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Hughes relishes new season with City

SoccerNews in English Premier League, Serie A 10 Aug 2008

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Manchester City manager Mark Hughes last night confessed that he is taking time to come to terms with how his new football club is administered but insisted that he is still relishing the upcoming season with the Premier League side.

Hughes was speaking after his side had concluded their pre-season preparations with a 1-0 victory over AC Milan at the City of Manchester Stadium, a win that came courtesy of Valeri Bojinov's first half goal.

Reports this week questioned the long-term commitment of owner Thaksin Shinawatra to City in the light of growing legal problems in his native Thailand, a state of affairs which has also raised concern over the amount of money he can invest in Huighes' squad.

Against Milan, City were also without Croatian full-back Verdun Corluka who appears also poised for an eight million-pound move to Tottenham with reports suggesting Hughes is not happy about the player's sale.

But Hughes, who was locked in talks for 75 minutes after the game, emerged to pledge his commitment to the club.

He said: “You have to understand, I have come into a new club where there are a lot of things different to what I am used to.

“It takes time, to get the place running how I want it to. It's early days but these things will get sorted out quickly and we will move on. I was at Blackburn for four years and I knew exactly how things were done, the lines of communication, what have you.

“At the moment, it's not quite as it was at Blackburn. Every operation is a different operation. It's a case of understanding that and working with it.”

Hughes admitted that having an owner and financial backer living out of the country has been an issue but he refused to comment on Corluka's absence from the City of Manchester Stadium.

However, the City manager he did move to quash reports that Stephen Ireland was on his way to Sunderland.

He said: “We've had no bids for Stephen. This time of year, people get ahead of themselves and interpret certain things. I have spoken to Stephen and he is fine with it.”

Hughes even went as far as to suggest that, having only signed Brazilian forward Jo and Israeli centre-back Tal Ben Haim this summer, there could be new additions to his squad before Sunday's visit to Aston Villa starts the new season.

He added: “We are working to that end, to conclude deals. There is not that much of the window left but you can do business right until the last minute and that is what we will try and do.”

Bulgarian striker Bojinov continued his impressive return from nearly a year out injured with a crisp first half finish before being brought off at the interval due to a slight hamstring strain.

“He will be fine,” said Hughes. “It was a great goal, a fantastic finish and you saw his enthusiasm. He is desperate to do well and play well. He has got to keep fit and keep well and keep on the field of play. If he does that he will be a real impact player for us this season.”

England star Micah Richards provided mild concern for Hughes when he came off with a slight knock although City expect there to be no long-term problems.

However veteran forward Darius Vassell is a doubt for the start of the Premiership season this weekend after injuring a knee.

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