Inside Man City’s dressing room after 8-1 defeat to Boro on club’s darkest day

Not a word was spoken in the changing room after Manchester City after they suffered their most humiliating result in history.

On May 11 2008, Sven Goran Eriksson's reign as City boss came to a crashing end with an 8-1 defeat.

But this wasn't at the hands of the great United or Chelsea sides of the era… it came against Middlesbrough.

City were hindered by the early red card to Richard Dunne, but no team of their calibre should have been thrashed in such a way.

This was a City team, after all, that included the likes of Elano, Martin Petrov, Didi Hamann and Darius Vassell. It's not the City we know today, but at the time, they were challenging for Europe.

Elano scored the 87th minute consolation for City that day, but the Brazilian remembers it as the darkest of his time in England.

"The game against Middlesbrough was a horrible one to be a part of," recalled Elano, speaking speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes at its launch of the 5-A-Side Bet on the Manchester Derby.

"From start to finish we just never really got going in the game and weren't quite there mentally.

"The Premier League is such a competitive league where you have to always be prepared mentally and physically and we just weren't there.

"The environment around that whole game was just so bad, because obviously Sven Goran Eriksson was leaving the club, so in general the whole experience was negative.

"Even though I scored a goal I don't think about it because the rest of the game was so bad. We just weren't prepared."

With Eriksson leaving the club, and club captain Dunne having been sent off within 15 minutes of the game, there was nobody fit to speak out in the changing room afterwards.

Instead, it was just an eerie silence.

"It was complete silence in the dressing room after that defeat," Elano recalled. "No one wants to say anything; we all knew how bad we had played.

"Who is going to want to talk about it? Everyone had the same thought. It wasn't to happen; that result wasn't supposed to happen, so who was going to step up and say the right thing?

"There was no right thing to say at that point. It was the last game of the season so we had to just let it sink in and move on.

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    City fans would not know how lucky they would be in the months to come. Rather than stewing over their defeat, they were soon distracted by news of the mega-money Abu Dhabi takeover.

    In came Mark Hughes to take the reigns in the dugout, but for Elano it meant less opportunities on the pitch.

    "Sven Goran Eriksson was like a father to me during my time at Manchester City. He was a great man who had a lot of respect for his player," Elano said.

    "He gave me a lot of freedom on the pitch; I felt like he embraced me in every single aspect, as a person and as a player.

    "He knew how to get the best out of me, and I only have positive things to say about Sven.

    "It was tough when he left because I regarded him so highly but you have to adapt as a footballer.

    "I never had a problem with Mark Hughes, he was fine, but when you change managers it's a completely different style.

    "I think it was something like 10 new players arrived and you have to then learn how to interact with those new colleagues, while also adapting to a new style of coaching.

    "I also had a year to prepare for the World Cup when Sven left, so I had that worry about what it might mean for my chances of making the Brazil team if I wasn't playing for City."

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