x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Hughes defends City's form

The Manchester City manager Mark Hughes has described some of the reaction to his team's run of seven straight league draws as "hysterical".

The Manchester City manager Mark Hughes has described some of the reaction to his team's run of seven straight league draws as "hysterical". City, who have failed to win their last three games despite leading, have not won in the Premier League since September and face leaders Chelsea on Saturday. "There is a little bit of hysteria around at the moment, as we have had on numerous occasions since I have been City manager," said Hughes.

"It becomes predictable because we are being judged on the amount of money we have spent. But we are progressing. We are in December and have only been beaten once." That defeat was a 4-3 loss at Manchester United, but their form is a far cry from the four consecutive wins with which they began the campaign. "We have been frustrated by the number of draws, but we know that as a group we will get stronger as the season progresses," said Hughes.

"Every team of mine is stronger in the second half of the season and I am convinced that will be the case again because of the quality and strength in depth we have. "We are still very much where we thought we would be at this point, within one or two points of the teams above us, with a game in hand, so we are in very good shape." Meanwhile, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed Robin van Persie's prolonged injury lay-off might force him to buy in the January transfer window, but only at the right price.

"I did not feel we were in need to buy anybody. But we will be out on the market, that is for sure. However, we will only make a decision if it suits us," said Wenger. Elsewhere, Italian striker Federico Macheda has signed a new contract that will keep him at Manchester United until June 2014. @Email:emegson@thenational.ae