uefa cup progress

Hughes claims City's investment plan is paying off

February 27, 2009
By Soccernet staff

Manchester City boss Mark Hughes has insisted the club's forward planning is right on track after they booked their place in the last 16 of the UEFA Cup.

Craig Bellamy
GettyImages / MarkThompsonBellamy: Patched things up with Toshack.

With results inconsistent and the failure to land a true marquee player in the January transfer window, some were claiming City's master plan was faltering. It has even been rumoured that Hughes could be replaced by sacked Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari in the summer.

But Hughes, who saw his £14m signing Craig Bellamy score both goals in the 2-1 win over FC Copenhagen, claims that the club are right on target to achieve their goals.

Welsh striker Bellamy is certainly proving to be an astute purchase so far, having scored four goals in seven matches since moving from West Ham United.

"We keep trying to tell people we are very early in our progression but some people don't want to hear that,'' Hughes told BBC Radio Five Live. "Where we are at the moment is right on track.

"We're delighted to have progressed in the competition - a lot of big teams have gone out so we'll see how far we can go. We created a lot of chances and at one point you think you're not going to get the one goal which would free us to play better.

"But we got it in the end and it was a decent performance.''

The City boss had special praise for match-winner Bellamy, who revealed he played despite the loss of his cousin through illness.

Hughes said: "Craig showed great character as he has done for many years. He showed real mental strength to play tonight after a very close family member had passed away.

"It was touch and go whether he was in the right frame of mind to play. He wanted to play and we benefited from that.

"Under difficult circumstances he has come through and made the impact we hoped he would.''