City’s hard fought win in the league at Fratton Park has given Mark Hughes the perfect start to the season.
Emmanuel Adebayor’s first half header was the only goal of the game, but City had to keep a spirited Portsmouth side at bay for much of the game. Micah Richards and Stephen Ireland both left proceedings with knocks taken in an at-times bruising encounter, but the Manager was delighted that City left the south coast with their first win away at Portsmouth for five years.
He said: “We’re very pleased, Fratton Park is always a difficult place to come and you will always have to work exceptionally hard to get a poisitive result here. I thought we were good value, we restricted them to very few opportunities and we had a good chance at the end.
“As an away side, it’s very hard not concede chances over 90 minutes. But when the opponents do get chances, you would expect a top keeper to deal with them, and that’s just what Shay did, like he has done on numerous occasions.
“All in all, it was a very satisfying performance, it could have been more emphatic if we had had the goal that was chalked off allowed. At 1-0, there is always that little doubt when they hit balls into your box late on. You just have to stand up to the challenge when that happens, and that is what we are doing at the moment.
“Last year, under pressure, we were a little bit fragile and flaky. The difference this year is that we have guys that when they going gets tough, they thrive on it. That’s the mentality and the difference in all areas that we have now.”
The win makes it a maximum return of nine points out of a possible nine, and no goals conceded in either the league or the Carling Cup, which Hughes sees as the ideal way to go into the international break – which will be followed, for City, by the visit of Arsenal on September 12th.
He added: “It was important to get a good start to settle everybody down. We are not making any promises about what we can achieve, we will just try to do our very best and be as consistent as we can. We have had the good start we wanted, and we have a good base to build on.”