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Culture change

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Only 14 words long, the sentence spoke volumes. Hughes's pronouncement highlighted the need for everyone within Eastlands to pursue excellence through unstinting endeavour, a point that Robinho and Craig Bellamy have also made, while emphasising the reality that success rarely arrives overnight.

"It's been too long,'' said Hughes of City's 33-year wait for major honours. "For the amount of time they've been in the top tier of football they should have won more trophies. We are trying to change the mentality of everyone here and that takes time. But we are starting that process and will be helped if we can progress in trophies like the Uefa Cup. We're in good shape. That first trophy is important to everybody.

Jack posted on this topic in length yesterday, and I do feel it is an important topic and gets to the very heart of what Hughes has been attempting to achieve this season.

When ADUG took control over the club last summer, there was a lot of talk and expectation in terms of Champions League qualification. That clearly has not materialised, and in truth, was never likely to this season.

However, ahead of today's first leg tie at home to Aalborg there is a growing realisation that the UEFA Cup is a trophy we can genuinely land. Although league form has precluded us from the promised lands of the Champions League, in terms of our development (and to erase past failures).

It cannot be understimated quite what us winning a trophy after such a barren spell would signify in terms of our intentions for future achievement, almost laying down a marker - and far more so than a top four finish would do.

To me, that's why the opportunity we have in front of us in the UEFA Cup this season cannot be passed by.