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Boss wants real deal to begin

Tevez and Mark Hughes MCFC v Celtic

Tevez and Mark Hughes MCFC v Celtic

Mark Hughes was pleased with City's win over Celtic, but he's now itching for the real stuff to begin in earnest.

The Blues beat Celtic 2-1 on Saturday afternoon, goals coming from Gareth Barry and Craig Bellamy, sandwiched around an equaliser with a City connection. Former Blues Georgios Samaras and Chris Killen had combined to help the Kiwi striker level the scores a few minutes after Barry's opener, and following Bellamy's strike early in the second half a swathe of substitutions by both sides saw the game end in a comfortable win for City.

The manager says, "It was a good work-out, but we're at a stage where we are a bit fed up of friendlies and want to get the real stuff started. In fairness, today was a good exercise because they were good opposition, and there was a great atmosphere today.

There are always things in friendlies that will look a bit false, and you need to get the competitive juices flowing to see what you want to see.

Mark Hughes


Highlight of the day for the home fans was the substitute appearance of Carlos Tevez, the first time the Argentinean has been in action since his arrival last month.

"I knew I could only play Carlos for about 25 minutes at most today," Hughes continues, "and I wanted to see him on the pitch with Robi and Ade, but you can't play everybody. Craig came off at that point as well, but it illustrates the point that we've got great options and great variation in the type of players that we have in the forward areas.

"I've got a good idea of what I'm looking to do next week, but I have to factor in the internationals this week . We're hoping that everyone comes back fit and well , but it's not the ideal preparation. Any Premier League manager will tell you that not having the squad together for a full week is not great."

Kolo Toure came off shortly after Barry's goal, but the Manager is hopeful that the Ivorian has nothing more than a slight niggle.

"Kolo's OK, he had a little tightness in his hip flexor this week, we did some work on it and he thought he was OK to start. After about 15 minutes he felt , so as a precaution we took him off. He'll meet up with his international squad, but hopefully they will think it’s a risk to play him in a friendly."

Hughes also allayed fears over Nedum Onuoha, absent from the bench for the second consecutive match, stating that the defender has a slight thigh problem that he is hopeful will clear up over the next couple of days.

Click here to see an exclusive post-match interview with Mark Hughes.

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Georgios Samaras is back in town tomorrow for the prestige friendly with Celtic - and the welcome he receives from Blues fans will be drowned out by the roar that greets the midweek hero from 6,000 Hoops supporters.