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Hughes stands up for Robinho
16 Mar 2009 - 07:13:26
Manchester City boss Mark Hughes refused to blame Robinho's poor performance for his side's 1-0 defeat at Chelsea.
City have struggled away from Eastlands all season, winning all three points on only one occasion, and fell to yet another loss at Stamford Bridge where Michael Essien scored the only goal.
Robinho again failed to impress, but Hughes thought his side's insipid display had more to do with their midweek UEFA Cup exertions.
"It's sometimes difficult away from home," he said. "It was difficult to get Robinho into the game.
"You have to give the opposition credit for that because they see Robinho as a threat for us and they're going to try and deny him the space to have a positive impact.
"You can't just expect one player to carry the team. We have other players who have to stand up to the plate and be counted. Today wasn't Robinho's day.
"His general performances have been good. He's scored 11 Premier League goals and had a real impact for us.
"It's been more difficult for us to get him in the right areas to score, but he's created a number of goals for us and is helping the team. Today was just one of those days when he wasn't able to have a positive effect on the side.
"He is under pressure every time he plays and there's an expectation every time he plays. But all our attackers struggled so it is unfair to pinpoint him.
"Our attacking play was maybe a little too slow. We're an attack-minded team, but we didn't have that sharpness that you need when you come up against one of the top sides.
"I just think we looked a bit leggy today. The difference in preparation time told in the end. The fact that we were missing key personnel as well didn't allow us to have that spark or dynamic play we've had in recent weeks.
"We switched off briefly for the goal we conceded. At that point, Chelsea were quite comfortable to protect that lead, and we didn't ask enough questions of them because we lacked that spark."