Pep Guardiola has rubbished the idea that his squad omissions from Saturday have an attitude problem, adding that they remain in the frame.
Hart was not the only senior player omitted with long-time team linchpin Yaya Toure, playmaker Samir Nasri and £42million defender Eliaquim Mangala left out of the matchday squad altogether.
Guardiola insists there are no problems over attitude.
He said: “I speak sometimes with the players and say the reason why. They are so professional. There weren’t any training sessions when they didn’t show me how good professionals they are.”
The exclusion of midfielder Toure, given the 33-year-old’s past importance to the club, particularly raised eyebrows but Guardiola insists he remains in the frame.
“I don’t have doubt about that,” he continued, “I know Yaya from Barcelona, how he loves to play football. I know perfectly his quality.”
The Spaniard also comments specifically on French defender Eliaquim Mangala, who has found himself out of the team following the arrival of John Stones.
“Mangala, you know better than me how professional he is. But in the end I have a squad and I decide, I have to create a team spirit. It’s not about tactics, it’s not about anything.
“And just because I decided on this line-up today, that does not mean in the future they are not going to play or they are going to play.
“At Barcelona and Bayern Munich I wanted to change the line-up because I always wanted to involve, I want to create something where everyone is involved. Today I chose this line-up but that doesn’t mean they won’t play in the future.”