Manchester City tonight sacked Mark Hughes minutes after his team beat Sunderland 4-3 Saturday. With the win City moved up to 6th place in the table and have a game in hand over most of the teams above them. In a statement issued by City chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak he said:
“A return of two wins in 11 Premier League games is clearly not in line with the targets that were agreed and set. Sheikh Mansour and the board felt there was no evidence that the situation would fundamentally change.”
Former Inter Milan boss Roberto Mancini was immediately named replacement, with Brian Kidd as his number. Al Mubarak said:
“Roberto is a hugely experienced manager with a proven track record of winning trophies and championships. 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.”
So what targets were agreed on? Hughes has guided City to their first semi-final appearance in something like 30 years, they are in the top six after having losing 2 games all season. In case the Sheikh is keeping track, that is 3 games less than Manchester United have lost this season.
Yes City have drawn a lot of games, the win against Sunderland was only their second league win in 11 games, but consider that Hughes has practically turned the City squad over in the past twelve months. Yes he spent almost £200m on players, including a record-breaking British transfer fee of £32.4m on Robinho. But consider that this summer Hughes brought in players like Gareth Barry, Roque Santa Cruz, Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure and Joleon Lescott among others. When you add that many new players to a club, it takes time to gel and I thought Hughes had done a decent job keeping City on the right track.
With another transfer window about to open, City’s Arab owners obviously disagree and they wanted their own man in place before the transfer window opens. City’s next three games are against Stoke and Wolves in the league and then an FA Cup tie at Middlesbrough.
So Mancini should get his tenure at Eastlands off to winning start. But if Hughes was fired for not living up to expectations, does that mean that Mancini needs to get City into the Champions League next season if he wants to keep his job?