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First Team News

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Santa Cruz set for game of patience

Roque Santa Cruz

Roque Santa Cruz

Roque Santa Cruz has already won one battle this season - now City's summer signing faces a fresh fight to force his way into a starting place in Mark Hughes' side.

The Paraguay striker has finally recovered from the knee surgery he had at Blackburn last season and has stepped off the bench in each of the last three Barclays Premier League games.

But "Rocky" accepts he is up against heavyweight opposition for a regular spot and is ready to call on the mental strength he had to develop in his formative years with Bayern Munich.

Santa Cruz said: "It is a very hard situation for the manager, even more when we are all fit. Tevez scored two the other week, Manu is back, Robinho is waiting, Bellamy has played very well ...

"It's not an easy choice for the manager, but as long as the team is playing well and everybody is performing, you are hungry to be a part of such a squad and wait for your chance.

 

You need to have the mental strength, to stay strong and at your best even if you are on the bench. We are professionals, paid to be at our best all the time

 Roque Santa Cruz

 

"At Bayern Munich, people were not happy at times to be out of the team. But when you are unhappy the hunger is there to show what you can do when you have the chance. It's a tough situation.

"Players would speak out sometimes (to the media) although it wasn't allowed. We don't want people moaning, but with the players we have in this squad I don't think we will get that.

"The hunger is there, but everybody has shown a great attitude, working hard and waiting for their chance to impress the manager. I don't think we will have any problems like that."

Santa shares manager Hughes' vision of a Champions League berth. He said: "We need to keep our great start going, and you have to perform well week after week. That's the difference between the top four and the rest.

"Those teams have been there a long time - they keep their concentration as they know others will try to knock them down. We need to match their focus. It could be a fantastic year for us."

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