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Sun 20 Dec 2009 08:38 AM

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Mark Hughes sacked from Man City post

Roberto Mancini takes over immediately after Sheikh Mansour removes Hughes from post after 4-3 win.


Mark Hughes was sacked as Manchester City manager on Saturday and replaced by Italian Roberto Mancini, the Premier League club said.


The world's richest soccer club announced after City's 4-3 home win over Sunderland that Hughes, appointed in 2008 after Sven-Goran Eriksson was axed, had been removed from his post.


Former Inter Milan coach Mancini, who watched the victory from the stands at Eastlands, takes over immediately.


City, whose victory was only their second in their last 11 league matches, are sixth in the standings and still firmly in the hunt for a top four finish this term.


They are also in the League Cup semi-finals where they will play Manchester United over two legs.


"A return of two wins in 11 Premier League games is clearly not in line with the targets that were agreed and set," City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said in a statement.


"(Owner) Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the Board felt that there was no evidence that the situation would fundamentally change," he added on the club website.


"This is a particularly difficult announcement given the personal investment over the past 15 months on all sides and we would like to put on record our respect for and thanks to Mark Hughes and we wish him the best in his future career."


Hughes enjoyed a glittering playing career as a striker with Manchester United, Barcelona and Chelsea before moving into coaching by taking charge of Wales and narrowly missing out on qualification for the Euro 2004 finals.


He furthered his reputation at Blackburn Rovers where in his four years at Ewood Park they regularly challenged for European qualification and reached three FA Cup semi-finals.


City finished 10th in Hughes' first season at the helm but after spending 115 million pounds ($186.4m) on six big signings in the close season, fuelled by the petro-dollars of the club's Abu Dhabi owner, expectations went through the roof.


With the likes of Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor, Roque Santa Cruz, Gareth Barry and Kolo Toure added to the squad, City were tipped as top-four contenders.


Even the dream of a first league title since 1968 seemed possible when they began the campaign with four consecutive wins, including a 4-2 home victory over Arsenal.


But a run of seven draws halted their early season momentum and Wednesday's dismal 3-0 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur fuelled rumours that Mancini was being lined as the new manager.


Hughes applauded all four sides of the stadium on Saturday and looked grim-faced as he walked down the tunnel for the final time -- his fate already sealed.


Mancini, who made his name as a striker at Sampdoria, won three consecutive Serie A titles as coach of Inter Milan before being sacked at the end of the 2007-08 season.


"Roberto is a hugely experienced manager with a proven track record of winning trophies and championships," Khaldoon Al Mubarak said.


"His experience and track record speak for themselves. What is absolutely clear is that Roberto believes in Manchester City's potential to achieve at the highest level and importantly in his own ability to make this happen.


"My hope is that our incredible fans will join us in welcoming Roberto to the football club."


Hughes is the second Premier League manager to lose his job this season after Paul Hart was sacked by Portsmouth, another club with Arab owners, last month.


His backroom team of Mark Bowen, Eddie Niedzwiecki, Kevin Hitchcock and Glyn Hodges have also left the club, City said. (Reuters)


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Paul. 9 years ago

I hope you lose every game from now on, he was asked to come in and manage the club, then it became the richest club in the world and the game plan changed, you now have to win everything, well that won't happen, unlucky sparky, your the scapegoat for the wanabees.......

Tad Davison 9 years ago

Dear Sirs, I wish to put on record my full support for the owners of Manchester City Football Club who have taken the courageous decision to sack manager Mark Hughes and replace him with someone with a proven pedigree. Unfortunately, in that process, they have brought upon themselves a lot of unwarranted criticism which I hope to deflect. The press, some football managers, and even some supporters have condemned Hughes' dismissal, but I often wonder if they really take into account the very many circumstances that prompted the owner's action and sound judgement? Hughes' sacking wasn't just desirable, it was absolutely vital and for quite a number of reasons. Firstly, he wasn't the choice of the new owners. Hughes was already in place when they bought the club, yet they gave him a fair chance despite the claims to the contrary. Other managers who can manage often do so on a limited budget. Hughes was given the kind of money to spend on players that other managers can only dream about. A good manager would have turned it around with the massive funds made available. Take a look at Chelsea or Tottenham and it is clearly possible. Most will agree that when building a football team, a manager builds from the back - not Hughes! With the odd exception, Hughes' purchases were not the best. Like a kid running loose in a sweet shop who just grabbed at everything, he paid inflated prices for one-season-wonders and misfits. After eighteen months in charge, Hughes' still couldn't manage to produce a decent and competent defence, but to their credit, the owners kept faith with him and gave him every chance. Yesterday's result against lowly and struggling Sunderland spoke volumes. City defended poorly and conceded some very silly goals. Had it not been for the referee who allowed an offside goal to stand, and the award of a very dubious penalty, City would have lost 3 : 2 at home, and that just isn't good enough. The television pundits keep trying to put a curious spin on City's results under Hughes saying how few games they have lost. I don't quite see it from their perspective because City seem to draw and not win, and that is a very important distinction. There are 38 league games in the course of an English Premiership season, and a team only gets one point for a draw. The safe threshold to avoid relegation is reckoned to be 40 points. To draw so many games is relegation form in my view, not something to hold up as a shining example. Clearly Manchester City's defence needs to be put right, but thanks to the January transfer window, there is a limited opportunity to buy-in new players. Hughes has already shown his judgement to be impaired so a new manager had to be in place before the new year so the timing was right. Then there is Hughes' past history to take into account. One fellow Manchester City supporter put it rather well recently when he said on television, 'It's a bit like a woman. If you can't forget her past, you've got no future.' Had Hughes been any good, the fact that he once played for City's rivals might have been easier to swallow, but we must ask ourselves what has he ever won as a manager? People keep repeating the discredited mantra (mainly because they hear it then repeat it) that Hughes is a brilliant young manager. I have been watching Manchester City since Hughes was in short pants, and football generally for much longer. I said on Black Wednesday (4th June 2008) when Hughes was appointed that he wasn't right for the club. Sometimes I hate to be proved right. Last night, following Hughes' departure, I slept very soundly indeed! Yours sincerely Tad Davison Cambridge UK

Original Joe 9 years ago

I agree with Paul 100% and disagree with Tad. Tad's monologue was very one sided but that is to be expected by some out there. I agree the Man City defense is weak but they have injuries. Look at what happened to Man United against Fulham. Should Alex Ferguson be sacked? I think not. If I remember correctly Man City tried to sign John Terry. He is a pretty good defender, correct? But is Mark Hughes to blaim because John Terry turned Man City down? I think not. Man City has had a bad run of draws and they should have won a few more than they have, but this could be said of many teams this year. The Premier League is wide open where any team can beat another. Portsmouth beat Liverpool and Burnley beat Man United. The second half of the season should be interesting. As far as Mancini's credentials, the Italian League is nowhere near the caliber of the English Premier League. Let's hope Mancini doesn't fall flat on his face, but I expect he will find winning more difficult than he thinks!! Mark Hughes did a great job in a short amount of time. He should hold his head high and be proud of his efforts.

Denzil Fernandes 9 years ago

All managers in football are as good as their results on the field. Even someone like Mourinho, Hiddink, Ancelotti or Capello can come crashing down if their team fails. Mark Hughes showed a lot of flair with his rich collection of players but in the end the owners of Man City wanted nothing but results. It is a bit tough in modern football where it is 'win at all costs'. Hughes looked good in appearance and one does know what happened behind. There is no guarantee that Mancini will start winning. Where is the magic formula for winnings? No one really knows. The only hope is that with a change in Manager the owners hope for a change in results too. Good luck to you Mancini !

JG 9 years ago

I think Mark Hughes is a good manager and will surely pop up elsewhere, but anyone who pays £25m for Adebayor deserves the sack. I'm just glad we sold him for that much.

Tad Davison 9 years ago

It is good to see other readers contributing to debate regarding the sacking of Mark Hughes as Manchester City boss (a term I could never bring myself to accept). Forgive the length of my comments but what is the point of having words to communicate if we don't use them? If I had just bought a football club with an incumbent manager, I think I would have done exactly the same as did City's new owners. I would give him the benefit of the doubt and back him to begin with, but if the results didn't come, replace him with my own man. That sounds perfectly reasonable to me, and who could possibly say that Manchester City's form has been anything but mediocre? Eighteen months is more than sufficient time to make improvements. This time last year, Harry Redknapp took over at Tottenham who were struggling to say the least. Harry turned things around in a fraction of the time Hughes was given and at a fraction of the cost. Nor did it take Mourinho too long to put a great and entertaining side together at Chelsea. Martin O'Neil is another good example of a man who has the ability to manage. Roy Hodgson has done brilliantly to turn around Fulham's fortunes, and the list goes on. They too have to cope with injuries and usually the effect is more pronounced because they have smaller squads and a more limited choice. I am not entirely sure what other people see when they watch a football match, but I liken each game to a rapidly-moving game of chess where tactics are constantly changing and different strategies are used in order to gain advantage over one's opponent. I could watch a master tactician like Jose Mourinho or Roy Hogdson make a team play to it's strengths and exploit the other side's weaknesses. I saw very little of that with the Manchester City managed by Mark Hughes! I saw laziness, fragmentation where parts of the team wouldn't play as a cohesive unit, a lack of discipline, a pathetic defence that Andy Pandy would have got past (with the exception of Given who is world-class in my view), and players who lacked commitment. That just isn't good enough from the richest club in the world with the highest expectations. Can anyone, including the so-called experts on television, who persists in saying that Hughes was/is a good manager please tell me what he has ever won in that capacity? There are plenty of good managers out there who can do a sterling job each week. Unfortunately, Mark Hughes isn't one of them and just as I was proven right when I criticised the wisdom of Hughes' initial appointment at City, I would be surprised if he does any good no matter where he goes - apart from the lower divisions maybe. Tad Davison Cambridge UK