Monday, 17 August 2009

More Blackburn reax

Henry Winter, Daily Telegraph

The songs of praise ran from “Ireland is Superman’’ to “Tevez is a Blue’’; significantly, there was a show of approval for Hughes with “Sparky, Sparky give us a wave’’. Saturday’s victory, and the manner in which new players like Emmanuel Adebayor and Gareth Barry settled in, immeasurably strengthened Hughes’ position, with the fans, with ambitious employers.

On the rare occasions that Hughes feels under pressure, he tends to sit back in his chair during press conferences, as if on the back-foot. At Ewood, after this satisfying opening to City’s season, after seeing Adebayor answer a few questions with his fine goal and all-round application, Hughes leant forward, clearly relishing being in control. Some dark strands are beginning to appear in his grey hair.

Along with respected coaching staff like Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki, Hughes has worked hard with his team pre-season, developing a 4-2-3-1 formation that saw Adebayor pulling the strings behind Craig Bellamy, who will surely make way for Roque Santa Cruz when the Paraguayan recovers from injury.

Ian Ladyman, Daily Mail

Given, meanwhile, made two outstanding saves, one in each half. It was, though, Bellamy — full of endless intelligent running — and Barry who stood out.

No wonder Aston Villa tried to so hard to keep hold of Barry.

No wonder Liverpool bleated so much when he decided not to join them.

Here was the perfect example of a player blossoming on his release from an environment in which he perhaps had stayed too long.

His reading of the game on Saturday was exceptional and as precise as his passing.

No wonder he was so dreadful for England in Amsterdam last Wednesday. He was obviously saving himself for the important games.

Richard Williams, The Guardian

Arsenal regulars will raise an eyebrow at the idea of Adebayor being among those instrumental in building team spirit. But the £25m Togo striker took his goal with an imperious flourish, worked hard to make his presence felt in defence, and did enough to suggest that he might flourish in an atmosphere where he will be treated as a superstar.

Kolo Touré, another arrival from Arsenal, also made a positive impression in partnership with Richard Dunne, the club captain, who defended with his characteristic mixture of lion-hearted blocking and potentially catastrophic clumsiness in front of the superb Shay Given. Dunne will surely be the one to step down if, as still seems likely, Hughes succeeds in persuading Everton to part with Joleon Lescott.

Ian Herbert, The Independent

Of course, bringing working-class qualities out in players of aristocratic demeanour is what Hughes is all about. Morten Gamst Pedersen, Blackburn's prime threat in a first half which suggested Sam Allardyce has restored their old qualities, was a lost cause when Hughes replaced Graeme Souness at Ewood. He ordered the Norwegian to spend more time in the gym and watched him become a player many top clubs coveted for a time. Stephen Ireland, who toyed with Rovers' defence before passing City's second goal into the net, is similarly transformed. "The training and the mental preparation we've done has already transferred itself to our football," Ireland said. "The difference is the team spirit. From the moment we arrived from pre-season the manager has been drumming it into us about how we had to be better and mentally stronger this season."

Tom Dart, The Times

After this narrow victory, Sam Allardyce, the Blackburn manager, pinpointed Shay Given as City’s key player. The visiting team were not rampant, owed a debt to their goalkeeper and were grateful that Blackburn’s forwards did not have the pace to expose Richard Dunne in defence. If Emmanuel Adebayor’s third-minute goal was a statement of intent, so was what followed: Given’s saves, Kolo Touré’s tackles and Gareth Barry’s quiet interruptions of Blackburn attacks. In Barry’s efficient movement and prudent distribution, at least there is something economical about City this season.

1 comment:

Gav said...

Nice highlights, Jack - good selection, and some excellent thoughts in there.