x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Hughes objects to Ferguson comments

The Manchester City manager believes his side are capable Premier League title challengers as he sees his team beat Kaizer Chiefs.

City's Shaun Wright-Phillips, left, dribbles past the Kaizer Cheifs defender Punch Masenamela in Durban.
City's Shaun Wright-Phillips, left, dribbles past the Kaizer Cheifs defender Punch Masenamela in Durban.

DURBAN // Mark Hughes has rejected Sir Alex Ferguson's viewpoint that Manchester City will not be challengers for the Premier League title this season. The Manchester United manager dismissed the threat of his city rivals, despite their recruitment of several top names. Among them is Carlos Tevez, who Ferguson chose not to sign after a two-year loan deal, claiming the Argentine striker was not worth the £25 million (Dh150.8m) that City paid for him. But Hughes said: "I was told about those comments and Sir Alex is someone I have huge respect for, but I don't always have to agree with his comments. "Everyone has their own opinion and that is obviously Sir Alex's. I am sure many people disagree with him. "Other people's valuations on players will be different to ours. We look at the worth they will give to Manchester City, not other clubs. "We have got a world-class striker [in Tevez] and are absolutely delighted to have him sign for us. "World-class strikers very rarely come onto the market and when they do you have to pursue them vigorously and that's we do." Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor and Roque Santa Cruz did not figure in last night's 1-0 victory over the Kaizer Chiefs. City did finally unveil one of their big-money buys, but it was someone who cost nothing who gave them their opening win of their South African tour. Gareth Barry made his debut for the club following his £12m move from Aston Villa. He looked comfortable in a central midfield role alongside Nigel de Jong and had a shot saved by Itumeleng Khune at his near post. But it was Stephen Ireland, a product of the club's academy, who again highlighted his goal scoring prowess. He scored 13 times last season and, in the second game of the Vodacom Challenge at the ABSA Stadium, seemed eager to continue from where he left off. Thune, the Chiefs keeper, did well to spread himself and block when the Irishman latched onto a long ball from Wayne Bridge and burst clear on goal. But Ireland did not waste his next opportunity in first-half injury time when he slid home a pass from Kelvin Etuhu, who had found space on the right. It was his last, but crucial, contribution in the game as Martin Petrov replaced him for the second half. Felipe Caicedo was also given 45 minutes as the big striker looks set for a season-long loan deal at Sporting Lisbon. Hughes gave Barry just over an hour and by then the England international had picked up a booking. Despite fielding several fringe players, with youngsters Ben Mee and Ryan McGivern tidy in central defence, City did not have too much to worry about from a Kaizer side that lacked a cutting edge up front. The striker Kaizer Motaung Jnr incurred the wrath of his angry supporters throughout the match. He had a great chance to level, but somehow poked a shot wide from just six yards. Stuart Taylor, in the City goal, made good saves to deny David Mathebula and help the club bounce back after their defeat to the Orlando Pirates.

akhan@thenational.ae