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Hughes delighted with display

22 March 2009 07:18
Mark Hughes was relieved to come out on top against Sunderland after a testing week for his Manchester City charges.

Hughes helped steer City into their first European quarter-final in 30 years thanks to an edgy penalty shoot-out victory over Aalborg in Denmark on Thursday night.

The North West side returned to the domestic scene for a tough looking tie at home to struggling Sunderland, but emerged 1-0 winners thanks to Micah Richards' 57th minute header.

PositivesThe result takes City up to 10th on 38 points from 30 games and Hughes was pleased to triumph after such an energy sapping week.

"We had chances to win more comprehensively but towards the end we got a little bit nervous only because we obviously had a really hard game on Thursday," Hughes told Sky Sports.

"Some of the guys were cramping up so we needed to make changes. Sunderland were always going to throw balls into our box and hope something would drop for them.

"Overall we're delighted with the win. That's six home wins on the bounce so we're delighted after a good result in terms of getting into the next round in Europe and then a win against a spirited Sunderland side."

RespectGeorge McCartney's sending off turned the game on the quarter hour mark and, though Ricky Sbragia was unhappy with the decision, Hughes had no sympathy.

"I thought Shaun was clean through and he impeded him and by the letter of the law that's a sending off," Hughes added.

"Whether or not it was blatant or an accident I don't know but the referee took his time and consulted with his linesman and they came up with the decision, obviously that has to be respected.

"After that it was a case of making sure we kept on probing, kept on being patient with our play, trying to create in wide areas and then get an opportunity. Micah got the goal and then we just needed to see out the game."

Robinho also missed a penalty just two minutes after McCartney was dismissed and has now gone 13 games without a goal, but Hughes remains relaxed about the output of his £32.5million man heading into the international break.

"The keeper guessed right and that happens but he didn't allow it to affect him," Hughes concluded.

"He still kept on trying to make an impact and he had a number of opportunities that without the quality of the keeper he probably would have scored.

"All in all it was a decent performance and we're in that top half again. We're looking forward to the games we have left."

Source: SKY_Sports