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Middlesbrough 2 City 0

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"It is that consistency we are looking for and we're trying to get back-to-back wins but we are finding it a little bit difficult on our travels at the moment.

"We need to back up good performances at home with resolute performances away from home and at times we are leaving ourselves a little bit too exposed."

>>Mark Hughes.

We are certainly fast becoming a Jekyll and Hyde team, excellent at home but stuttering away from home and it is a little concerning that Hughes does not seem to have identified the specific reasons for our poor away form.

Whilst we have comfortably beaten sides at home that we were expected to (Portsmouth, West Ham and Stoke), away from home has seen us slip up recently at Wigan and Middlesbrough - where a point should have been the minimum return.

Hughes did try a revamp to the back line last night, bringing in Nedum Onouha at right-back with Micah Richards moving across to the left, with Hughes explaining thus:

"We needed to be a little bit more solid defensively. I think away from home at times we’ve left ourselves a little bit exposed.

"I was looking for a bit more solidity at the back that I think he provided. We looked okay but at other times we looked like a team that hasn’t really had a settled back four all year.

"That’s something that’s been a problem for us, so we’re trying to get the right balance of the guys back there that will enable us to have a defensive platform to be able to bring in the attack minded players they have in front of them."

Whilst I get the move to take out a less defensive minded player in Garrido, I fail to see that Richards playing there is a move that will shore up the defence in any way. Far preferable would have been Ben Haim moving there with either Onouha or Richards partnering Dunne. I think it is clear that a left-back will be firmly on Hughes's shopping list come January.

Elsewhere, it seems that Shaun Wright-Phillips may be dragged in front of the FA for his reaction to Gareth Southgate (picture here) after he 'won' a free-kick during the game.

Whilst we were unfortunate with the penalty decision and a couple of smart saves from Ross Turnbull, what is of concern is our record when falling behind. Three league games (Aston Villa, Wigan and now Middlesbrough) that we have failed to take even a point from - something that I imagine Hughes will also seek to address in the next couple of months.

Reports

To dismiss Manchester City as inconsistent would be a damaging slur. No other club so routinely bemuses their supporters, who must occasionally crave the humdrum reassurance of a goalless draw, while a habit of losing on Teesside in traumatic circumstances has now been established. The scoreline and the personnel may have changed, but the result remains the same. >>timesonline.

ON the Riverside Stadium turf where Juninho’s every trick was once worshipped, Manchester City’s very own little Brazilian was stifled while compatriot Afonso Alves emerged as Middlesbrough’s match-winner.>>northern echo.

CITY'S rampant inconsistency reared its head again at the Riverside - though they were hardly helped by the officials. >>MEN.

England international Shaun Wright-Phillips was at the centre of controversy after being involved in an angry touchline exchange with Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate.>>telegraph.co.uk

Manchester City's last trip to Middlesbrough ended in ignominy. This resulted in acrimony. After the 8-1 demolition that brought an end to Sven-Goran Eriksson's reign, last night's 2-0 defeat was notable for Mark Hughes' criticism of referee Lee Mason and Shaun Wright-Phillips' two-fingered reaction to the words of the Gareth Southgate on the touchline. >>guardian.co.uk