MARK HUGHES insists his players will be going to the Etihad Stadium this weekend with the sole intention of claiming maximum points from the hotly-anticipated clash against the reigning Premier League Champions.
The Potters have yet to net an away top-flight goal against Manchester City since winning promotion from the Championship back in 2008 – with Ricardo Fuller’s effort in the FA Cup back in 2010 remaining the only goal to have been scored there.
Last season’s performance against Manuel Pellegrini’s side was by far the Club’s most impressive away showing at the Etihad Stadium, despite Ivory Coast international Yaya Toure’s late strike sealing the victory for hosts.
Speaking ahead of the game on Saturday, Hughes said that whilst all of the expectation rests on the home side’s shoulders he knows that he has proven match winners within his squad of players, and as a consequence is targeting a monumental victory.
“In recent times, apparently, performances at City haven't been great, and the chairman was very gracious last year when, even though we were beaten again, he said it was one of our better performances there,” the City boss said at the pre-match press conference.
“We need to do that again to get maximum points. That's our aim, but obviously we are fully aware of how difficult it will be for us, given the quality of the opposition we are coming up against.
“They've got match-winners who can take a game away from anybody, and so we have to make sure we stay in the game. That is absolutely crucial for us.
“I see some sides going into certain games and it really appears that their only intention is keeping the scoreline down. We have a different mentality to that. We have our own match-winners who are capable of winning games against anybody.”
Hughes, who spent 18-months in charge of Manchester City earlier in his managerial career, admits to being slightly envious of the options that counterpart Pellegrini has available to him.
“They are an outstanding team. I watched them first hand against Liverpool and they were very, very impressive I have to say, especially during the second half where they stepped up a gear and really took the game away from Liverpool.
“When you go there as an opposition manager, as I did on Monday night, you find yourself looking at the subs list and trying to work out what Mr Pellegrini is going to do with his resources against us. It’s almost impossible to try and second guess what he is going to do.
“One thing we do know however, is that whichever eleven he does put out there will be full of experience and world class quality. It will be a real test for us.”