Fulham boss Mark Hughes has insisted he does not bear a grudge against Manchester City but is relishing the prospect of piling the pressure on the man who succeeded him at Eastlands.
City travel to Craven Cottage on Sunday in an eagerly awaited meeting that pits Hughes against the big-spending club who fired him 11 months ago after lining up Roberto Mancini as his replacement. But while many believed Hughes was treated abysmally by City, the Fulham boss is in the position to have the last laugh if the Cottagers can add to Mancini's woes. Nevertheless, Hughes refuses to describe the showdown as a grudge match.
"Whenever a player goes up against a team he was employed by, or a manager in my circumstances, there is always an extra incentive to try to win the game," Hughes said today. "My aim first and foremost is to win for Fulham. It is always nice to go up against former clubs and show that there is life after you have left them."
However Hughes said he quickly put the disappointment of his City exit behind him. "Once the door on my career as a manager at Manchester City was closed then I moved on. I don't hold grudges. I'm not bitter about the situation. The only thing that affects is yourself. Why drag yourself down with things that have happened in the past? You have to move on and look for other challenges."
Hughes meanwhile believes City should not expect instant success despite their record-breaking summer transfer spree. "There has to be a level of patience. From my point of view that wasn't shown as long as I felt it should have been," Hughes said. "The current manager is their choice. I always felt the fact that I wasn't hand-picked to do the job would at some point undermine me and I think that happened. Maybe now there is more patience."