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Why Hughes mix is an instant hit

Hughes at Celtic

Hughes at Celtic

Mark Hughes says his new-look Blues have gelled straight away because they are having fun as well as stringing together victories.

The manager has changed half the side from last season, with five of his new boys - Kolo Toure, Joleon Lescott, Gareth Barry, Carlos Tevez and Emmanuel Adebayor - in action at Crystal Palace.

But while conventional wisdom expects a settling-in period for such a radical turnover to bear fruit, City have snapped up four wins on the spin including the friendly at Barcelona.

Blues boss Hughes, looking for a fifth successive win and clean sheet at Portsmouth on Sunday, said: "The process is accelerated if you've got top quality players.

"When a group comes together and the level of technical ability within the group is at different levels, then maybe it's difficult.

"But we're talking about high-quality football players who have a real understanding of how the game is played. They are reacting off each other, enjoying playing together and showing what they can do. It makes the process easier.

"We've made huge changes in terms of personnel but there is a real focus in the group - everybody is excited and wants to get out there. As a consequence we're playing some good stuff."

Toure skippered the side to Carling Cup victory at Palace on Thursday night in the absence of Richard Dunne, but the former Arsenal centre-half has rivals for the armband.

Hughes said: "Kolo has the great qualities that lend themselves to being captain, but I've a lot of captains - think of Gareth Barry, and Joleon Lescott views himself as a guy that can captain Manchester City.

"Whoever gets the armband long term will know that they have the back-up from the guys in the dressing-room because we've got a very strong squad mentally now. That's the dynamic I wanted to change."

First Team News

Proud moment for Kolo

Kolo Toure

Kolo Toure is hoping that his flirtation with the captain’s armband is not a one night stand.

First Team News

Boss happy for Carlos

Tevez Celebrates

Mark Hughes hailed Carlos Tevez after the Argentina international opened his goal account for the Blues in the Carling Cup win over Palace.

Match Report

Crystal Palace v City

Selhurst Park

It was a night that demanded big hearts, but in the end it was the little men who made the difference and ushered City through a tricky tie into the third-round draw.