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Mark of quality

Hughes at Celtic

Hughes at Celtic

Mark Hughes wants expectations at City to remain at an all time high.

The boss believes his high quality squad will thrive on the excitement and interest that surrounds them.

And he is already sure that the mentality and professionalism of the group is better than it ever has been.

“We are pleased with the way we have started the season because it was important to get off to a positive beginning,” he declared ahead of the first home game of the season.

“You sense that there is a change in mentality in the group and it had to change in fairness because last year we were not strong enough in that department.

“We have had a big turnaround in personnel adding quality and about 14 or 15 players having left or gone out on loan and that changes the dynamic of the dressing room immediately.

“The key is to bring in players of the correct mentality and character and we feel we have done that.”

Hughes reckons that a productive first month is vital, not least because the top sides may be vulnerable in the opening weeks with Liverpool and United already tasting defeats.

“The points total to win the league this could be lower than it has been,” he mused. “In most seasons there are unpredictable results at the beginning. I don’t think many people would have predicted Burnley beating United the other night.

“As the season progress you usually find the top sides find their consistency and it becomes more difficult to overcome them. There are more teams capable of taking points off the so called big four and we are one of those teams with that capability.

“But like I said, it's early days. Tottenham had a good win as well. There are a lot of teams hoping to challenge this season and we include ourselves in that. It could be interesting. The beginning of the season can be open, it's sometimes the best opportunity to beat the bigger teams, so that might be what we are seeing at the moment.

“We are in good shape and everyone is really excited by the first home game of the season after the win at Blackburn and the fantastic match in Barcelona.

“It is up to us to make sure that the excitement of our fans continues. We don’t want to disappoint people. Expectations have been raised outside the club but we have raised the bar ourselves. You have to live with expectations and we shouldn’t underplay what we are trying to achieve here.

“If you do that people think you are not being honest with them. You can underplay expectation and then hope to overachieve but I have been one for doing that. I want to raise expectations and I am quite happy to do that.”

And Hughes is absolutely sure that he will have no trouble juggling his resources or keeping his star names happy whilst trying to fulfil lofty aims.

“It is all about options and flexibility. I have got great players. Last weekend I took Robinho off and brought Carlos Tevez on,” he smiled. “Those options were not available to me last season. I don’t have a problem with it at all. Everyone has a part to play here it is a squad game and at times people will start and at other they will not. They will all be expected to have an impact and that is how we will cope with it.”

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