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SAMBA HEAT; UEFA CUP MANC v FC TWENTE GROUP A, TONIGHT KICK-OFF 7.45PM Hughes puts pressure on his Brazilian stars to add steel to their style tonight.


MARK HUGHES has told his samba stars to add graft to their craft.

The Manchester City boss feels Robinho, Elano and Jo need to work harder to help smooth out the Blues' erratic form.

City are nine points worse off than they were at this point last season, having lost six games, and Hughes feels his talented side must show more grit.

"When I talk to the team about fundamentals, they all apply irrespective of whether or not you're physically strong or technically gifted," said the City manager. "The players all have to run back, all have to chase people down and it doesn't matter if you're not very big or strong, you still have to do it.

"They have to understand in certain games against certain opposition, it won't be a technical game, it'll be a battle and they must be ready for that."

Hughes is trying to change the laidback mind-set of the squad he inherited from Sven Goran Eriksson and has underlined his work ethos by installing a new state-of-the-art gym at their Carrington training ground.

But he doesn't want Robinho pumping iron all day, adding: "It's a balance. You have to have the ability to be strong, you have to withstand challenges, stand up to tackles, you have to exploit situations where defenders maybe over-commit.

"The emphasis will always be on getting the ball down and playing good football, but at times you have to stand up and be counted.

"The more games they play, the more they understand what the Premier League is all about. We're a young side in years and in experience."

Steve McClaren's FC Twente should not pose City any of the problems Bolton's street-fighters did on Sunday and Hughes feels they are more like his side in style.

Hughes feels McClaren should be applauded for taking the plunge with the Dutch minnows following his exit from the England job almost a year ago, although he does expect he will receive some stick tonight at the City of Manchester Stadium.

Hughes said: "Possibly there will be some friendly banter.

"But Steve has moved on and so have the England team. He's plying his trade in a foreign country and he should be applauded for that."

McClaren admits he "wants shooting again" if he hasn't learnt from his England flop.

The Twente coach said: "If I'm not a stronger person and a better manager I want shooting again because I should be from all the lessons that were learnt."

Hughes has Jo, Benjani and Darius Vassell back following illness and injury respectively for City's opening UEFA Cup group game.

But City will be without Martin Petrov until after March while he has knee surgery. He was hurt playing for Bulgaria.

MANCHESTER CITY: Hart, Zabaletta, Dunne, Ben Haim, Richards; Wright-Phillips, Kompany, Ireland, Elano; Jo, Robinho.

FC TWENTE: Boschker; Wielaert, Douglas, Heubach, Tiot, Perez, Stam, Brama, Denneboom, Nkufo, Elia.

TV TIME: Live on ITV4, 7pm


TOUGH IT OUT Hughes wants Robinho to add grit to his flair and skill; BRAZIL HARD NUTS Boss Hughes wants Elano and Jo to show they can battle it out when things get rough
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 6, 2008
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