LMA chief hits out at ‘impatient’ City

LMA chief executive Richard Bevan has criticised the impatience of

overseas owners in the wake of Mark Hughes’ sacking at Manchester

City.

League Managers Association chief executive Bevan has also

revealed the Welshman was unaware of his fate prior to Saturday’s

4-3 win over Sunderland.

Hughes was dismissed by City on Saturday night and replaced

by Italian Roberto Mancini, the club’s chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak

revealing the decision 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 lost just two games all season – one of those an

unfortunate reverse in a thrilling Manchester derby.

Hughes’ demeanour during and after Saturday afternoon’s win

at Eastlands indicated he was aware of the board’s decision to

terminate his contract prior to the game, but that was not the

case, according to Bevan.

“I spoke to Mark last night and he found out immediately

after the game when he was called into a meeting and informed that

his contract was being terminated, but I think the decision had

probably been taken some time ago,” Bevan told BBC Radio 5 Live’s

Sportsweek programme.

“I think Mark and everybody else in this country realises

that you can’t buy trophies in one season.

“If they [overseas owners] feel that, then we’ll continue

with the sackings and we’ll continue with affinity lost to our

clubs in England, because I’m pretty sure the Manchester City fans

will be sorry to see Mark go.

“If you come in as an overseas owner, you need to embrace the

city, the supporters, not just the trophy cabinet.”

Saturday’s 4-3 win over the Black Cats moved City into sixth

place in the Premier League, a position in line with the board’s

pre-season expectations, and Bevan has accused the club’s owners of

shifting their expectations midway through the campaign.

“Mark is very realistic about the situation,” Bevan said.

“He knew the key goals he had to hit. His target actually was

the top six. He was very disappointed because they were on target

for that.

“For me, his reputation is still intact.

“Only two defeats – the fewest in the league – semi-finals of

the Carling Cup, to me it looks like the goalposts were moved and

the decision was made some time ago that he wasn’t to continue in

his role past today.

“I’m very disappointed for Mark and indeed the City fans.

“Mark would have delivered continued success without doubt if

more time had been afforded to him and his staff, but he’s left a

platform for the next manager without doubt.”

Former City player and director Dennis Tueart believes Hughes

was hamstrung by expectations and egos, but concedes the timing of

the announcement came as a surprise.

Tueart told Sportsweek: “The timing appears to be a bit

strange – we’re going into a new transfer window, just out of the

top-four positions in the league at the moment.

“It takes time to build, but the big problem Mark was always

going to have was [managing] a tremendous amount of egos in the

dressing room.

“His challenge was going to be blending and getting sides

motivated, and getting them to perform.

“Whilst he only lost two, he had so many draws. If he had

converted two of those draws into wins it would have been a

different situation.”

He added: “I’m hoping that they [the City board] have thought

through the strategy for what they are trying to get from Roberto

Mancini.

“While he has done pretty well at Inter, he’ll take a little

bit of settling in.

“I’m assuming they’ve made this change now so that Roberto

Mancini can do something in the transfer window.”