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Media Watch: Hughton hails 'special' City

WARM WORDS: Brighton boss Chris Hughton has paid a special tribute to Pep Guardiola's Manchester City side

WARM WORDS: Brighton boss Chris Hughton has paid a special tribute to Pep Guardiola's Manchester City side

It's Saturday and the welcome return of Premier League duty as City prepare to host Brighton and we kick-off our matchday media round-up with warm words of praise from Seagulls boss Chris Hughton.

There is also a report about a potential return date for injured midfielder Kevin De Bruyne.

But we begin with a glowing testimonial for Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions from Brighton boss Hughton.

Speaking to the Seagulls’ official website, the former Tottenham and Republic of Ireland star hailed City’s style of play and described the side as one of the finest teams to have graced the Premier League.

Said Hughton: “They are right up there [as one of the best] with a way of playing that goes right back from the goalkeeper, and the way they do it is very special.

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“The more you watch Man City and the way they play, the more you learn that they have individuals that can produce a number of special moments and there’s no coincidence about the goals they score.

“They have a way of playing that is put into practice on the training ground, particularly the way the full-backs get forward, and that’s not something we’ve seen so much of at this level. As a team, they are very special.”

Warming to his theme, Hughton told sportsmole.co.uk that he believes City’s all-time record goalscorer Sergio Aguero is ‘very, very close’ to being the Premier League’s finest foreign import.

Argentina striker Aguero is City’s record scorer having hit 205 goals in all competitions since his move from Atletico Madrid in 2011.

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The prolific 30-year-old has struck 147 times in the Premier League during that time, with Frenchman Thierry Henry the only overseas player to have registered more following his 175 goals for Arsenal.

And Ed Elliott reports that Hughton believes Aguero has been consistently brilliant.

“It’s very difficult to say the best, but he is very close to the best,” said the Brighton chief.

“He’s been here for a good while now. This is not a player that’s done it over a couple of seasons – you might see a player come over and over two or three season being brilliant – but he’s been brilliant now (for around) six years.

“Even though you are at one of the best clubs and a club that you know are going to be in that top four even in a bad season, it takes something to be as consistent as what he is.

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“If he’s not the best then he’s very, very close to the best.”

Meanwhile, the Standard claim that Belgian midfielder Kevin de Bruyne could be set to provide a big injury boost for the Blues.

James Robson reports: “De Bruyne could be on course to be fit to face Manchester United, with the Belgian international set to return to training within days following knee ligament damage.

“The Manchester City midfielder hasn’t played since the opening day of the season against Arsenal after being sidelined with the injury.

“Pep Guardiola is determined not to rush his return - or set any targets on a specific comeback date - but news that he is due to resume training has given rise to optimism he will be available for the Manchester derby in November.

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“Kevin is making the last steps (of his recovery),” confirmed Guardiola. “He could start training in next few days, doing part of the sessions. Everything is going well.”

Finally, former Manchester City star Joleon Lescott has told bwin.com that he believes City remain the favourites to win the Premier League this season.

However, the former central defender does believe current leaders Liverpool and third-placed Chelsea are in the mix as well.

Lescott told Tony Kelshaw: “The Premier League is looking like it will be a lot more competitive this year, but Manchester City are still the team to beat.

“They were incredible last season and they definitely have the fear factor, though they haven’t looked quite as impressive so far.

“I’ve been very impressed with Liverpool and I think they’ll be able to maintain the pressure throughout the season.

“The Manchester City and Liverpool games will be the most anticipated matches in England this season.

“But Chelsea have also started brightly and they have the advantage of not being in the Champions League.”

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