x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Tevez gives Zola a glimpse of his past after impressive City double

Despite sitting just three points behind the Premier League leaders with a game in hand, Mark Hughes is maintaining a cautious nature.

MANCHESTER// Despite sitting just three points behind the Premier League leaders with a game in hand, Mark Hughes is maintaining a cautious nature following Manchester City's best start to a season since 1961. "We have come to a point where we are running quite quickly," he says. "Maybe further down the line we have to slow down a bit and walk." Rational thinking to avoid too much expectation, but it is difficult not to be impressed by the way City have begun the season.

And Hughes feels they can get even better. The manner of their fifth win in the first six league games suggests the top sides are right to fear them. West Ham were beaten 3-1 on Monday, but the margin of victory should have been far greater. City's attacking play, led by Carlos Tevez, was breathtaking at times. Playing deep, drifting wide or as a poacher, the Argentinian scored his first two league goals for City against the club he helped save from relegation in 2007..

The West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola, whose side remain in the bottom three, admitted Tevez's contribution was "outstanding", and he was a gentleman too for his muted opening goal celebration in front of the visiting fans. In his playing days, perhaps Zola's technique and finishing may have been better, but Tevez has similar qualities to the Italian, according to his former Chelsea strike partner Hughes.

"Carlos is an outstanding footballer and Franco was as well," said the City manager. "They have got an awareness on the field, they understand where they are in relation to other people and where they can affect the game in the right way. You need that ability to create the unexpected. "In the future it will happen where we will have games we are not able to play as well as we want, and you need someone to produce something out of nothing. We have got players of that quality like Carlos who are able to do that."

Roque Santa Cruz came on for his City debut in the second half after missing the start of the season with a knee injury. "It's in the blood of a striker and I will be wanting to do the same as the others, trying to get going with goals," said the Paraguay striker. "But the most important thing is to help the team and see that you get the points." akhan@thenational.ae