Santa says there are no gifts for City

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The Independent Football

Mark Hughes said he bought Roque Santa Cruz as much for what is in his head as in his boots. The mentality of having to fight for his place in a Bayern Munich team expected to win titles was something he thought lacking last season.

"It is something you develop like an exercise," said Santa Cruz who, after seven months out with a knee injury, could make his first start for City today at Wigan. "At Bayern the hunger was always there, whether you played or not, and people had to show it when they had their chance. In terms of character, points won and quality of play, our start has been very good, the difference between the top teams and the rest is that they maintain that throughout a season. A successful season would be to win the title, but we are aiming for the Champions' League."

Paraguay's Santa Cruz has needed resilience to recover from tendonitis, which has also blighted Owen Hargreaves at Manchester United. "There is still a long time to go before the World Cup and he is a very fit guy," he said of his one-time team-mate at Bayern. "Once he gets his confidence back, he needs to go straight back into the team."

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