Ferguson wrong to write off City warns Hughes

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The Independent Online

Manchester City boss Mark Hughes believes his side can pose a threat to Barclays Premier League champions Manchester United this season.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson claimed that, for all their summer spending, he could not see City being among his side's main competitors for the title.

But after watching Stephen Ireland's goal earn City a 1-0 win over Kaizer Chiefs in the second match of their South African tour this evening, Hughes said: "I have huge respect for him but that does not mean I have to agree with what he says."

He added: "I don't think this is a mind game."

New signing Gareth Barry made his debut as City recovered from their weekend loss to Orlando Pirates, but strikers Carlos Tevez and Roque Santa Cruz were again left to watch from the sidelines, while Emmanuel Adebayor also looked on, as Hughes continued to exercise patience with his high-profile summer signings.

Former Aston Villa midfielder Barry feels he is fitting in well after his move from the midlands.

"I was delighted to get out," he said. "The main aim was to have the fitness for 60 minutes. I came off feeling good and I am looking forward to playing in the final.

"I have only been training for a week with City. There are new faces and the training is different, but I am getting used to it."

Barry believes there is enough quality at Eastlands for the team to break into the top four before long.

The England international said: "I have signed a five-year contract with City and I believe I will play Champions League football with them."

Ireland hit the winner on the stroke of half-time at the ABSA Stadium in Durban as the midfielder converted Shaun Wright-Phillips' low cross.

Hughes added: "We are happy to have won the game, we played in a great atmosphere.

"We needed to balance the players on the field tonight, some of the players were not at the level of fitness needed so that needed to be taken into consideration."

Tevez did not feature after aggravating an injury yesterday, but Hughes feels he could play in the final, along with the club's other new signings.

He said: "Tevez had a bruised heel and it was aggravated in yesterday's training. We are hoping it will settle and it would be great to give him the opportunity to play.

"We have a world class striker (Tevez) with us now and we are delighted. World class strikers rarely come onto the market and we are lucky to have the opportunity to get him.

"If our new players are fit, they will play. We do not want to compromise our players if they are not ready. However we would like to present them in the final."

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