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We'll learn from Gunners defeat; Hart backing City to return to form.

Byline: ANDY HAMPSON

GOALKEEPER Joe Hart believes Manchester City can only improve after their heavy loss to Arsenal.

City paid the price for the fifth-minute sending off of Dedryck Boyata at Eastlands on Sunday as the Gunners ran out comfortable 3-0 winners.

The result saw City drop from second to fourth in the Premier League as both Arsene Wenger's men and Manchester United overtook them on goal difference.

But Hart feels the performance, which kept City in contention until Alex Song smashed the Gunners' second after 66 minutes, can only yield a positive response.

"Everyone was devastated," said Hart. "We have been playing really well recently and it is a shame we went down to 10 so early.

"We were playing against a quality side, so it was to be expected that they would get the result, but I don't think the 3-0 reflects how well we did.

"It was obviously a one-off in that Dedryck got sent off with four minutes gone, so you're playing against one of the best teams in Europe and you're one man less.

"I thought we played really well and drew a lot of positives from it.

"We are a well-oiled machine now and we are going to push forward from this.

"We've had a very successful start to the season but stuff like this makes you realise what kind of a league you are in and only something positive can come from it."

Hart feels it reflects well on City that the players are so disappointed to have lost, even though they are still joint second in the table.

City will now hope to get back to winning ways when they travel to struggling Wolves next weekend.

"That's the good thing about being at this club - the games will come thick and fast," said the 23-year-old England keeper. "You can't rest for one minute, it's so exciting.

"Everyone is gutted we're not second in the league but we are joint points-wise.

"You can only look at that positively and we are right up there with the leaders of the Premier League."

Hart helped keep City in the game after Samir Nasri had put Arsenal ahead by saving a penalty from Cesc Fabregas.

City boss Song's opportunistic strike effectively finished them off before substitute Nicklas Bendtner added a late third.

Hart believes the competition in City's squad will help them bounce back quickly.

Hart, who has supplanted Shay Given as first-choice keeper this season, knows just how fierce the battle for places at the City of Manchester Stadium is.

"Shaun (Wright-Phillips) and Zaba (Pablo Zabaleta) were not even in yesterday's squad, and I was thinking what a ridiculous squad we have got at our disposal," Hart said.

"Everyone's position is being pressed, and that's a real positive for the team.

"I think we have got everything we need to be successful."

Meanwhile, Roberto Mancini believes his City side proved in defeat that they are serious Premier League title contenders on Sunday.

Roberto Mancini The Italian said: "I am very proud of my players because we showed we are one of the best teams in the Premier League."

CAPTION(S):

City boss Roberto Mancini Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart cannot keep out Alex Song's strike on Sunday at Eastlands to put Arsenal 2-0 ahead in a 3-0 win
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 26, 2010
Words:553
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