Pellegrini hails Hart comeback

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini believes Joe Hart's form has benefited from his spell on the sidelines earlier in the season.

After several high-profile mistakes cost City valuable points in their title charge, the Chilean chief took the bold step of dropping the England goalkeeper from the first team.

However, since returning to the fray, Hart has been rejuvenated, and the controversial decision to omit him now seems like a masterstroke.

"Of course I think not only today, the second round of Joe has been a very good performance," Pellegrini told the Manchester Evening News.

"One of the good things that we did this year was to talk to him and sit him (out) some games because he was in a very bad moment but he reacted as a professional player, the number one in England."

Hart's performance in the 3-2 win at Everton was a major factor in City returning to the top of the Premier League for the first time since February, but Pellegrini warned there is still work to be done if they are to emerge champions in two games' time.

"It was not exactly (the same as 2012) but similar," Pellegrini added.

"I think we are just thinking about what happened this year that we have an important option to win the title.

"In football you always have chances. I repeat, when we win the game today it was a very tough game, but it's not the last game."