New Fulham boss Hughes lashes Manchester City
Former City manager sideswipes his old club, and Mohammed Fayed takes a dig at Roy Hodgson
New Fulham boss Mark Hughes was unveiled by the club yesterday and immediately took a sideswipe at his former employers, Manchester City, claiming that he would have got them into the Champion's League.
Hughes was fired by City last December and replaced by former Inter Milan manager, Roberto Mancini. But he failed in his bid to get the club into the top four - a target that Hughes described as "very, very achievable".
Asked if he would have got City a seat at Europe's top table he replied: "Yes I would. I agreed to the targets at the beginning of the season, which was to get to sixth position. I agreed to that because I thought we could over-achieve."
He added: "I have no embarrassment whatsoever about the job I did at Manchester City. My performance and what I achieved there is as good as anybody's."
Not only was Hughes obviously still unhappy about the nature and timing of his sacking, he also had harsh words to say about the club's transfer dealings, which he implied sometimes went over his head.
"On some occasions at City players were presented to me which I didn't really have a direct input on," he said. "But if you get a call and someone says 'Would you like Robinho?' then, as a manager, I have to say 'Yes I would'.
"Whether a situation like that was correct in terms of timing, that's open to debate."
Having vented his spleen about City, Hughes finally got on to talk about his new club Fulham, and said he was surprised and impressed by the ambition of the club.
"My perception of Fulham was different from the reality of the situation," he said. "I discussed what the club anticipated doing in the coming year. My perception completely changed and then the possibility of me coming here become a reality."
Sitting next to Hughes during the questioning was the Cottagers eccentric owner Mohammed Fayed, and he made the Welshman look a little uncomfortable when he illustrated the club's large transfer kitty by brandishing a £50 note under Hughes's nose.
The former Harrods owner also took a pop at former manager Roy Hodgson, now with Liverpool.
"This other guy [Hodgson] let us down and just walked away," said Fayed. "But we have a nice guy now. He's better looking, too.
"Roy disappointed the fans and the players. I forgive him anyhow and I am sure he is going to get Liverpool downhill."
Having got in his dig at Liverpool, Fayed then made the rather unfortunate prediction that Hughes was a manager who was "going to get us to the championship".
Fulham fans will be hoping otherwise. ·
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