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No moody Blues here says Hughes

Hughes at Celtic

Hughes at Celtic

Mark Hughes says his City slickers have accepted that they will sometimes have to stand down when the manager shuffles his top-quality pack to make sure of the points.

Holland midfielder Nigel de Jong is battling to claim a starting place while club-record signing Robinho was rested at Portsmouth as City made it three Premier League wins on the spin.

Striker Roque Santa Cruz is expected to be fully fit later this month to make Hughes' choice even more difficult, but the Blues boss insists that even his star signings know the score.

Hughes, preparing to face Arsenal next Saturday, said: "There's an understanding that at times the next game or opposition might not be the right one for them to be in the side.

"I look at the opposition and the threats our players can make - against different teams you need different threats. That will always come into my thinking, and the players understand that. It's about making sure we have the right team for the right opposition."

Hughes' coaching team make sure that any players who miss out will stay fighting fit - De Jong was able to perform his usual international duties against Japan yesterday, for example.

City's manager added: "We ensure that if they don't get significant first-team action, they get more work in training than the ones who have played 90 minutes.

"It's important they have the ability to make an impact when called upon. They understand how my staff work - it's not a punishment that they have to do extra work out of the team, it's because we want to give them the best chance of being successful when they do get called upon.

"They understand that that work has to be done - they know that it's a long season, that there will be times when they have to have an impact, so they have to be ready."

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