Middlesbrough 8 Manchester City 1: Eriksson demands urgent talks after mauling
Monday 12 May 2008
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.
Eriksson, who was denied the opportunity to say farewell to the City fans due to clashes between supporters and police at the front of the away end just before the final whistle, has remained calm over the past fortnight but will now be ruthless as he attempts to initiate some sort of conclusion to a strange few weeks that have even tested his patience.
After a campaign of steady progress, which is likely to earn a place in the Uefa Cup first qualifying round through their position in the Fair Play league, this was no way for Eriksson to finish and the frustration was clear.
"To live in insecurity is never good for anyone but I hope to be living in the secure very soon. In hours I hope," he said. "I expect to speak to people or they will speak to me." When asked when he expected to speak to Shinawatra, he said: "Now. As soon as I have finished here, I hope."
The key moment yesterday could be seen as Richard Dunne being sent off for clipping Tuncay, which gave Stewart Downing the opportunity to give the hosts the lead from the penalty spot, but even taking that into account, City, who finished with three defeats, were dreadful.
Afonso Alves added a second before half-time, Downing volleyed in a third just before the hour and Alves stabbed in a fourth a couple of minutes later.
Substitute Adam Johnson's thumping drive deflected off Michael Ball for the fifth, Fabio Rochemback found the top corner with a powerful free-kick from 30 yards before Jeremie Aliadiere scored the seventh with a low cross-shot. Elano pulled one back for City with a powerful strike, but Alves sealed his hat-trick with an easy finish.
All that Eriksson could do was scratch his head but while the Swede's criticism of Shinawatra has never really gone beyond hints, the Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate, who played under Eriksson for England, has no need for such diplomacy.
After joking that "There's no point in me saying too much because you're only going to be writing about Sven anyway", Southgate said: "I had a quick chat with him and Tord Grip before the game. I said to them that 'When you've done the sort of job you have, really you can walk away with your head held high and it's perhaps a situation you're better off out of.' I can understand the frustration of the supporters and players."
Only Shinawatra knows how long those feelings will last.
Goals: Downing pen (16) 1-0; Alves (37) 2-0; Downing (58) 3-0; Alves (60) 4-0; Johnson (70) 5-0; Rochemback (80) 6-0; Aliadiere (85) 7-0; Elano (87) 7-1; Alves (90) 8-1
Middlesbrough (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Young (McMahon 75), Riggott, Wheater, Pogatetz; Boateng, Rochemback, Arca (Johnson 62), Downing; Sanli (Aliadiere 63), Alves. Substitutes not used: Turnbull (gk), Taylor.
Manchester City (4-5-1): Isaksson; Jihai, Dunne, Ball, Garrido; Vassell (Hamann 62), Fernandes, Corluka, Ireland, Petrov (Elano 71); Benjani (Castillo 13). Substitutes not used: Hart (gk), Caceido.
Referee: Phil Dowd
Sent Off: Manchester City Dunne 15
Booked: Middlesbrough: Pogatetz, Young Manchester City: Jihai
Man of the Match: Alves
Attendance: 27, 613
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