views

I didn’t see the axe coming, insists betrayed boss Hughes

MARK HUGHES hit back at Manchester City chiefs last night, insisting he was given no warning of his ruthless sacking.

Hughes’ 18-month reign as City boss came to an end after Saturday’s 4-3 victory over Sunderland with the club’s billionaire Arabic owners announcing Roberto Mancini as his successor.

On reflection, Hughes’ demeanour during Saturday’s match indicated that he may have been aware of developments in the boardroom, but in a statement issued through the League Managers’ Association yesterday, the Welshman insisted that was not the case. “I was informed after Saturday’s match against Sunderland that my contract with Manchester City was being terminated with immediate effect,” the statement read.

“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 also insisted he was on track for success at Eastlands with the club lying sixth in the Premier League table and having secured a place in the Carling Cup semi-final.

“I am extremely disappointed not to have been given the opportunity to see through my plans at the club,” Hughes added. “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 Barclays 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.”

Mancini will be officially unveiled as Hughes’ successor later today.

HUGHES’ REACTION | STATEMENT IN FULL

“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.

I am extremely disappointed not to have been given the opportunity to see through my plans at the Club. 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 Barclays 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.
I am very proud of the fact that I steered the Club through the most significant period of change in its history.
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.”