Wenger sorrow as Hughes departs

Arsene Wenger admitted he was “sad” to see Mark Hughes sacked as Manchester City manager today.

The Welshman was replaced by former Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini despite having lost just two games this season,

“It’s very sad every time a manager loses his job. I am very sad because I know how much work and dedication is behind that,” Wenger said on ESPN.

The Arsenal boss added: “We all believe in patience on the technical side but on the other side it’s not always the same.

“It’s difficult for me to assess the situation of another club. When Mark Hughes loses his job it’s sad.”

Former City managers Kevin Keegan and Joe Royle claimed the club acted too hastily in dismissing Hughes, who paid the price for a run of two wins in 11 games.

Royle, who managed City from 1998 to 2001, said on ESPN: “They had a big game with Manchester United to come, they just beaten Chelsea, prior to last week had only lost one game in the 94th minute at Old Trafford

“You don’t change from an indifferent side to a totally winning side overnight. And I thought, okay it stalled a little bit, that at least you could see progress.”

Royle added: “You wonder how many of the players Mark Hughes has bought he (Mancini) fancies. Does there have to be another wholesale change?”

Wednesday’s three-goal hammering at Tottenham convinced owner Sheikh Mansour and chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak that Hughes could not steer City into the top four, as had been expected following a summer outlay of £120m.

Keegan, City boss between 2001 and 2005, felt the club’s owners wanted to appoint their own manager.

“He wasn’t appointed by these people and that’s the big problem,” he said.

“They want their own man in.

“When you read the statement it’s not that of a real football club, it’s that of a business."

Royle claimed there would be little room for error for Mancini.

He said: “He’s got to do very, very well, that’s for sure.

“Mark Hughes has lost two games this season and he’s out. So Mancini’s got a tall order.”

The former Sampdoria forward won three Serie A titles in his time in charge Inter, but Keegan pointed out he has no experience of managing in the Premier League.

“I think they’ve gone for the very, very best,” he said.

“The thing is he doesn’t know the Premiership. There are no Italian players at the club.”

But he added: “In Mancini, there’s no doubt about it they’ve got an absolutely top, top notch manager.”

Asked what Mancini would have to achieve this season, Keegan joked: “Win the Premiership, win the Carling Cup, win the FA Cup and you might keep your job.”

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