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Page last updated at 09:35 GMT, Thursday, 5 June 2008 10:35 UK

Hughes sets high Man City targets

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Hughes expects the job at Eastlands to be a huge challenge

Manchester City's new manager Mark Hughes says making the club a major force in the Premier League and across Europe is one of his major targets.

Hughes was unveiled as City boss on Thursday after leaving Blackburn to become Sven-Goran Eriksson's successor.

"The ambition of the club is to challenge at the top table - not only in this country but in Europe," said ex-Manchester United striker Hughes.

"If we get the right players in right positions it is more than realistic."

Hughes said he left Blackburn in an attempt to achieve his ambitions of being at a club capable of challenging in the higher echelons, and he denied City were a route to a higher profile job for him.

"If I'm successful here I don't need any stepping stones," said the 44-year-old.

Mark Hughes
Hughes used to play for Man City's rivals Man Utd
He is expected to bring some of his backroom team with him from Ewood Park and said he believed they can turn City into a force in England and Europe.

"I had a fantastic time at Blackburn," said Hughes. "It was difficult on occasions with the amount of finance available.

"There was a limit to how far I could take the club and it's a case now that I'm at club that can match my ambitions."

And City's new executive chairman Garry Cook has demonstrated the scale of the club's ambition under the new manager by saying they are interested in signing Ronaldinho from Barcelona.

"Ronaldinho is one of the greatest players that has ever played and we are committed to bringing the best players to this football club," said Cook.

606: DEBATE

"There is competition, we understand that, but it is well documented we have gone down a certain path and we are at a positive point.

"You can never guarantee anything in football but Mark Hughes would like to see Ronaldinho here, I would like to see him here and I know the fans would like to see him here as well."

And he also confirmed the club was poised to break its transfer record to sign another Brazilian, Jo, from CSKA Moscow for 20m.

"We had some targets prior to Mark being appointed manager because there was a timing issue but we did say to everyone we were holding off," said Cook.

"Now we have spoken to Mark about it you will see Jo at Manchester City."

Hughes had been linked with taking over as Chelsea boss but insists that was never an option after talks began with City.

"Once Manchester City made their intentions known I was very focused on getting the opportunity to come to the club," he said.

"From the time their intention was shown, I had the opportunity to speak to Garry and members of the board.

"And it's been very quick and very clear to me that there is a huge project here that I want to be part of, so it was an easy decision (to leave Blackburn)."

Hughes has briefly spoken to club owner Thaksin Shinawatra and added: "He wished me well. I had a brief conversation with him and he's very excited by his ambition for the club."

It was feared there would be an exodus of players from City following the exit of Eriksson and that is a situation Hughes said he would be addressing.

The magic is still in his boots - Let us hope we can bring him

Man City owner Thaksin Shinawatra on Ronaldinho

The former Wales boss warned his new players that he would be expecting them to show the necessary passion and drive to be a part of his plans.

"I'll back my ability against most managers in the Premier League and I think my management team is one of the best in the Premier League, and I think we can make an impact here," he said.

"If I didn't think that I wouldn't have come here.

"I'm very demanding (with players) on a day-to-day basis and I expect a certain level to be attained.

"I'm consistent with players, they know exactly how far they can go. Once they understand my philosophy, if they embrace that they will thrive."

Hughes refused to be drawn on any transfer targets, but Shinawatra has made it clear he would like to sign Ronaldinho.

"Whatever the club in your heart, you would want to see this player in England, wouldn't you?", he told the Daily Mail.

"It is not a risk. Sponsors will contribute. It will not damage our wage structure. Garry and Pairoj, my chief advisor, they are taking care of this transfer. I am very excited.

"I am 59 next birthday, so I am not a man who can wait for many years to see my dreams come true."

He added: "I am hearing good things about his hunger. I have spoken to his brother (and agent).

"Ronaldinho wants the new challenge, the chance to play his best football again, to return to the days when he was really, really famous.

"The magic is still in his boots. Let us hope we can bring him."




see also
Hughes becomes Man City manager
05 Jun 08 |  Man City
Why Man City turned to Hughes
04 Jun 08 |  Man City
Blackburn in no rush for new boss
04 Jun 08 |  Blackburn
Eriksson appointed Mexico coach
03 Jun 08 |  Internationals
Eriksson leaves Manchester City
02 Jun 08 |  Man City
Hughes & Mancini on Chelsea list
28 May 08 |  Chelsea


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