Ahead of City’s clash with Fulham on Sunday, former boss Mark Hughes has had a pop at the club, saying it was he who signed the blues main performers.
Sparky was sacked by City in December 20009 and the blues received much criticism over the handling of his dismissal, when Mancini was unveiled as manager almost immediately.
During his time at Eastlands, Hughes signed stars such as Carlos Tevez, Nigel de Jong, Vincent Kompany, Gareth Barry and Kolo Toure and it is these players that Hughes specifically refers to.
But the former City boss doesn’t mention any of the players he signed that didn’t work out, but referred to them by saying “Along the way, some purchases haven’t worked for whatever reasons, not really in terms of the ability those players have, but because of circumstances and the thinking of the management team and the coaches. And that happens when there’s a change in management.”
So Jo was the mean goal-scoring machine while Hughes was in charge? He never had any problems with Adebayor? And we all that Robinho was so successful, he was loaned off to Santos before being sold to AC Milan. And a partnership at the back of Kolo Toure and Joleon Lescott is debateable to say the least.
But while it is true that Hughes did sign some good players during his time at City, whether they would have performed any better under him is questionable. While he seemed to have the respect of some of the players, it didn’t apply to all, with rumours of dressing room unrest circulating almost every day.
And results on the pitch didn’t seem to help his cause. An away win, at Sunderland in August, was not repeated until a 2-1 victory at Everton at the end of April and at one point, Hughes’s expensive line up was just two places above the relegation zone, with his highest position all season being third in the league for one weekend. And the cup competitions were even worse as City crashed out of the League Cup at Brighton at the first hurdle before being hammered 3-0 at home by Forest in the FA Cup.
The following season, Hughes got off to a good start and it seemed that, when things were going well, he was fine but when the going got tough, Hughes didn’t. When City underwent a run of seven successive draws, he persisted with under performing players and just one win in ten saw City drop to eighth in the league.
By the time he was sacked, City had a total of 29 points, after the Sunderland game, but at least a League Cup semi final had been achieved. Away from home, which has always been a particular bug, City had again won just two games.
By comparison, when Mancini took over, his first away game was a win and the blues looked uncomfortable until a tactical change altered the game and City beat Wolves 3-0. By the end of the season, Mancini had secured 38 points, nine points more than Hughes and with virtually the same players, with Vieira and Johnson the only additions.
Hughes might have signed some good players, but it is Mancini who has got them playing and the facts really do speak for themselves. In 77 games, Hughes won 36 games, giving him a win ratio of 46%.
In 70 games, Mancini has won 37 and lost just fifteen, giving him a win ratio of 52%. Some of us might not have agreed with Hughes’ sacking at the time, but there is no denying that it was a good move by the City hierarchy and despite the controversy, it has been to the blues advantage.