Hughes hits out at TV pundits for Bridge jibes

City manager accuses BBC experts of superficiality after criticism of his full-back

Manchester City manager Mark Hughes has accused the Match of the Day pundits who delivered a withering assessment of Wayne Bridge at the weekend of seizing any chance to submit players to public criticism without first watching complete match videos.

Alan Hansen was outspoken in his critique of £12m Bridge's weaknesses in the 3-3 draw against Burnley, declaring: "I just feel sorry for him because he played that badly," and assessing Bridge and £24m Joleon Lescott's marks out of 10 as "minus six".

Hughes was indignant as he took a City squad to Abu Dhabi yesterday. "Pundits on Match of the Day or whatever just have an opportunity to nail individuals in the public domain," the manager said. "But we won't single out individual players. That job is done by pundits. I'm sure that their process involves looking at incidents in games but not taking it as a whole.

"That's the role in life that they have decided to follow and that's the way it has to be. There's a frustration when they don't go into particularly in-depth analysis. I'd question how many games they actually watch live, from the start to the conclusion. Everybody knows that's the case, so we're not going to harp on about it."

Ashley Cole's injury means Bridge, or Aston Villa's Stephen Warnock, could play for England against Brazil in Doha on Saturday. Bridge's failure to track back contributed to Burnley's first two goals and the ball bounced off the back of his head into David Nugent's path to set up an 87th-minute equaliser, leading Hughes to concede on Saturday evening that the player he signed from Chelsea in January "maybe on a couple of occasions made the wrong decisions".

City have kept one clean sheet since August but Hughes believes the club – who have still only lost to Manchester United this season – are becoming an easy target for commentators since the club's Arabian owners took over.

"We are under more scrutiny than any previous Manchester City team, but it's open to debate as to whether we are scrutinised more than Manchester United, Chelsea or whoever," he said. "We have to deal with it. If we don't win, we are open to criticism. If we draw, it isn't enough, but in the past, a draw for Man City in certain games would be viewed as a positive. That's the difference."

Hughes also waded into another potential dispute, with his old employers from the Welsh Football Association (FAW), by suggesting that the time might have come for Craig Bellamy to follow Ryan Giggs' lead and focus purely on club football.

Bellamy, 30, the current Welsh captain and City's outstanding player this season, flew out to the Middle East yesterday morning, despite having been withdrawn from the Welsh squad to face Scotland at the weekend.

City incurred Welsh manager John Toshack's wrath in September by failing to inform the FAW that Bellamy would not be travelling to face Russia in a World Cup qualifier.

Asked if Bellamy, nursing a groin strain, might step down from Wales, Hughes said: "As time goes on, there could be that situation. Craig knows his body better than anybody else and when he feels he needs a break. I think that's how it will be in the future and it will be better for him and them [Wales] because it will enable him to ensure that his career runs its course and is as long as it can be."

Hughes is also determined to keep Robinho with the entourage, though he accepts Brazil's wish to fly him out to Doha on Wednesday, accompanied by a City doctor, to check out his fitness ahead of the England friendly. Robinho's stress fracture to his ankle has kept him out since August and Hughes believes it would be "crazy" to throw him into Saturday's fixture. "We will go through the protocol and make sure he is there [with Brazil] when he needs to be there and get checked out by their medical people," Hughes said.

City, who touched down here last night ahead of the official opening of their new winter training facility today and a match against an Abu Dhabi XI on Thursday, have also taken Stephen Ireland and Pablo Zabaleta of their regular first team.

‘Schoolboy defending’: What Alan Hansen said

From Match of the Day: “Down the left-hand side you just couldn’t believe what was going on… with [Joleon] Lesott and [Wayne] Bridge. When you talk defensively about organisation and communication, position, playing off one another and playing as a team, the marks out of 10 are minus-six. They were that bad. From top-class players I just could not believe it. It was schoolboy defending for the third goal. [You think] my God what is going on here? I mean, where’s the anticipation? I just feel sorry for [Wayne Bridge] because he played that badly. You tend to be critical but you just feel sorry for him.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techYahoo Japan launches service to delete your files and email your relatives when you die
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
life
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor