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Paletta leaves Milan for Jiangsu Suning


Assessing the state of Man United, Chelsea

50-50 Challenge

NPFL Matchday 10: Expect change at the top

By ESPN Staff

Hughes admits City need time after Euro humiliation

Manager Mark Hughes believes Manchester City still have much work to do going into the new season.

However the former Blackburn boss is confident he will soon have the team playing in his own image.

Whether the supporters will stay patient during this transitional period remains to be seen.

But they were clearly unhappy at the manner of the 1-0 UEFA Cup first leg defeat by FC Midtjylland last night at Eastlands and made their feelings known at the end of the game.

City now face a difficult away game at Aston Villa in the Barclays Premier League on Sunday and Hughes said: 'It is going to take time (to get things right).

'We are still working on systems and personnel and what will enable us to sustain a level of performance right from the start to the end of a Premier League season.

'While we are looking to improve the squad if we can, we already have good players here.

'Unfortunately they did not perform in the way we needed last night. But we will see an improvement at the weekend.'

Midtjylland are four games into the season - they top the Danish league - and it showed and Hughes admitted as much as they prepared to travel to Birmingham.

He said: 'We are not there yet with our match fitness. But this game will help us going into the weekend. It was a good test for us.

'We need to step up to the plate and become more dynamic. It is important we show a bit more quality on the ball with the right pass at the right time.

'We are looking forward to Villa and I am expecting a significantly improved performance.'

Hughes is convinced City can turn their fortunes around in a fortnight in Herning and advance to the first round of the competition proper.

He said: 'It is only half-time and we will have more games under our belt in the second leg.

'We did not play to the level I expected but you will see a different side in the return match.'

Midtjylland's American international defender Danny Califf, however, claims the result was not a one-off.

He said: 'I think at the start of the match they didn't expect us to come out and take it to them with the energy and effort we showed.

'We expect them to come back at our ground but we'll have our fans behind us and we believe we can do it.'

Hughes is forced to make one enforced change to his side for the match at Villa as skipper Richard Dunne, who has an uncomfortable night against Midtjylland, is suspended.

He was sent off in the 8-1 drubbing by Middlesbrough on the final day of last season.

The City boss could be tempted to shake things up with fit-again striker Valeri Bojinov aiming for a place in the starting line-up.


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