Mark Hughes demands ''less hysteria'' over City stories
Mark Hughes has called for some balance in the analysis of Manchester City after a series of negative stories about the Eastlands outfit, which have included criticism of Craig Bellamy, complaints from Everton over their pursuit of Joleon Lescott, the treatment of former skipper Richard Dunne, allegations of inducements being offered to young players and Emmanuel Adebayor's conduct in the win over Arsenal earlier this month.
The fact City find themselves in the headlines so often these days is a measure of the additional interest now being focused on the club. But, as with the case of Bellamy, Hughes is not convinced all the assessments are fair, with the Blues' behaviour being questioned at times when there has been no real need.
''It seems that on a daily basis we have to defend ourselves,'' he said. ''All we are looking for is a little bit of balance and less hysteria. We understand where we are and deal with that because it comes with the territory, but let's have a bit of balance.
''At the moment it seems people are quick to jump on certain things that they perceive need to be highlighted, and then try to force the issue in terms of what decisions should be made.''
As newcomers to the top table, it has been argued City are an easier target and are therefore getting a raw deal from the game's powerbrokers. The fact Gary Neville only received a £5,000 fine in 2006 when he celebrated in a very similar manner to Adebayor following his goal against the Gunners - for which he is now facing a misconduct charge - is a case in point.
Hughes is determined not to become paranoid, feeling he must place his faith in the FA and Premier League to do their jobs in an even-handed way.
''You have to believe that, because if you don't there is a huge problem for everybody,'' he said. ''It is difficult at the moment because everyone has a view on everything that's going on.''
At least the Bellamy case should appease Hughes, who now knows the Welshman is free to concentrate on Wednesday's Carling Cup tie against Fulham after he was only warned about his conduct following an altercation with a Manchester United fan.
''The qualities he is showing in abundance are ones I always knew he had,'' said Hughes. ''He just didn't have the opportunity to show them to everybody in Manchester, due to the injury he had last year.
''Some people weren't quite sure what kind of player Craig was, but he has obviously shown in no uncertain terms what a tremendous asset he is to the team.
"Sometimes people criticise him for the passion and the drive and determination he has, but that is the type of player Craig is. 'He demands of himself and of the people around him, and that is a good thing to have.''