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Mangala: Hart one of world’s best

CASE FOR THE DEFENCE: Mangala hails Hart

CASE FOR THE DEFENCE: Mangala hails Hart

Eliaquim Mangala has paid tribute to City and England’s no.1 ahead of his 300th Premier League appearance.

One of the contenders for the club’s Player of the Season award, Joe Hart is once again leading the way in the race for the Golden Gloves award – a title he has won on four previous occasions.

Ahead of his landmark appearance against Southampton at St Mary’s, Eliaquim has described the man behind him as one of the world’s best in his position.

Mangala said: “Firstly congratulations to him because he’s played 300 Premier League games for the same team and that’s very difficult.

“It’s an honour for him and all the Citizens. He’s a very good guy and a great goalkeeper. I am very happy for him. He’s one of the best in the world.

“He proved that in the last game but also throughout the whole season. He’s saved us so many times this season and his performances have been very good. I think he is going to improve even more. It is not finished for him, we will see more.”

City go into Sunday’s 4.30pm kick-off knowing that a win will strengthen their hold on a UEFA Champions League qualification berth with two games of the season remaining.

However, the French defender believes it will be a tough game against one of the league’s in-form sides.

“Every team behind us is waiting for us to drop points,” Eliaquim mused.

“We just have to be focused on ourselves because if we win all our games from now until the end then we will finish in the top three.

“Now the title is impossible for us but we have to try to win all the games we have left to play and then we’ll see where we finish at the end of this year.

“There are just three games before the end of the season and I think for the team it is really important to qualify for the Champions League.”

With the title race officially coming to an end for City last weekend, Eliaquim also congratulated Leicester on their incredible season.

The Foxes go into their game at Old Trafford on Sunday knowing that a win will see them clinch the title with two games to spare.

Mangala added: “Nobody expected them to be where they are now and congratulations for what they have done because they can win the Premier League on Sunday if they beat United.

“I think that will be amazing for them. People normally say that the favourites are City, United or Chelsea but they proved that in football anything can happen. That’s a good story for them. They have had a great season.”

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