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Boss aims to build on SA tour experiences

Hughes interview keepers

Hughes interview keepers

Injuries and a defeat in the final of the Vodacom Challenge did not dampen Mark Hughes' spirits as he reflected on City's 10-day visit to South Africa.

The Kaizer Chiefs avenged their defeat in Durban last Tuesday by outsmarting the Blues at Pretoria's Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Saturday. Of more concern to the City manager were injuries to three defenders, namely Javan Vidal, Richard Dunne and Nedum Onuoha.

Vidal was carried off after just 15 minutes, his skipper left the pitch under his own steam in the first half while Onuoha was forced off following a clash of heads after the break, but thankfully there do not appear to be long-term problems for the trio.

Following the squad's return to the UK on Sunday morning, Mark said, "Dunnie has been struggling with his knee leading up to the game, he wanted to try it but it quickly became obvious he really was struggling so we needed to take him off.

"Nedum's got a nasty gash above his eye, he's had nine stitches and Javan got a badly gashed shin that is going to be sore for him. Some of the guys looked a bit leggy and were at different fitness levels, but we'll address that over the next 10 days or so.

"We would have liked to have won the game, but the important thing was making sure our fitness levels have improved, and they will have done. 

"It was difficult for the lads at times, the pitch was not great and the air is a bit thin. We had a lot of possession but did not create a great deal, they got a few behind the ball and our tempo needed to be higher.

"But we have really enjoyed our time in South Africa. They were three good games, it has been a real experience for everybody but we're looking forward to getting back home, getting back on the training ground and get some quality work in."

City were greeted on their return to a host of headlines in the Sunday papers referring to Sir Alex Ferguson's opinions regarding the club's summer transfer dealings, as well as the much-talked about Carlos Tevez 'Welcome to Manchester' poster.

Reacting to Sir Alex’ comments, the City boss added, “Sir Alex Ferguson is a man I hold the utmost respect for and he is fully entitled to his opinion. I am very happy with the transfer business Manchester City have conducted this summer, and that the players we have recruited are as excited as I am about the season ahead.

“The poster campaign in Manchester is a bit of fun between fans in a similar vein as the banner at Old Trafford which counts the timespan since City’s last trophy win. We’re glad it’s got so many people talking.”

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Kaizer Chiefs v Manchester City July 25th

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Chiefs win final

Wayne Bridge vs Chiefs

CITY won plenty of friends but no silverware as the pre-season tour to South Africa ended in defeat in the Vodacom Challenge final in Pretoria.