No warning of City axe – Hughes

Mark Hughes has confirmed that he was not informed he was going to

be sacked prior to Manchester City’s victory over Sunderland on

Saturday.

Hughes’ reign as City boss came to an end in the immediate

aftermath of the 4-3 win, with the club’s Abu Dhabi-based owners

announcing Roberto Mancini as his replacement.

His demeanour during and after Saturday’s win at Eastlands

indicated he was aware of the board’s decision to terminate his

contract prior to the game, but Hughes today confirmed that was not

in fact the case.

In a statement issued by the League Managers’ Association,

Hughes said: “I was informed after yesterday’s match against

Sunderland that my contract with Manchester City was being

terminated with immediate effect.

“Notwithstanding media coverage to the contrary, I was given

no forewarning as to the club’s decision.

“Given the speed with which my successor’s appointment was

announced, it would appear that the club had made its decision some

considerable time ago.”

Hughes added that he believed firmly that he had the club on

target to achieve their pre-season expectations, with City lying in

sixth place after just two league losses all season at the time of

his sacking.

“I am extremely disappointed not to have been given the

opportunity to see through my plans at the club,” Hughes continued.

“At the beginning of the season I sat down with the owners

and it was agreed that a realistic target for the season would be

sixth place in the Premier League, or in the region of 70 points.

“All of this was communicated to the players and we all knew

where we stood.

“Whilst everyone at the club would obviously have wanted to

see more wins, we were absolutely on target at the time of my

dismissal.

“Only recently we had terrific victories against both Arsenal

and Chelsea.”

City chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak revealed the decision to

sack Hughes had been taken in response to a run of just two wins in

11 in the Premier League.

City’s woes stem largely from too many drawn matches, the

club having only lost a thrilling Manchester derby and at Tottenham

in midweek.

Hughes’ sacking triggered an angry reaction from a group of

players who remain solidly behind the Welshman.

While Robinho, a £32.5million purchase imposed on

Hughes, and maybe even the axed Emmanuel Adebayor, will shed no

tears at Hughes’ exit, the core of City’s side, including Shay

Given, Craig Bellamy and Gareth Barry, were part of a deputation

that urged chief executive Garry Cook to reverse the decision to

dismiss a man who was only appointed 18 months ago.

Given Hughes’ exit had been plotted for over a fortnight, it

had no effect.

“I am very proud of the fact that I steered the club through

the most significant period of change in its history,” Hughes

continued.

“I have always been aware of the responsibility that comes

with being afforded the luxury of a significant transfer budget,

and I was grateful that the club supported me with significant

investment in players.

“I very much regret, however, that I will not now be able to

enjoy the success that would undoubtedly have followed in the light

of that investment.

“I believe that I have handled with dignity the recent

pressure placed upon me by press speculation.

“I would like to thank the fans for their support throughout

my time at the club and particularly at this difficult time, and I

wish the club every success in the future, particularly in relation

to the forthcoming Carling Cup semi-final, the club’s first

semi-final for 28 years.”