oncerns about Mark Hughes:
Man management – One thing we quickly learnt last year was Hughes didn’t have the samba style to win over our Brazilian contingent. A pre-season boot camp (which was noticably less rigorously enforced this year) is his preferred method for bonding. In fairness, he does inspire loyalty from some, notably Ireland and Bellamy, and respect from others. Bellamy in particular has always played his best football under his fellow Welshman.
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Even more predictable than Elano’s departure are sensationalist stories of Robinho’s devastation at the departure of his best mate.Ã‚Â The Mirror is first to the presses with this one.
“I am very sad to see Elano go because he was a team mate and has been a friend for many years.
“I understand the decision but I always believed that he would be part of this project. I never believed the rumours and I will miss our dinners and meetings.
“I wish and believe that Elano will be king at his new club. City have made some great signings and it has been made complicated for some players.
“But I have spoken many times with the coach and praised Elano but it was the decision of the club and impossible to change.”
Now I don’t doubt that Robinho is sorry to see his compatriot’s departure, but modern footballers, particularly those from different continents are used to such movements. It’s all part and parcel of the game. Afterall Robinho and Elano have said their goodbyes before when they departed Santos. And which of us doesn’t feel a little sad when our best friend at work/college/school leaves for pastures new.
Stories of Robinho’s unhappiness at City and linking him with other clubs has been a regular story for the press since the day he arrived, and will doubtless continue to the day he eventually does bid farewell to Beswick. This is not because he’s about to go anywhere, but because he’s the closest thing we have to a ‘media galactico’, stories about whom can sell copies of hard pressed newspapers and generate page views for their web sites.
It’s tiresome, but an inevitable byproduct of having higher profile players. Liverpool fans have to put up with similar fare regarding Torres and Aresnal fans have the Febregas back to Spain stories.
Robinho has the added bonus for the press of being someone who speaks quite freely. Yes he said he’d score thirty goals last season, and good luck to him in trying to do the same this season. Let’s not over analyse casual comments about winning mentalities or stating the obvious in that Barcelona play good football.
Instead we should be grateful for someone who wears his heart on his sleeve, at a time when homegrown players appear media coached to death – I love watching Wright-Phillips with the ball at his feet, but his post match interviews can readily cure insomnia.
Not surprisingly, Elano has cited a need for regular first team action in the run up to the South African World Cup as the reason for his move to Galatasaray.
“I spoke with my national coach Dunga and he told me it will be difficult to enter me on his World Cup list if I am not playing football regularly.
“I need time on the field. This season is very important. I dream of playing in the World Cup.
“I have received a few other offers, but this is the best one for me and City.
“I never had any problems with the coach, but Hughes may not have had total confidence in me.”
The last line sounds particularly diplomatic. There’s a lot I’ll miss about Elano, and not just the perfect penalty record. I still believe he was the most incisive passer within the team, better even than Ireland on his day.Ã‚Â Of course his good days were far to rare, but there was always the nagging feeling that a better man-manager than Hughes (I’m thinking a Hiddink or even a Redknapp) would have got an awful lot more out of him. He undoubtedly had the ability to be a City legend.