Monday, 20 April 2009

WBA reax

James Ducker, The Times

With his team leading 3-2 and 15 minutes remaining, Hughes was heckled by large swaths of the City of Manchester Stadium for bringing off Elano, despite the Brazilian being visibly shattered and the manager wanting to bolster the midfield by introducing the more defensive-minded Gelson Fernandes.

It was a puzzling reaction in the extreme, with the City fans seemingly forgetful that Elano, like the rest of his team-mates, had expended enormous amounts of energy during the 2-1 victory at home to Hamburg in the Uefa Cup only three days earlier and that the midfield player had spent the ten minutes before being substituted yesterday motioning to the dugout to be taken off.

Richard Jolly, The Guardian

Yet it was apparent that Hughes's endorsement from the club chairman, Khaldoon Al Mubarak, is not sufficient for a section of the support. The two ­Brazilians are rather more secure in their places in the fans' affections and they provided a reminder of their considerable attributes with restorative displays.

When Stephen Ireland bent a cross around the West Brom defence, Robinho volleyed in the opening goal with a nonchalance that belied his inability to score in 2009. Elano, who has replaced his compatriot as City's penalty taker, managed a second goal in three days by drawing a foul from Jonas Olsson and converting from the spot in the aftermath of Chris Brunt's equaliser for West Brom.

Mark Ogden, Daily Telegraph

Yet in typical City fashion, the game could have ended as a 5-5 draw or, even worse, a 6-5 defeat had more defensive errors been capitalized on by either side. So Hughes's decision to replace a clearly exhausted Elano with holding midfielder Gelson Fernandes with sixteen minutes left to play should have been viewed as a wary manager attempting to bolt the back door and safeguard victory.

Tim Rich, The Independent

Despite the beach ball tossed around the stands that gave this game an end-of-season feel, City's campaign is not quite over. It is possible they can clamber over three London clubs and secure the seventh place that should give them a place in the Europa League. However, Mark Hughes would need his players to be a lot tighter defensively and the manager added that City would probably have to win one of their remaining away games at either Old Trafford, White Hart Lane, or Goodison Park.

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