Manchester City manager Mark Hughes insists he has no fears about his meeting with the club’s owner in Abu Dhabi this week despite his team’s disappointing 3-3 home draw with Burnley.
City fly to the Middle East on Sunday to play a friendly with the UAE national team on Thursday and Hughes will have talks with Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
After a run of only one victory in six Premier League games, the last five of them draws, the potential appears to be there for some awkward questions from the man who invested 200 million pounds in new talent over the summer.
But Hughes was far more concerned with the loss of two home points that City appeared to have secured when they came from two goals down to lead 3-2 in the second half.
“Going to Abu Dhabi doesn’t have any significance but it’s a poor result from our point of view because we had redeemed a situation people might have thought was beyond us,” said Hughes.
“We’re 10 or 11 games in and I think we’re doing okay, no more, no less than that.
“I said before the season that there will be times when we look like what we are, a team coming together and trying to gel. And on other occasions it will happen for us and we will look an outstanding team – but I am frustrated, and disappointed as well.”
Having started the season in such impressive fashion, City have been a disappointment for some weeks now, ever since their controversial Manchester derby loss at United in early September.
And Hughes admitted that the strong opening to the campaign may now be working against his side. “Teams now have had the opportunity to have a look at us,” he said.
“They’ve had a look to see which way we’re going to play, which personnel and formation we will be playing. Opposition will send teams out to frustrate us and try and capitalise on areas where they feel they can take advantage. We have to make sure we can recognise what the opposition is trying to do and be clever enough to address it.”
The concerns for Burnley manager Owen Coyle are far more modest and, ever the realist, the Scotsman is still only concerned about keeping his team in the top flight, despite what amounts, in relative terms, to a stunning start to the new campaign.
“As a football club we are evolving, we are the smallest town in the Premier League, but we don’t want that tag and not offer a fight,” said Coyle.
“Success for us is to stay in the best league in the world. Getting to the Premier League was an unbelievable achievement but to actually stay in it would surpass that. We have a long, long way to go and we’re not getting carried away. This is just one point to add to the 15 we already had.
“We carry on because we believe that we have good players, even if they are not on unbelievable salaries by Premier League standards. We also have an unbelievable spirit and sense of camaraderie.
“We know there will be times when we are on the wrong end of scorelines but we continue to learn and work to get better.”
A Graham Alexander penalty and Steven Fletcher goal put Coyle?s team in front before City launched a stunning recovery with three goals in 15 minutes either side of half-time from Shaun Wright-Phillips, Kolo Toure and Craig Bellamy.
City, however, let their concentration drop four minutes from time when substitute Kevin McDonad appeared on the end of a Fletcher header to earn his team their first away point of the season.
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