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Page last updated at 08:40 GMT, Thursday, 9 April 2009 09:40 UK

Man City 'need time to develop'

Micah Richards in action for City
Richards is confident of progress in the Uefa Cup against Hamburg

Micah Richards says it could be up to four years before Manchester City reach their potential under their new owners.

The Abu Dhabi United Group took over in September 2008, spending a British record £32.5m on Robinho, but City have since endured an inconsistent season.

"There is pressure with the new owners coming in - people expect us to win every game," said defender Richards.

"We need room to build, maybe three or four years. That will be the time to judge us," added the 20-year-old.

Manager Mark Hughes used January's transfer window to sign England defender Wayne Bridge, Netherlands midfielder Nigel de Jong and Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given in an effort to haul City away from the relegation zone.

Although City are currently 10th in the Premier League with 38 points, their terrible away form - they have won just one game in 16 outside of Eastlands - has frustrated the club's billionaire owners.

The club are still in contention for European honours and travel to Bundesliga leaders Hamburg, managed by former Tottenham boss Martin Jol, for the first leg of their Uefa Cup quarter-final on Thursday.


Richards believes City have the potential to reach the final of the competition, in Istanbul on 20 May.

"The team has changed a lot since pre-season. It was a case of people getting to know each other and we were trying out new things," said the 20-year-old.

"We are more stable now and I do not think the pressure affects the players. We just give 100% every game.

"Hopefully we can take our home form into this game and get the result we need. This is a crucial match for us as we need a good result here. It is important to keep a clean sheet and if we could nick a goal that would be great.

"The UEFA Cup means a hell of a lot to the players. We have come this far and don't want to give it up."

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see also
Hamburg v Man City
08 Apr 09 |  Europe
Hughes defends Robinho away form
08 Apr 09 |  Europe
Hughes quashes Robinho rift talk
25 Mar 09 |  Man City
Man City poised to fine Robinho
27 Jan 09 |  Man City
Robinho explains Man City absence
20 Jan 09 |  Man City
AC Milan 'bottled Kaka transfer'
20 Jan 09 |  Man City
Man City move for Kaka collapses
20 Jan 09 |  Man City

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