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Boss praises all-round effort against Boro

Shay Given 0809

Shay Given 0809

Shay Given's outstanding Manchester City debut was just part of a performance that has pleased Mark Hughes as he reflects on the 1-0 win over Middlesbrough.

The new keeper made a string of superb saves to deny Boro's Alfonso Alves, but the Blues' manager was keen to stress that the team deserved the three points that has put them into ninth place in the Barclays Premier League table.

Hughes says, “We controlled the game for long periods, but they had a number of chances where we needed the quality and expertise of Shay to stop them scoring.

"Overall I felt we deserved the victory, they made it difficult because they put so many people behind the ball and we had to be patient and try to work some positions."

Expanding on the contribution of the Irish international keeper to the win, he added: "Everybody has seen his quality over a long period of time, we all know he is an outstanding goalkeeper. On a few occasions he showed his experience and was able to get us out of a situation, which we were very grateful for.

"He was a very calming influence on the back four, which was a young one today. It has not had that many games together, so it was important that we had that reassurance behind them. I thought his distribution was great as well, so people will understand why I brought him to the club."

Goal scorer Craig Bellamy also came in for praise from the Manager, who concluded, "We said before the game that we had to recognise when we had one on one positions, and that's what Craig is very good at. He was able to get a yard of space and that was enough for him.

"Craig is as sharp as a tack at the moment, he is at the top of his form and free of injuries, so he is a different Craig Bellamy to the one I had at Blackburn. He goes for 90 minutes, asks questions of the back four all the time and creates space for other people. I thought he was outstanding."

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City v Middlesbrough 07-02-2009

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