of City's domestic cup ties this season and he has put in some decent performances for the north-west giants.
With the Etihad Stadium outfit reaching next Saturday's Wembley showpiece, it was thought that the Italian tactician might select Hart, in a bid to field his strongest side for City's only chance of silverware this term.
But he has opted to remain loyal to his Romanian back-up man and will not go back on his word to give Pantilimon a run-out in the prestigious fixture.
Mancini admits that Hart was disappointed but feels it is only right to give his understudy a chance of glory, given what he has already done in the competition.
"Pantilimon deserves to play," he said. "Joe won the FA Cup two years ago, he won the Premier League last year, he is the best keeper in England and I think he should be happy his second keeper can play in a big game.
"I know he wants to play but we decided at the start of the season it was important for Pantilimon to play in the two cups."
Hart will be in action on Tuesday night when City host West Brom in the Premier League and punters looking to use a free bet might fancy the home side to bounce back from a disappointing draw against Swansea at the weekend to take all three points from the Baggies.
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