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Fergi rules City out

Posted by Faiyaz On November - 29 - 2008   

City are regarded as the richest team in world football after their September takeover by an oil-rich Arab group. But, pointing out that Mark Hughes’ side are 11th in the table, Ferguson said: “Where are they at the moment? “Excuse me! At this moment in time, our threats are still Chelsea and Liverpool who are sitting above us, aren’t they?”

City are expected to be big spenders in the January transfer window, when Hughes will get the chance to spend some of Abu Dhabi United’s immense wealth to strengthen his squad.

Hughes has already spent £32.5m to sign Brazilian forward Robinho from Real Madrid on deadline day at the end of the summer transfer window, when he only had a matter of hours to use the consortium’s cash to sign players.

But, as United look to avenge their two defeats in derby matches last season, Ferguson has warned the Welshman that money will not necessarily buy success.

“When (Chelsea owner) Roman Abramovich came in and bought all those players, Chelsea won the league for the next two years,” added Ferguson. “But there are other examples where it has not worked.

“Spending money is easier said than done. That’s when decision-making has to come into it and it is Mark who is left with that responsibility.

“With Chelsea, it has worked. Their success rate has been good, they have stayed at the top and they are not spending money the way they did when Abramovich came on the scene.

“But you can look at other clubs where it hasn’t worked.”

Last season, City completed the league double over United for the first time since 1969/70 by winning 1-0 at Eastlands and 2-1 at Old Trafford.

Sunday’s game will be Hughes’ first Manchester derby as manager of City, although he only lost one in 13 years as a striker for United between 1980 and 1986 and from 1988 to 1995.

He is clearly relishing the occasion and hopes to make a statement of intent about City’s prospects for the future.

“You could argue it’s a bigger derby now because of our change in circumstances,” Hughes said.

“United are obviously an enormous world power in football and we are nowhere near that at this moment in time.

“But we have the potential and the aim is to try and compete with United on all fronts – that’s why the derby this weekend is arguably bigger than it has ever been.”

Hughes is aware of the expectation that has come with his club’s new-found wealth but he says it will take time for City to achieve United’s status on and off the pitch.

“It is early days for us,” he explained. “We have had a huge spotlight placed upon us. That is a situation that is ongoing and we have resources at our disposal now that in the future we will be in a position to use.

“If you look at United they have had huge investment for 20-odd years now, we have had it for 10 hours. So there is a huge difference – we are very early in our development and it is not going to happen overnight.

“It is a huge project here, not only on the field of play but behind the scenes as well, there are going to be massive changes.

“At this moment in time it is a bit unfair to judge us in football terms because we are very early in our progression but we are going in the right direction and it is a really exciting time to be here.”

After an inconsistent start to the season, City are looking to build on wins over Arsenal and Schalke 04 in the last week and Hughes said: “Our performance on Thursday was really assured and accomplished.

“We are in great shape. Confidence-wise we couldn’t be in any better shape to face a very strong team – we are looking forward to it.

“We are mindful that they, rightly or wrongly, will be expecting to win. As Premier League champions they have the confidence to go into games against their rivals expecting to win, not hoping to win.

“What we have to do is make sure we give them enough problems to enable us to seize the initiative and make sure we come out on top.”

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