Apparently it was worse than the 8-1 at the Riverside last season.
The main problem with City this season is the short-term damage done by Hughes’ casting himself as the anti-Eriksson. A revolution in attitude, approach and training methods followed, and with it a squad divided between those for and against the new management.
On his side, Hughes has Kompany, Zabaleta, Ireland, Wright-Phillips and maybe Robinho. Those who prospered under Eriksson though – Hamann, Elano, Dunne, Richards, Hart, Gelson and Vassell – apparently can’t stand him.
And so when we’re without Ireland, Robinho and SWP, as we were yesterday, we are left only with players of the Eriksson era and before. Elano and Gelson (Sven buys) started in midfield, up front were Sturridge (just 19), Caicedo (Sven buy) and Vassell (Pearce buy).
No wonder they didn’t perform. Hughes has spent all season talking of clearing out dead wood, of turning over the tables of Eriksson’s lazy and complacent side. Who could have thought that he would have to rely on the Eriksson squad in an FA Cup third round tie? After the game Hughes tore into the players, publicly and bitterly. But next up is Pompey away, Ireland is suspended and SWP is injured. We’ll play Vassell and Elano and lose. And the cycle will repeat again.