On his first return to Manchester City since he was sacked 14 months ago, Hughes’ Fulham side came away with a 1-1 draw that almost certainly ended City’s Premier League title hopes.
But the delight at a fully merited result turned to annoyance when Mancini appeared not to look at Hughes as the pair shook hands, leading the Welshman to withdraw in clear annoyance.
“I am old-fashioned,” he said. “I always think you should offer your hand in whatever circumstances, no matter how difficult it is.
“I did it and did it with sincerity after my team had been beaten 4-1 at Craven Cottage earlier in this season. I acknowledged his team were better.
“Maybe I misread it but I don’t feel Roberto really acknowledged the efforts of my team and what we had done by the manner he offered his hand, by not looking at me.”
Mancini countered with the accusation Hughes had done exactly the same thing in November following one of City’s best performances of the season.
“In London he did the same,” said Mancini. “I know he said something but I couldn’t understand what.
“For you (journalists) it is maybe the best thing in the match, for me, no. It is not important. He (Hughes) should be happy. His team got a draw against us.”
Hughes was indeed delighted.
Even without Bobby Zamora, who was ruled out with an ankle injury, Fulham showed more attacking invention than the hosts, levelling at the start of the second half through Damien Duff.
Mario Balotelli had put City ahead with his ninth goal of the season, although Mancini was not overly impressed by the Italian’s performance.
“No, I am not happy with him,” said Mancini. “He scored a good goal but I am not happy. He should play well, better than that.
“For strikers it is important to score. But strikers should also play for the team.
“I don’t just mean Balotelli, but Carlos and Dzeko as well. They should always play for the team. Mario can play better.”
Balotelli’s performance coupled with the difficulties City had mastering the Fulham midfield, leading to Edin Dzeko’s departure after an hour, may lead to Mancini temporarily abandoning his three-man strike force in the search for a victory in Wednesday’s FA Cup fifth round tie with Aston Villa.
“Sometimes players can play badly,” he said. “You cannot always play well.
“But the attitude is always important. If you don’t have a good attitude, it is difficult to play with three strikers.”
Mancini acknowledged a sense of tiredness amongst his depleted squad, revealing that James Milner and Shaun Wright-Phillips were named on the bench this afternoon despite being less than fully fit.
The Italian hopes David Silva can recover from an ankle injury in time to face Villa, otherwise he will face Gerard Houllier’s men with the same group of players.
None of this will bother Hughes, who felt his players had helped him gain a sense of satisfaction at the club that sacked him.
“I don’t have any regrets,” said Hughes. “City are a fantastic club and they have some great people here.
“I met people I was really fond of. I have not had chance to do that since I was sacked.
“Everybody has pride and it was important for our staff and their families. To get a result like that is important for a lot of people.”
Hughes Stirred Over Mancini Shake