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Mark's work in progress

Mark Hughes at Press Conference 0809

Mark Hughes at Press Conference 0809

Mark Hughes has urged fans and critics alike not to make a hasty judgement about his embryonic City team but to regard the side currently sitting tenth in the Barclays Premier League as a work in progress.

Hughes, in his first season as manager at the City of Manchester Stadium, is determined to tackle the unpredictable nature of their performances and views the draws at Copenhagen and Liverpool as a potential turning point.

Having signed four of his targets in the January transfer window, Hughes said: "We are trying to achieve a mentality, and maybe change an approach which people would react to and say, ‘Well, that’s City for you.’

"That needs to change and we want to ensure that, in future, we are recognised for the good, consistent performances that we are striving for.

"We have guys that are still integrating into the team, and we saw on Sunday at Anfield that they are starting to understand what needs to be done to win Premier League games. They worked really hard for each other and that pleased me.

"People expect us to be challenging almost immediately, which is an impossibility. The teams that have been in and around the top seven have been together for a substantial amount of time, and while we recognise that, maybe others do not.


Where we are at this moment is not recognised, but we accept that. On occasions we disappoint ourselves and other people.

Mark Hughes


"But we saw at Liverpool that we have the makings of a good team - we just have to make sure we are strong and take whatever criticism comes our way. We’ll accept what is valid, the rest we will just ignore."

City's defence, playing in front of new goalkeeper Shay Given, are starting to meet Hughes' exacting standards and restricted title chasers Liverpool to Dirk Kuyt's late equaliser in Sunday's battling draw.

Hughes said: "The back four were rock-solid, and that goes with Shay behind as well. There is a calmness about the defence now which is helping us.

"Richard Dunne has also come back and looked really good in the two games he has had since his suspension. They were all good, but I was just as delighted with all the units of the team." 

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Match Report

Liverpool v City 22-02-2009