Hughes defiant over City slump

Discipline and a break from the past are key to progress, says City manager

Mark Hughes has defended Manchester City's descent into the relegation zone, declaring that he is seeking to change the fundamental culture of a club which had left it "nowhere near where it needed to be" to mount a realistic challenge in the Premier League.

Hughes, who believes his January signings will have an "almost immediate" impact and that his Arab owners will not sack him because, as he put it, "they are not as hysterical as other people seem to be at this moment in time," suggested before today's awkward encounter with Hull City that preparations for matches were too laid back when he arrived at the club from Blackburn Rovers in June.

"There's been big change here on and off the field and they were changes that needed to be made," Hughes said. "You can't just stand still and think that things you've done ten, 15 years ago are going to work ten, 15 years in the future. We needed to get up to speed... in terms of preparations for games and the way they prepared on a daily basis. We are addressing [this] on a daily basis."

Hughes' disciplinarian regime contrasts sharply with the brief Sven Goran Eriksson era and it is that which is understood to have caused friction with some of the players the new manager inherited. Hughes pulled no punches about what he feels he took on in east Manchester. "You can't play well for one week have two weeks off and build for another game in three weeks which has may have been the case in the past," he said. He also admitted that some of his players had not accepted his ways: "Some players can work with change and be able to change quickly other players find it very difficult, that's just human nature."

Two games in four days will reveal more about whether Hughes can pull off the huge task of changing the fundamental culture of his club whilst maintaining his Arab owners' faith that he – a man hired in the Thaksin Shinawtra era – is the man with whom to entrust their January transfer budget. Hughes might contend that after four managers in seven years at City something tougher is necessary.

He maintains a hard line against those who argue that talking up the promise of the transfer window is debilitating to the current squad and he does not appear to accept that his markedly negative talk about the Eriksson era – he dismissed City's good start to last season as something "everyone in football knew wasn't going to be sustainable" – will have a negative impact on Richard Dunne, Darius Vassell and others who contributed to it. "They are professional footballers and have to have the mentality that the club is going places," Hughes said.

It remains unclear whether Hughes is trying to force through change at a pace which might yet prove fatal, though he claimed the current state of City bears out what he has told the Arabs – "it's not as if I was telling them one thing two months ago and then telling them a different thing now," he said. But the Uefa Cup defeat in Santander eight days ago represented a new low, with Hughes' side shambolic and utterly at odds with each other.

Hughes, who said he has Robinho back today, rejects any talk of relegation fights, but he and his club's supporters will not care to be reminded that the last time they reached Boxing Day with 18 points was in 2000. The following May they were relegated.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015