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.”

More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Swimmer also charged with crossing double land lines and excessive speeding
moneyForbes 400 list released
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Life and Style
Moves to regulate e-cigarettes and similar products as medicines come amid increasing evidence of their effectiveness
healthHuge anti-smoking campaign kicks off on Wednesday
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
peopleBroadcaster has a new role bringing 'the big stories that matter' to US
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
Arts and Entertainment
Shia LaBeouf is one of Brad Pitt's favourite actors in the world ever, apparently
filmsAn 'eccentric' choice, certainly
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style