Hughes expecting tough test

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Mark Hughes is not convinced the scrutiny on him as Manchester City manager would reduce even if he ended the Blues' 33-year trophy drought by winning the UEFA Cup this season.

City entertain Aalborg at Eastlands on Thursday night knowing a victory would see them claim a quarter-final berth.

"I don't see the scrutiny we are under lessening anytime soon," said Hughes. "We must get used to that. It is about dealing with that pressure and those expectations."

He added: "As I keep stressing, the expectations some people have for us are a little bit unrealistic.

"First, we need to become a team that is solid and understands how to win games. We can compete in this league. What we have to do is compete consistently."

One of the reasons City find themselves trying to cope with such high demands is the amount of money being lavished on the team, in particular Robinho.

If City are to make further inroads in the competition, the £32.5million British record signing will have to be a significant performer.

He has returned from a brief trip back to South America having apparently recovered from the ankle injury that kept him out of last week's impressive win over Aston Villa, with Hughes expecting another big performance from a player he feels is unjustly singled out at times when results have not gone well.

"At times Robinho gets overly criticised," said Hughes. "When we have not played well away from home, he seems to get the brunt of it because he is one of our most high-profile players.

"But people have to take into account that he is one of our more creative and attack-minded players and teams will try to make sure he doesn't have a positive impact."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Europa League
European News
Manchester City
Mark Hughes
Premier League
Mark Hughes
Aston Villa

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