Hughes attempts to re-assert control
After a chaotic week at Manchester City Mark Hughes yesterday attempted to re-assert his control over football matters at the club.
City's preparations for tonight's Uefa Cup second qualifying round tie with FC Midtjylland of Denmark have been overshadowed by the club owner Thaksin Shinawatra's decision to flee Thailand – where he is facing fraud and corruption charges – and a forceful internal disagreement between Hughes and the chief operating officer, Paul Aldridge, over the planned sale of Vedran Corluka and Stephen Ireland.
Hughes, though, has restated his intention to remain in the post and is adamant Corluka and Ireland, who were almost sold to Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland respectively without his agreement, will remain at the club. "My position is that I am very pleased to be the Manchester City manager and there is no change in that respect," Hughes said. "The football operation is completely the same as it was when I first signed as manager at the club and I am looking ahead to a very important Uefa Cup game.
"I had a meeting with the players the other day and, basically, we need to make the group aware that I'm in charge and will make decisions that affect the players. If players leave or if they go, that decision will be mine and mine solely. That's where we are and I think everybody understands that that is the situation.
"It has been a difficult week in many respects, but it has happened very early in my tenure and from this point onwards we can move on and work much better. There have been circumstances that needed to be understood and learned from, but that has now happened and it's not an issue, from my point of view, from this point onwards."
City will face the Danish league leaders without Darius Vassell who has been ruled out for up to 10 weeks after injuring his knee in last Saturday's friendly with Milan. With Jo at the Olympics representing Brazil and Benjani Mwaruwari injured, Hughes is short of options up front against the Danes in this first leg, second qualifying round tie.
However, the former Blackburn manager welcomes back Corluka and winger Martin Petrov after they missed the Milan game.
Provisional Manchester City squad: Hart, Corluka, Onuoha, Richards, Dunne, Ben Haim, Ball, Garrido, Fernandes, Hamann, Ireland, Johnson, Etuhu, Elano, Bianchi, Bojinov, Evans, Sturridge, Castillo, Schmeichel, Caicedo.