Hughes delighted with Given debut

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Manchester City boss Mark Hughes admitted he could not remember a better goalkeeping debut than the one Shay Given produced at Eastlands as Middlesbrough were beaten 1-0.

Given made four outstanding saves to deny Afonso Alves and ensure City emerged deserved victors thanks to Craig Bellamy's second-half strike.

"I can't remember a better goalkeeping debut than that," said Hughes. "Whatever Shay was asked to do he did it without any real theatre. He was very composed and had a calming influence on our back four."

He added: "People may argue about who is better in those situations but very few are as good as Shay and we are delighted he is here.

"Over the course of a season the keeper has such an impact on what you do. He is going to help us immensely."

Although Bellamy had one of his quieter afternoons, he was not going to spurn the chance offered six minutes into the second period when Emanuel Pogatetz failed to close him down, rifling a shot into the bottom corner.

"Craig is doing really well," said Hughes. "It shows the value of going into the market for guys who understand the Premier League and have experience of it.

"They can come in and hit the ground running, which is exactly what Craig has done. We are delighted with the impact he is having."

Struggling Boro find themselves in a relegation battle and boss Gareth Southgate has vowed to see the scrap through to its conclusion.

"There is no chance of me walking out on this challenge," he said. "I am not shirking my responsibility. The fortunate thing for us is that the league is so tight but we probably need five wins to stay in the division."

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Manchester City
Afonso Alves
Mark Hughes
Craig Bellamy
Premier League
Emanuel Pogatetz
Shay Given
Gareth Southgate
Mark Hughes

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