Belfast Telegraph

Mark Hughes takes a potshot at Manchester City

Mark Hughes began his career as Fulham manager yesterday with a swipe at his former employers at Manchester City, claiming he would have led the club to the Champions League last season had he not been sacked last December.

In a remarkable press conference at Craven Cottage, Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed also called former manager Roy Hodgson “a bugger” who “took advantage” of Fulham and predicted he would fail at Anfield.

Hughes used the platform of his unveiling at Fulham to launch a vigorous defence of his record at Manchester City. He was dismissed by City's Abu Dhabi owners at the end of last year to be replaced by Roberto Mancini, whose side was pipped for fourth place at the end of the season by Tottenham Hotspur.

Hughes claimed yesterday that City made an error in replacing him as he was on course for achieving Champions League qualification, even though the club were sixth when he was sacked.

Asked if he thought he would have successfully led City to fourth place last season, a bitter Hughes replied: “Yes I would. I think I would have. 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 overachieve. I thought fifth, possibly fourth was very, very achieveable.

“I was disappointed because I felt I was doing a good job at City,”

Hughes was dismissed by Manchester City in December just hours after a 4-3 win over Sunderland, with City in sixth place in the Premier League on a run of two victories in 11 games. The 46-year-old former Wales and Blackburn Rovers manager said the new owners wanted to appoint their own man all along, which always counted against him.

“There was disappointment because I wasn't able to see the job through. I felt we were fully on track with the expectations of the owners. But unfortunately maybe their mindset changed and I wasn't part of their plans. They've moved on and I need to move on,” Hughes said.

“One of the big things that went against me at City was I wasn't put in place by the current owners. Maybe that was a significant factor in the reason that I'm not still there.

“I have no embarrassment whatsoever about the job I did at Manchester City.”

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