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Hughes backing for Lescott

Perhaps trying to dampen some of the criticism aimed at him - particularly in the wake of Sunday's drawagainst Fulham, Mark Hughes has offered support for big money signing Joleon Lescott:

"You have to understand, though, that this is a new back four and the more games Joleon and Kolo [Touré] play together the better they will gel as a pair. Chelsea's back four is rock solid and that comes from the experience of having played together over four or five years. We haven't had that and at times we have had to change around because of injuries or suspensions, but it's only a matter of time.

"What Joleon has is real determination to grow and develop and if you have a player like that it's very easy to work with them. His attitude to work, on a daily basis, is exemplary and I wouldn't just blame Joleon [for the recent defensive lapses]. There will always be lapses of concentration or technical issues but I'm more concerned about cutting out consecutive errors because that's when you generally concede a goal."

Hughes has a valid point of course. Whereas the whole side has undergone a huge shift in both personnel and mentality over the summer, these changes are easier to absorb in the more attacking positions.

In defence, it takes far longer to build an understanding and solidity only comes with the unit playing together over a consistent period.

That is not to absolve Lescott of any criticism though, as there have been one or two basic, fundamental errors from him since his arrival but I don't think there is any doubt that the potential for Toure and Lescott to be a really dominating partnership is there for all to see.