Positive Petrov delights Hughes

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Football News

Mark Hughes hailed Martin Petrov's first Manchester City start of the season and played down the Bulgarian's goal celebration in a 3-1 win over West Ham.

Petrov was disappointed at not getting a deadline-day move to Tottenham and felt he would be a peripheral figure at Eastlands this season. However, he started after Stephen Ireland was ruled out through illness and responded by setting up the first of Carlos Tevez's double before ramming home a free-kick after Carlton Cole had equalised.

Hughes said: "When opportunities present themselves you have to be able to make an impact. That is what Martin did."

Petrov immediately ran towards Hughes and pointed to his name on the back of his shirt, as if to remind his boss who he is. Not that Hughes was too concerned.

"He does it all the time," shrugged the Welshman. "He was a really positive influence on the game, which is what we need. "I don't want players who sit in the stand feeling sorry for themselves. They have to be ready to come on and perform."

The result, which leaves City in fifth with a game in hand over all the sides above them while dropping West Ham into the relegation zone, completed the Blues best start to a top-flight season since 1961.

Hughes confirmed Robinho will be out of action for at least another three weeks with the ankle injury he suffered on international duty with Brazil last month after seeing Tevez score his first league goals of the season.

The striker's reaction to his first goal, scored directly in front of the Hammers supporters, brought an almost apologetic wave of acknowledgement from the South American, which Gianfranco Zola felt was in keeping with his general attitude towards the Londoners.

"Great players like him are true gentlemen," said Zola. "Our supporters appreciate him for what he did for the club and his contribution for City was outstanding."

Zola added: "I am angry with myself and the team. I do not think anyone, including myself, is giving, or doing, what they are capable of. It is as simple as that. I expect much more."

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Tottenham Hotspur
Carlton Cole
Martin Petrov
Stephen Ireland
Manchester City
Carlos Tevez
Mark Hughes
Premier League
Gianfranco Zola
Mark Hughes
West Ham United

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