New Fulham boss Mark Hughes has warned he will expect nothing less than a top-ten finish when the Cottagers get their Premier League campaign underway next weekend.

Hughes was speaking out at his maiden press conference at Craven Cottage after replacing Roy Hodgson in the Fulham hotseat.

And the former Wales, Blackburn and Manchester City boss admits he has ambitious plans for his new club.

Hughes said: “There is no doubt that we are in a different league to a lot of sides in terms of what we can realistically achieve this season.

“But I have always tried to overachieve wherever I have been and I do not believe in downplaying expectations.

“I know managers who deliberately talk down their hopes so when they outperform them people pat them on the back, but I do not operate like that.

“I think the fans need to feel that the club they support can achieve something, and I do not want to diminish those dreams before we have even kicked a ball.

“That is why I believe we will be a top-ten club and I am confident we can reach that goal.”

Hughes was drafted in after first-choice Martin Jol elected to snub Fulham and stay with Ajax.

And the former Manchester United striker revealed he had not been tempted by the role at first.

Hughes added: “My perception of the ambitions of Fulham and what they want to achieve was far different from the reality.

“I felt that the last two years the club had been punching above their weight, but that is not the feeling here.

“The club is looking to improve and build on what has been achieved and I want to be part of that.

“In this league if you stand still people overtake you and you will find yourself in trouble.

“But the club is willing to spend money and that will allow me to add quality to the squad.”

Having endured a turbulent end to his time at Eastlands, Hughes is well aware of the trials and tribulations of dealing with demanding chairmen.

But the 46-year-old reckons working with Mohamed Al Fayed will be a different proposition.

Hughes added: “One of the appeals of Fulham is that I can get on with my job.

“There are far less layers of management here than at Manchester City and I can have a direct influence on where the club is going.

“Everyone I have dealt with so far has been very easy to work with and there is a very positive feeling around the place.”