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Hughes criticism a dangerous move

"I didn't expect the other team to show more desire but I am just being honest," Hughes said. "I am not telling anyone anything they didn't see themselves. I have known the frailties in the team from day one."

"You need leaders, people who drive the game and affect it in a positive way," Hughes said. "If we have more than one, two or three players below their best, then we struggle to win games. We have shown that throughout the season."

"I know exactly what is needed here," Hughes said. "The work we do on a day-to-day basis makes players better. They have to be brave enough to perform in matches. Today some were guilty of not doing that. We know where we are in development terms and we know where we need to go."

>>Mark Hughes.

It may be an honest assessment of the squad from Hughes, and not the first time in the wake of a defeat that he has been highly critical of his team - but not to quite the extent he has was in the wake of the defeat to Nottingham Forest.

The comments are certainly strongly worded, and are potentially dangerous for Hughes given that they could be viewed as an attempt to deflect blame or criticism from himself onto the team. Footballers are notoriously temperamental beings, and I wouldn't imagine the majority will react too kindly to such public admonishment time and again.

With the addition of Wayne Bridge, almost half of the side that finished last season under Sven have been replaced and stories have surfaced this season already regarding divisions within the squad. Hughes clearly wants to revolutionise the squad and bring in his own players, and it is not too much of a stretch to identify those players who do not have a future under him.

What he desperately needs more than anything is a successful run of results and to generate some degree of form and momentum that can be built upon. If results do not pick up, the pressure will continue to build on him, and with this pressure will only come more questions about him and his managerial style and approach.

Whilst he clearly appears to have the unequivocal confidence of those in control of the club at the moment, this could soon change if the he loses the backing of the players he is in charge of.

Comments like those today will hardly help his cause.