Sometimes when I make predictions ahead of games, they do have a habit of bearing out. Or at least partially. I wrote yesterday that with the pressure off we may see something of an open and flowing game. More's the pity that only one side followed that direction.
There isn't anyone involved yesterday that can come out of the farcical defeat with any credit whatsoever. This wasn't just a heavy defeat like those we have suffered in the past - Derby, Liverpool and Chelsea immediately spring to mind, but the manner of the performance was woeful and has left City fans across the blogs and forums pointing the finger at all and sundry.
Of the eight goals conceded yesterday, only Rochemback's free-kick was without a generous helping hand from ourselves, with the eighth and final goal symptomatic of the error strewn and insipid display. Time and again, we were carved open and destroyed by a Middlesbrough side who are far from an attacking force.
I've never been one to place too high a premium on heart and fight in a performance, and I believe this to be something City fans in general are too concerned with but yesterday's struck as one where the players had simply given up - no matter what the situation on or off the pitch is, there should be a pride and professionalism in your performance that was sorely lacking.
I have backed Sven all the way since his appointment, and during the stretch where fans were beginning to question him and his tactics. However, yesterday he was as guilty as the players were. The situation must clearly be unsettling and he has held himself with dignity and decorum throughout the past couple of week but he simply appeared to have thrown in the towel and resigned himself to his fate.
At the saga over at Liverpool, we have heard the manager and players bleating about how it doesn't affect the on field performances. Despite the failings of the players and management yesterday, Thaksin must also bear the brunt of criticism as you cannot preside over what has occured the past two weeks without their being consequences.
With a set of players who are reportedly so close and loyal to Sven to not be affected by the speculation and stories is inconceivable and it is of concern that players Sven has both brought in and developed this season may well seek to move onto pastures new when he departs the club.
What is disappointing in this of course is that with a win yesterday (or even a draw), we would have had a reasonable and respectable finish with a squad that contains talent, plenty of upside youth wise and even if Sven departs, the new manager would have a positive situation to build upon with (almost certain) European qualification.
Oh how it was different last summer when the club rode the wave of optimism of the Thaksin and Sven arrivals and the heady autumn days of the ill-fated Champions League challenge.
Now though, finishing the season on the back of an 8-1 shellacking we are stumbling into the off-season with the club (and its reputation) in tatters on and off the pitch.
An owner who at best insensitive and trigger-happy, a lame duck manager (who surely will not survive now) still in charge but appearing to be courting offers from elsewhere for when the axe falls and a squad of players who seemingly lack heart when it matters - and according to the more mischeavous of the press, containing players who are targets for clubs around the Premier League.
Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.
Sven-Goran Eriksson wore the haunted look of a man who knew his time was up after watching Manchester City suffer a humiliating defeat at Middlesbrough, a result which is almost certain to hasten his departure from Eastlands. >>telegraph.co.uk
If this proves to be Sven-Göran Eriksson’s swansong as Manchester City manager, then what a shame. >>times online
In the bizarre mind-set of Thaksin Shinawatra, this demolition of Manchester City will have been vindication of his plans to dismiss Sven Goran Eriksson and the Swede was last night seeking immediate talks with the former Thai prime-minister. >>independent.co.uk
The off-the-field farce that has been Manchester City for the past few weeks found its way on to the pitch as their season ended in disarray with the side humiliated and Sven-Goran Eriksson heading for the exit. >>guardian.co.uk
Manchester City supporters around the world are searching for explanations after a thoroughly disastrous, preposterous defeat to a mediocre Middlsebrough 8-1 in the season closer Sunday. >>thaksinsceptic
Opinion: Being born in Newton Heath, the birthplace of MUFC, why did my Dad make me support Man City? That is probably a question on many lips. >>mcfcstats.co.uk
Monday, May 12, 2008