Manchester City Boss Mark Hughes: We’re Not Just Noisy Neighbours
In the wake of United’s last-gasp 4-3 win against their bitter cross-town rivals, Ferguson was at his belligerent best, taunting Hughes and City as being merely “noisy neighbours” with no substance.
The see-sawing war of words between the pair has shown no sign of abating, with Hughes making a direct reply to his former manager.
“I don’t think we made as much noise as is being made out,” Hughes said, according to The Daily Mirror.
“A noisy neighbour? Well, in terms of the amount of noise our fans made then you could possibly say that.
“They know after the character that we showed at Old Trafford that Manchester City are not going to go away.”
Hughes then suggested that Ferguson was beginning to feel intimidated by the promise shown by City.
The Welshman said: “I think people are beginning to realise we will have a say in what will happen this season. Maybe Sir Alex has attacked teams when they emerge as rivals, and if that is the perception of his agenda, then yes, we are comfortable with that.
“They know we are here to stay, they know we will have an influence on who wins the Premier League in years to come.”
The former United striker, while insistent that his ambition was to win the Premier League, was decidedly circumspect as to when he thought he could actually do it.
“We know we can go up against any team in this league and take points off them, and obviously our ambition is to win it ourselves,” Hughes said.
“We might not be in a position to win the League or even get in the top four for a number of seasons, but we will stop other teams from doing it.
“Maybe people doubted that we can have a say at the top of the table, maybe they doubted us before the events of the last 10 days, but we came out of the game with a lot of credit.
“Now they realise we can have a say in what will happen this season. We’re going to try and do everything in our power to be successful as quickly as we can. But it is unpredictable.
“You can do everything right and still be beaten. You can do the vast majority of things wrong and yet still win. That is the nature of football. I can’t guarantee that we will win but we are in a position as a club to try and fulfil our ambitions. And they are not unreasonable ambitions.”
Hughes defended Craig Bellamy and Emmanuel Adebayor despite their recent controversies, insisting that he wanted all his players to have passion for the game of football.
“You have to have passion and be on the edge. That can make the difference between a very good, technically gifted player becoming a very good player who will have an impact on more games than not because that passion can give you the edge you need,” he said.
“You can’t take emotion out of football, or any sport for that matter, because that is fundamental to what you are trying to create – that passion from the players’ point of view is fundamental to how they grow as a player and develop as a top player.
“Every player who plays for Manchester City has passion, but there will be varying degrees of it, because all players and personalities are different.”
Bellamy is struggling to be fit for tonight’s League Cup tie against Fulham, compounding Hughes’ ever-growing list of unavailable forwards. Hughes admitted that the Welsh striker’s knee problems meant it was likely that he needed a game off, but made it clear that if he did not play, it would not be for any disciplinary reasons.
“If he doesn’t play, people should not read into that any disciplinary punishment following Sunday. Historically I’ve always left him out of midweek games,” Hughes said.
“We’re conscious of his knee problem. At the moment we can’t afford to lose Craig. We’ll see how he is. If there is any doubt then we have to err on the side of caution. It is very difficult for him to play three games in a week.
“But we haven’t got that many players fit and available. That forces my hand and we’ll go with what we’ve got, which is a strong group but not many options.”