The major talking about of the weekend came at Eastlands as the axe fell on the unfortunate Welshman Mark Hughes after Manchester City’s 4-3 victory over Sunderland.
Sheikh Mansour, the billionaire owner of Manchester City, opted for giving Hughes no more time with City lying sixth in the Premier League. However is 6th respectable for a club which has spent over £200m? Instant success is something which is fast becoming a necessity in football management. Jose Mourinho is one of a few who achieved this with Porto, Chelsea and now Inter Milan, but the question is – can Roberto Mancini bring instant success to the City faithful?.”
The vintage black and blue scarves that Mancini wore for Inter Milan will be replaced by blue and white of Manchester City, with the City board preferring the fashionable, flowing locks of the Italian to the old-school British manager Hughes. The move to end his short time in charge of City was based on the targets assigned at the start of the season not being achieved, however this brought the issue surrounding time, especially in the climate of British managers.
Sir Alex Ferguson is the perfect example of a British manager given time to mould a successful side with a constant stream of money going through the club regarding transfer activity. The base of the success at Manchester United was the academy players such as David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville being combined with big-money signings such as Eric Cantona, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole. This stream of money allowed sides to gel and create a much better team atmosphere compared to the simple vulgar expenditure of money at City.
Hardworking British players are being mixed with superstars who are quite frankly being paid over the odds for their performances. Hughes should have been able to add quality gradually in order for the side to gel, and vitally in the right areas. It is clear for everybody to see that City are outweighed with quality in the forward areas and lacking defensively, an issue which has ultimately cost the Welshman his job.
The transfer market is one of the significant reasons why Hughes was sacked and Mancini brought in. The experience of players such as Javier Zanetti and Cristian Chivu was a key ingredient in the Italian’s success, something which Manchester City clearly lack. Nedum Onuoha, Micah Richards and Joleon Lescott are severely lacking in experience at the top level of the Premier League and have no experience in the Champions League. The only defensive players which Hughes brought in with experience on an international and European stage were Wayne Bridge and Kolo Toure. However the performance of these players during the season so far has been seriously under-par.
There is no doubt Hughes created a City side with potency going forward with the likes of Robinho, Carlos Tevez, Roque Santa Cruz and Emmanuel Adebayor all brought to the club by Hughes. However the Welshman showed a complete lack of discipline in these signings buying a collection of strikers, not giving the team a distinct pattern of play or rhythm, just a collection of brilliant players who do not perform on a regular basis. Mancini will be an unknown quantity in regards to his experiences of the Premier League, after he made only four appearances for Leicester City almost 10 years ago. However he will bring squad discipline, tough training methods and no excuses for some of the high profile petulance which we have seen from numerous City players in the past few months.
Time is a key word in football management, and for Hughes time certainly was not on his side at Manchester City. Whether or not it is the right decision, the owners of Manchester City Football Club set targets to Hughes, and if these targets were not deemed to have been met they ultimately have control of the football club. Football is ever changing and clubs no longer give managers time to gain success and respect throughout the game. Instant success is is bread throughout today’s game, with serious money given to managers in order for success to be achieved with in several years and not decades. One interesting last point is, will Mancini be given the elusive “time” from the City hierarchy?