It had been coming for a while now, but yesterday was the day Mark Hughes was sacked as manager of Manchester City after just 18 months in charge, only to be immediately replaced by former Inter Milan manager Roberto Mancini.
Before kick-off in yesterday’s game against Sunderland rumours had already begun circulating that Hughes had been sacked and an announcement was imminent after the final whistle. So it was no surprise when the news broke late yesterday evening that he had indeed been sacked.
In his last game in charge he managed to preside over a rare win as City beat The Black Cats 4-3 at the City of Manchester Stadium, as his successor Mancini watched on from the stands.
Mancini’s appointment looks to be a bit of a gamble, because despite winning a trio of Serie A titles at San Siro and Italian Cup triumphs with Inter, Fiorentina and Lazio, the 45-year-old has no previous experience of managing in England, and has been out of work since, leaving Inter in late May 2008.
Despite his lack of pedigree he does sign a three-year contract at Eastlands, and will be joined by Brian Kidd who will assist him.
In a statement on the clubs official website Khaldoon Al Mubarak, City’s chairman says: “Roberto is a hugely experienced manager with a proven track record of winning trophies and championships.”
He also goes on to say “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.”
Now, Hughes did enjoyed relative success during his time with City, but not as of late having only won twice in the last 11 games, after a fantastic start to the season which saw them win four league games in a row.
Nevertheless, it is still a sad to see that in the modern game a manager can be sacked having only lost two premier league games. It does show that time, and indeed, time in football waits for no man, if you are not getting the results you are out on your ear.
What really baffles me is that City are still very much in contention with the big boys, because they are currently sixth in the Premier League, four points below Tottenham who have played a game more than them, and are two points clear of Liverpool in 7th who have also played an extra game.
Too many lackluster draws and shambolic defending are to blame for the Welshman’s demise, his defense apart from Shay Given has been woeful. Kolo Toure and co’s form has been going backwards faster than Liverpool’s title charge, with the injuries of late beginning to build up.
Despite spending copious amounts of money Hughes had built his side from the attack backwards, focusing more on attacking players rather than defensive players, because we all know that all good sides are built on an air tight defense.
A statement from the Manchester City website shows that Hughes and his team had a particular target set, and because he had not reached it meant he had to go: “Prior to the current season beginning, with significant investment in players and infrastructure in place, the consensus between the Board and coaching staff was that appropriate agreed targets should be set for the 2009/2010 season”.
A lot of people will be sad to see the former Welsh manager leave the club, but if Manchester City is to grab a Champions League spot their form needs to change, and that obviously means a change of personnel.
The Italian will have to look to strengthen the squad, while putting his own stamp on it also; his first buy will need to be a central defender, because Richard Dunne was a big loss.
I think Mancini is a good appointment, but he certainly would not have been my first choice for the job because he lacks experience. Someone like Guus Hiddink would have been a much better choice, a man who already has experience of managing in England at Chelsea last season, and who was a success story there.
However, it remains to be seen will Mancini fit the bill, but with the transfer window opening in a couple of weeks it could be a smart move from the City board.
Only time will tell if the club have made the right decision as the revolution continues on the blue side of Manchester.