Fulham boss Mark Hughes is demanding a much improved performance as Fulham seek to gain revenge on his old club Manchester City.
The Cottagers crashed to a 4-1 home defeat to the Premier League big-spenders in November, with Zoltan Gera netting a late consolation after City had gone 4-0 up after just 56 minutes.
Hughes believes some of his side were not fully committed that day and he expects a much better performance on Sunday as he heads to Eastlands for the first time since he was sacked just over a year ago.
The Fulham boss said: “We couldn’t afford to have anybody not fully committed (against City at Craven Cottage).
“What happened on the day, I think, some were, some weren’t, some showed a little bit of apprehension in what we were trying to do.
“We’ve moved on from that. We’re better now in terms of understanding what we have to do. As a consequence, we expect a much improved performance and result.”
But their cause has not been helped by the news that returning striker Bobby Zamora is a doubt after twisting his ankle in training on Friday morning.
“We’re just going to have to see if that settles down quickly enough for him to be involved,” Hughes said of the forward, who only returned from five months out with a broken leg in the FA Cup defeat to Bolton last Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Fulham boss has defended his transfer record while in charge at City after spending millions trying to fulfil the lofty ambitions at the club following Sheikh Mansour’s takeover two and a half years ago.
Current City boss Roberto Mancini has undertaken something of a cull of players recruited by his predecessor, with the likes of Robinho sold and Emmanuel Adebayor, Roque Santa Cruz, Craig Bellamy and Wayne Bridge all out on loan.
But Hughes has rubbished suggestions his transfer policy had been flawed, insisting he brought three of their best players to Eastlands.
He said: “We had to very quickly move in the market and bring in better players and stronger players, and that’s what we did.
“If you look at the City side now, I would suggest some of their main performers, and strongest, are the likes of Vincent Kompany, Nigel de Jong and Carlos Tevez. They’ve had a huge impact for City.
“Along the way, some purchases haven’t worked for whatever reasons, not really in terms of the ability those players have, but because of circumstances and the thinking of the management team and the coaches.
“And that happens when there’s a change in management.”
Hughes also refused to be drawn on whether Mancini’s overhaul had made City a stronger side.
“It’s not for me to judge,” he said. “I think they’re very strong. Obviously, they’re making inroads into the top four in terms of Champions League football, which is what they need.
“And they’ll go very close this year, I’m sure. But, in terms of their overall development (and) are they further down the road or behind the targets they set themselves, I don’t know.
“You’d have to ask other people that.”