MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Manchester City Manager Roberto Mancini and Fulham Manager Mark Hughes (L) gesture during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Fulham at the City of Manchester Stadium on February 27, 2011 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
The column inches are growing as the derby is now all but twenty-fours away (check out today's links for some of the best) but there is one that does stand out; an interview with Mark Hughes in The Telegraph.
He touches on a number of topics, with much of it open to question, but there was one area of particular interest that relates to Roberto Mancini's approach in handling his squad:
"I don't know the guy personally but looking at him from outside he comes across as autocratic. It's either his way or the highway.
"I'm not sure he indulges players; tries to get to know players or understands players, I'm not sure he's that type of manager. He looks very focused and very driven in terms of what he gets from his players. But whether or not they will all love him when he leaves, I would think probably not."
Interesting in the sense that because during his time in charge of City, Hughes was very single-minded in his desire to tear apart the culture that he felt had manifested itself under Sven-Goran Eriksson. This involved not only a change of mindset and attitudes at the club from top to bottom (a process dubbed 'Sparkyisation' by Jack Pitt-Brooke), but, importantly, a change in personnel; players he felt did not subscribe to his ethos, his vision, his plan of how the club should be run were jettisoned (my way or the highway?).
This is not necessarily a bad thing of course. A manager must possess the ability to be flexible, but their authority must be such that they have the power to implement what they feel will bring success to the club. Isn't this how Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger et al operate?
If you go back through the archives of the blog you will see that I was largely in the pro-Hughes camp during his spell as manager (and wrote extensively over the manner of his sacking). His comments since though - and it is worth noting his continued close relationship with Kia Joorabchian - strike as being from a man with little more than an axe to grind.
He would do well to remember his time at City with a little more perspective.