Hughes puts Uefa Cup triumph on City's climb - European - Football - The Independent

Hughes puts Uefa Cup triumph on City's climb

Manager keen to further Blues' development by ending long wait for a trophy

The history of the Uefa Cup is littered with managers, from Rafael Benitez and Juande Ramos to Sir Alex Ferguson, who won it and went on to greatness. It is just a shame that Mark Hughes, who goes in renewed pursuit of his first trophy in management as Manchester City fly the British flag in the tournament tonight, is too afraid of heaping yet more hubris on the club to admit just how much he covets it. "We're not going to shout from the rooftops we're going to win the competition," Hughes said yesterday, when asked how important it would be to him to lift any cup as a manager.

Winning the tournament, and before that progressing beyond AaB Aalborg, the second Danish side City have encountered in the knockout stage, goes beyond personal reputations, though. City might be the last British side in the tournament by default, with Aston Villa willing to field a weakened side against CSKA Moscow in the last round to pursue a Champions League spot and Tottenham too busy fighting relegation from the Premier League to be bothered with it. However, a triumph in Istanbul come May has the potential to strip them of their hapless image as a side who alway conspires to mess things up and who will always be talking about Newcastle United, Wembley, 1976. The banner at Old Trafford which poked fun at the number of years since City last won a trophy was removed for February 2008's derby match but is back now: "33 years" it currently reads, recalling that League Cup win in the Dennis Tueart era.

Hughes has gone to great lengths and incurred serious unpopularity in some quarters at Eastlands to imbue his side with what he calls a "winning mentality", something Robinho has also said he feels City lack. For Hughes that means stripping away years of poor match preparation and cultural flabbiness at City, as he sees it. But a trophy would be a fundamental part of the club's cultural development; a staging post on the bigger Manchester City journey.

"Winning a trophy brings many things to a club," Hughes said. "It gives you an understanding of what it takes to be successful. It changes the mentality of players, sometimes positively, sometimes negatively if you think you are going to do it every year. There are things that you have to be mindful of and you have to hit the same standards year on year – that is what the top clubs are able to do."

A top-seven finish in the league appears to be more important to Hughes' reputation than winning this trophy, though there are signs around the club that he will, barring disasters, still be in place for next season. The City chief executive, Garry Cook, was adamant at a fans' forum on Tuesday night that the Welshman would be in charge next season and won applause from the floor for saying so.

The future of Robinho looks less certain and Hughes will be expecting significant performances from him if City are to progress. The Brazilian has returned from a brief trip back to South America having apparently recovered from the ankle injury that kept him out of last week's impressive win over Aston Villa. "At times Robinho gets overly criticised," Hughes said. "When we have not played well away from home, he seems to get the brunt of it because he is one of our most high-profile players. But people have to take into account that he is one of our more creative and attack-minded players and teams will try to make sure he doesn't have a positive impact."

Hughes' planning has been hit by the toe injury that threatens Vincent Kompany's participation at Eastlands tonight and since Nigel de Jong is not registered and Dietmar Hamann is a long-term absentee, he may be forced to call on Gelson Fernandes in midfield. That said, with the major threats in the tournament coming from Marseilles and Shakhtar Donetsk, whom City would consider beatable, they can afford private, if not public, confidence. "This club should have won more trophies or been competing at a level to be able to think they could win," Hughes concluded.

Manchester City (probable) (4-2-3-1): Given; Richards, Onuoha, Dunne, Bridge; Zabaleta, Kompany; Wright-Phillips, Ireland, Robinho; Caicedo.

AaB Aalborg (probable) (4-5-1): Zaza; Bogelund, Waehler, Beauchamp, Jakobsen; Enevoldsen, Augustinussen, Caca, Johansson, Due; Shelto.

33

Number of years since Manchester City last won a major trophy – the League Cup in 1976.

Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
filmMatt Damon in talks to return
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Life and Style
tech... and together they're worth at least £100 million
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig is believed to be donning skies as 007 for the first time
Arts and Entertainment
Fringe show: 'Cilla', with Sheridan Smith in the title role and Aneurin Barnard as her future husband Bobby Willis
tvEllen E Jones on ITV's 'Cilla'
Life and Style
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
tech(but you can't escape: Bono is always on your iPhone)
Sport
Tim Wiese
sport
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week