Sunday, 12 April 2009

Hughes' excuses


Hughes said, "Tiredness was a significant factor, we were missing key senior players today and we needed some energy because of a lot was expended on Thursday. We made a few changes to protect some other players as well with the next game coming up...

"Every goal we conceded was a poor goal, and the second made it really difficult because the energy we had used up in midweek made chasing the game difficult. We just did not have enough left to affect the game and get up to the Fulham players, who were quite happy to keep possession and pick us off in the end. There were just too many of the team feeling the effects of a long season and a difficult week."

I suppose he does have a point. Our team today was not that strong. The front three, Martin Petrov, Valeri Bozhinov and Kelvin Etuhu had between them started just four games this season before today, and were all coming back from long term absences. The midfield three had the opposite problem: Zabaleta and Ireland have started seventy-eight games between them now this season, and both have looked tired for a while. Ireland is struggling with an ankle injury. Nigel de Jong has struggled for fitness in his first season in England, having barely played for HSV before his move. So none of the front six were really in top condition.

But - so what? At this stage of the season no club in the Premier League has a fully fit first team squad from which to pick. One of Hughes' main selling points is his fitness and conditioning work - he's been promising all season that his training methods would leave the players in peak condition at this stage of the season. So why aren't they? And none of this explains the lack of passion and organization that was (according to those I know at the game) evident from today's performance.

Even down to Stephen Ireland's shot from the edge of the box, deflected into the far top corner: it's all too reminiscent of April 2008 for me.


pjdemers said...

There is no doubt that this season has been a disappointment. But the fact remains that we have everything to play for on thursday. A 2-0 win sees City through to the semi-finals. We are certainly capable of beating Hamburg if we show up. We can still salvage something out of this season but we have to stop feeling sorry for ourselves.

Last season the team completely capitulated under Sven. The key for the club is that the players and the fans have to pick ourselves up and show some character. Thursday's game is sold out. We as fans have to get behind the team and give them an extra edge. We have to be 100 percent behind the team win or lose. Any recriminations can wait until the summer. There is too much negativity at this club and it needs to stop. A man may fail many times but he is never a failure unless he gives up! a 2-0 win on thursday will not be the result of a miracle but of grit, determination and endeavor.

Kyle said...

Well said pjdemers. I agree completly, now is the time to be fighting for the results that we need, save excuses and possible firing talk until the summer. I agree we played poorly, and we didn't have a fully fit squad. So if Mark Hughes spends money on players in the summer to improve our depth and add more of a selection when players get injured then we will be fine. Thursday is big, and the players are not too dumb to know that. They will show up to play. Go City!