Sven tight-lipped as City lose in Thailand
Thailand Premier All-Stars 3-1 Manchester CityManchester City suffered defeat to Thailand Premier All-Stars as Sven-Goran Eriksson's reign threatened to end in a whimper at Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok.
Ecuador striker Felipe Caicedo struck his first goal for the Blues but the All-Stars responded with two goals in eight minutes at the end of the first half of what could prove to be the penultimate match in Eriksson's spell as manager.
The hosts added a third midway through the second period in an inept performance by City which is sure to have further dismayed owner Thaksin Shinawatra.
Former Thai prime minister Thaksin is conducting a review which has resulted in speculation over the future of the former England boss, whose first season as a Barclays Premier League manager resulted in a ninth-placed finish.
However, City were yesterday awarded a UEFA Cup place next season after qualifying through the fair play table.
That European place could yet earn Eriksson a reprieve and enable him to retain much-coveted players like England defender Micah Richards - one of a number of first-team regulars who have not travelled on tour.
Thaksin opened a club store in the Thai capital yesterday and reiterated his desire to make City a global brand but the public failed to respond and the 65,000-capacity venue was sparsely populated for the so-called 'Super Match' - the first game of the two-match post-season promotional tour of Asia.
The Blues nearly paid the price for their nonchalance in the energy-sapping heat when Sarayoot Chaikamdee breached the offside trap before firing wide.
But City exposed the hosts' own frailties at the back to go ahead after 22 minutes.
Martin Petrov's deep cross from the left was knocked down by Darius Vassell to Caicedo, who was allowed to turn 10 yards out and tuck the ball into the bottom corner.
The All-Stars levelled eight minutes before the interval.
FA Youth Cup-winning captain Ben Mee was caught out of position in the centre of defence and Fabiano capitalised, latching onto a through-ball from Tawan Sripan to loft the ball over the advancing Kasper Schmeichel.
Mee's torrid first half was complete when he slipped one minute from the break to allow Tawan to coolly round Schmeichel and put the All-Stars ahead.
Caicedo headed against the crossbar from Kieran Trippier's right-wing cross before City's three Thai players - Suree Sukka, Teerasil Dangda and Kiatprawut Saiwaew - were introduced for their debuts with 26 minutes remaining.
Kiatprawut was out-jumped by Tana Chanabut nine minutes later as the All-Stars claimed a third.
Teerasil thought he had made amends for his compatriot's blunder but his header was ruled out for a foul and shortly afterwards he blazed over when clean through.
Sven-Goran Eriksson tentatively tip-toed around the subject of the future after watching Manchester City's 3-1 loss to Thailand Premier All-Stars at Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok.
However, when the Swede was asked what his relationship was like with Thaksin - a question which the club attempted to block - he smiled and replied: 'Good.'
The club would not confirm if Eriksson and Thaksin had met in Bangkok, but the former Thai prime minister's mood is sure to have worsened after a woeful performance in front of his compatriots.
The ramifications in football terms for a loss in the first game of City's post-season promotional tour are not severe, but the match could prove to be the penultimate game of Eriksson's one-season reign as a Premier League manager.
'We should have won the game,' he said. 'It was a good game, lots of occasions to score.'
The former England manager could yet earn a reprieve after the Blues were awarded a UEFA Cup place via the Fair Play system.
'The news about the UEFA Cup was extremely good news for the club,' he said. 'I think it's a dream for the fans, the players and for the club.
'For the club to attract new players it's easier when we're playing in Europe, obviously.'
But the 60-year-old declined to elaborate further or say if the European berth has allowed him to reassess his transfer targets.
'There is a lot of time to talk about that,' he added.'There is a lot of time until next year.'
Eriksson's steadfast resistance to comment on future matters stokes the fires of speculation, which is set to rumble on until after the completion of Thaksin's review - set to come late next week at the earliest.
Three Thai players - Suree Sukka, Teerasil Dangda and Kiatprawut Saiwaew - made their City debuts in the defeat, having been sent out on loan after signing last November due to work permit problems.
The trio thanked Eriksson for the opportunity, while the Swede in turn said he hoped they could now go on to play in the Premier League.
The All-Stars had trained together for just one week prior to the match and coach Chanvit Polchivin, who is also in charge of the Thailand national team, was delighted with the result.
'We're happy with the game today and the 3-1 result,' said Chanvit. 'The team have been preparing for just over one week and the players performed well despite the humid conditions.'