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Hughes given more backing amidst further reports of unrest

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"Mark is part of building the club. His plans and the way he is running the team are going to build and change and the confidence will start to build.

"We will bring people here who want to see the club move forward and the fans will ideally take to them because they're committed to the club.

"Once we get through the first window, when Mark's impact will be able to advance the future of the club, things will start to settle down."


Yet more backing for Hughes, following on from other recent instances of support and whilst it won't stop discussion regarding his future, surely it puts to bed any doubt that he will be remaining in charge.

Cook's comments were made in the wake of a now widely reported article by Ian Ladyman in which he exposed the extent of Hughes's displeasure with certain factions of the squad:

The full extent of Mark Hughes's anger after Manchester City's capitulation to Nottingham Forest on Saturday was felt not in the dressing room but in the boardroom, it emerged last night.

Journalists who waited for an hour to talk with Hughes after the final whistle presumed the City manager was spelling out a few home truths to his players who had failed him so nakedly at Eastlands.

But Hughes had headed straight for an impromptu meeting with City executives, whom he believes need to act more promptly to get him the players he needs so badly.

The piece - whilst not a new story as such - does illustrate the fractious nature of the relationship Hughes has with certain players, and it does make you wonder quite what the state of harmony is within the camp at the moment:

It is understood Hughes did not even give his side a particularly noticeable rollicking on Saturday. The Welshman is fed up with talking to players who, aware that they have no long-term future at the club, just stare back at him with blank, emotionless faces.

On Saturday one player, who had played a major part in City's downfall, laughed with a team-mate as he took his post-match shower.

Only a fortnight previously, a group of players, prominently featuring Brazilian Elano and Israeli defender Tal Ben Haim, called a team meeting with the express purpose of denegrating Hughes's tactics.

One player - no longer in the squad - recently went to Cook to complain (unsuccessfully) about the manager.

Against this background, it is clear why Hughes feels the need to shake up his squad and isolate those who appear to have lost the desire to play for him.

Michael Ball, Didi Hamann, Elano and Jo would not figure in another Hughes team in his ideal world.
It is now clear that there is going to be a period of blood letting at the club both this January and over the summer, and it appears as if Hughes has been given licence to move things in the direction he wants.

Given the scale of the changes likely to occur, Hughes will have to hope that once the dust settles, it is proven that the right decisions will have been made.

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