Sven Goran Eriksson is poised to leave Manchester City in the next few days after a humiliating 8-1 defeat to Middlesbrough on the final day of the Premier League season.
The former England manager admitted there were “no excuses” as his side fell victim to Middlesbrough's biggest win in the top tier since September 1950.
Eriksson's future at City has been the subject of widespread speculation since the club's controversial Thai owner Thaksin Shinawatra declared that results during the second half of the season had not been good enough.
Despite this, the Swede indicated as recently as Friday that he wanted to continue managing the club next season.
But Eriksson is almost certain to be given his marching orders in the coming days with this defeat likely to hasten, not delay, his departure.
“There are no excuses. After we went 3-0 down we were somewhere else,” a clearly stunned Eriksson said. “This result is bad for everyone – our image, our fans, for everyone.
“You can use whatever word you want to describe our performance and I would probably agree.”
City players have come out in support of Eriksson as speculation about his future has increased yet the way they performed on Teesside suggested that they could not care less.
From the moment Richard Dunne became the 11th player to be sent off by Phil Dowd this season after fouling Tuncay, City were a shambles.
Not only did Dunne's reckless act leave City down to 10 men with 75 minutes remaining, it also left a question mark hanging over City's hopes of qualifying for the UEFA Cup through the backdoor of the “Fair Play” table.
Stewart Downing scored from the resulting penalty and Middlesbrough never looked back. Afonso Alves, the Brazilian forward, doubled the lead before half-time before Downing made it 3-0 with a sweetly struck left-foot volley.
City had no reply and Alves made it 4-0 before substitute Adam Johnson got in on the act.
Fabio Rochemback, on his final appearance for Middlesbrough, made it 6-0 while Jeremie Aliadiere also found the net.
Elano hit a consolation for the visitors before Alves completed his first hat-trick for Middlesbrough and Eriksson's humiliation.
Eriksson admitted that Dunne deserved to be given his marching orders. “I don't think he (Dunne) tried to foul him. I think they crossed but it is difficult to be the ref in this case,” he added. “It was a collision and it was the wrong place.
“I don't think the ball has gone to the striker, it has gone straight to Andreas Isaksson but I think the referee maybe must send him off in a place like that.”
Rather than revel in his side's performance, Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate had words of comfort for his opposite number.
“If you've done the sort of job that Sven has done then he can walk away with his head held high,” said Southgate. “It's a strange one. But that is what I told him before the game.”
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