Mark Hughes ‘left in dark’ by Man City over sacking
Hughes waves goodbye to City
Mark Hughes did not find out about his sacking by Manchester City until after Saturday’s game, says League Managers’ Association boss Richard Bevan.
Pre-match speculation was rife that Hughes was to be sacked, while new boss Roberto Mancini was said to be in the crowd for the 4-3 win over Sunderland.
“He was called into a meeting and informed that his contract was being terminated,” he told BBC Radio 5 live.
“(But) I think the decision had probably been taken some time ago.”
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Hughes cut a subdued figure on the touchline at Eastlands for most of an eventful game and waved to the fans after the final whistle, but Bevan insisted that the former Wales boss had not been informed about his future until after the final whistle.
Bevan, who was phoned by Hughes for advice on Saturday, said the former Wales boss did not deserve the treatment he had received.
“I’m disappointed for Mark and the City fans – he would have delivered continued success if he and his staff had been afforded more time,” added Bevan, speaking on the Sportsweek programme.
“I think Mark was very realistic about the situation. He knew there were key goals he had to hit: his target was the top six and he was very disappointed because they were on course for that.
“To me, his reputation is very much intact. They had only two defeats and he got them to the 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 stay in the job.”
Hughes received support from several Premier League managers, with Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp expressing his surprise that Hughes was dismissed with his side in sixth place.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Redknapp, whose side thrashed City 3-0 on Wednesday, told Sportsweek.
Mancini won’t be better than Hughes – Hansen
“I’m disappointed. They’ve lost two games this season – away to Man United in the last minute and then they got beat at Tottenham in the week.
“Two defeats is certainly not a disaster. They’ve got a game in hand and they were sitting just off the Champions League places.
“I’m really surprised that they’ve taken that decision at this stage of the season. Mark’s a good manager and, given time, there’s not doubt they would have been very successful.”
Redknapp said the trend of ultra-rich overseas owners taking over at English clubs meant that the shelf life of most Premier League managers was destined to become shorter and shorter.
“It’s different now. You’ve got multi-millionaire owners who all want to be number one, and they’re not going to understand that they can’t all win,” he said.
“In their life they’ve made so much money and they do what they want with their lives because they’re so rich, and they’ll expect to win.
“The more that come in, the more you are going to see managers come and go. The merry-go-round will be even worse because they’re all disappointed they’re not top of the league. They won’t understand it.”
Mancini, who will take charge of City for the first time in their Boxing Day clash with Stoke, had a brief spell in English football with Leicester at the end of his playing career in 2001.
He played only four games for the Foxes, but Peter Taylor, who signed Mancini in his spell as Leicester boss, said the former Italy star had shown managerial ambitions.
Mancini has some experience of English football
“He’s a lovely man and was always asking questions,” said Taylor.
“It was obvious that he wanted to become a manager and I’m sure he is going to be a very good one but I am very surprised by the change.
“At the minute they are sixth and I don’t think that is bad progress for a new team and in a year Mark might have got them where he wanted, but if you look at Mancini’s record in Italy that is also outstanding.
“He is a charming man and the players absolutely loved him at Leicester.”
Mancini has managed Fiorentina and Inter Milan, where he won three successive Italian League titles and two Italian Cups, before being dismissed in May 2008.
The 45-year-old, who won 36 caps for Italy as a striker, had been out of work since leaving Inter, where he was replaced by Jose Mourinho.