MANCHESTER // Manchester City are on a high, buoyed by matters on and off the pitch, and hoping they can remain "invincible" for the rest of the season. With the takeover by the Abu Dhabi United Group, a private equity firm backed by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, completed, it is the start of an exciting new era at Eastlands. And what better way to launch it than a scintillating 6-0 win over Portsmouth on Sunday in front of the club's new chairman, Khaldoon al Mubarak, the head of Mubadala Development Company.
A "fantastic day" is how the manager Mark Hughes described it, delighted with his side's performance. "It was the best performance by one of my teams by a country mile," he said. "If you had to pick any day to impress people this was the day to do it. I have met the chairman and have been very impressed with what he has said and the plans they have. If you look in the way they do business historically they do it in the correct way.
"They know continuity enables you to sustain success and that's what they want; the right people in the right places and they will give us the resources to be successful." One of the clear aims of the new owners is to mix homegrown talent with the big stars, like the record signing Robinho. While the Brazilian shone again, Stephen Ireland is an example of how City's respected youth policy can pay dividends. The Irish midfielder, who started out as a trainee, could not hide his delight at the way City have been transformed.
"We're ecstatic, we're on a high, we're buzzing and we are really looking forward to our next few games coming up with the form that we are in," he said. "At the moment we feel we are invincible, we are going from strength to strength and we're in great form. "It's a big squad, but you can see how good it is, everyone needs to be on top of their game every game because if you slip up once you could be sitting on the sidelines for a long time."
Tottenham's Spanish manager Juande Ramos has denied reports he is homesick and desperate to return to his homeland after a dismal goalless draw with Wigan at White Hart Lane on Sunday kept them bottom of the table. Ramos, appointed last October, said: "It's not true at all [that I want to go home]. I am delighted to be in London and I'm delighted to be at Tottenham." firstname.lastname@example.org