Monday, 21 September 2009
What Hughes should really learn from United defeat
He charged around the touchline, jigging with players and staff - while also considerately sparing a thought for the stricken City fans with an emphatic and defiant double-clenched fist salute in their direction.
Despite apparently playing down the signficance of the fixture, this meant a lot to Fergie. He wanted victory so badly to remind City where the power lies in Manchester and when he got it was happy to show his delight to the world.
Hughes' main bone of contention was how fourth official Alan Wiley's board went up for four minutes of stoppages and United struck well into the sixth. The explanation was the length of time City spent celebrating their third equaliser, plus a substitution - but it was not one that satisfied Hughes.
The timings have since proved to be borderline but remember four minutes was a "minimum" and it should not be ignored that the time was added on for City as well as United. Their respective priorities in those extra minutes, however, were different.
But for all of Sparky's contentions over timekeeping, the simple truth is that United fully deserved to win, despite a City performance that suggests they'll be a danger to the best this season. City needed to defend to the death, but two pieces of brilliance from Ryan Giggs and Michael Owen opened City up in a second. United's slick football did the talking.
So Hughes must put this defeat into perspective. To use it as a flag in the sand by which he can measure future progress - and to remember the sharp pain of this kind of defeat so it doesn't happen so much in the future.
(with thanks to Phil McNulty of the BBC)
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