Managerial Stubbornness

They have their “philosophies” and we’re all supposed to be impressed with their commitment to how they go about their business. Why is the modern day manager so one dimensional? It never ceases to amaze me when so called top class tacticians refuse to budge and fall into the same traps every week. We can’t expect everyone to be like Sir Alex Ferguson, granted, but we can surely expect a little adaptation. I’ll point out that my comments are pretty much exclusive to the current crop of Premier League managers, this coincides with a marked decline in standards in the EPL.

There’s only one place to start, Arsene Wenger – when this guy arrived in England he built a formidable team. Yes he inherited a wonderful back line, but those defenders weren’t challenging for the league every year. The players who took Arsenal to the next level, in the main, were Arsene’s purchases. Petit, Vieira, Henry, Wiltord, Overmars et al complimented the likes of Wright, Adams, Bergkamp and Seaman. Can you imagine Wenger bringing in a player like Petit now? We’d all pass out. Instead he brings in Granit Xhaka, why? You needed an enforcer, not a moron who can’t control his delinquency. One of Arsenal’s biggest problems is the players mentioned above left far too soon, you would’ve hard far more leaders at the club now if they’d developed alongside Henry and Vieira. We all know about Wenger’s philosophy, it’s entertaining when you watch an Arsenal game, but if he wasn’t so set in his ways he would’ve won more.

As a Manchester United supporter in his 30s I do appreciate that I’ve been spoiled, I’m also not complaining about our current dugout occupant. We’ve seen huge improvements this season, a few fortunate cup draws have papered over the cracks but we’ve progressed. I think this is the man to whom we should give some time. You guessed it, there’s a but: Why does the man make the same mistakes over and over? Please just attack, it breeds confidence and makes teams fear you. If you average 1.5 goals per game your players panic when they concede and if they miss a few chances they worry that it won’t come. We saw a Liverpool team nearly win the league in 2014 because they knew they were going to score, they scored 101 league goals – the only thing that stopped them was a Man City team scoring 102. Mourinho’s comments after a 0-0 home draw with West Brom seemed to sum up his issue (I’m paraphrasing) “the defensive players were very good; Valencia, Bailly, Rojo, Carrick, Fellaini…” – I wondered when the list was going to end. You’re at home against a Tony Pulis team, if he allows two players in your half he gets a nose bleed. He was attempting to criticise his attackers, all it did was highlight how many defensive players he used. His man management needs a polish, too. Some guys need a stick and some need a carrot, just adapt slightly and learn from your mistakes – Hazard stopped playing for him last season and it cost him his job.

Who’s next? Ah, Mr Tiki-taka. You have David Silva, Kevin de Bruyne, IIkay Gundogan, Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane in your team, who would you like on the ball to build attacks? That’s right, John Stones and Claudio Bravo. When Guardiola came into the club we knew it would be his toughest task, he achieved wonderful things at Barcelona and did very well at Bayern, to achieve that dominance with City was always going to be harder. That said, he started by making excellent decisions before a ball was kicked; cocky bad influences were marginalised (Joe Hart, Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri), terrible players were disposed of (Wilfried Bony and Eliaquim Magala) and players he could trust were brought in to set an example (IIkay Gundogan and Nolito). The results started well, too, but it’s not the most complex of tactics and City have been found out pretty easily at times. The goals conceded by the manager putting pressure on Stones and Bravo were totally avoidable but stubbornness prevails yet again.

The easiest one to analyse has to be Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool. He simply burns out his players, absolutely every season without fail. He was great at Dortmund, that has to be pointed out, but they’re a huge outfit in the Bundesliga and when he was missing players he was able to cope – in England that isn’t possible. The high tempo pressing game he adopts is over the top, I enjoy watching the effort his players put in but it causes problems. Just watch out for it next season, Liverpool will be excellent until the end of November and then they’ll struggle until the middle of January. I still like the guy, though, I hope he keeps Daniel Sturridge for another year so we can listen to an honest assessment after every game – “Sturridge? Yes, lazy again”.

I’ve had a bit of a rant about four managers there, all of them are in the top bracket in world football and they’ve all achieved a lot, my point is if they changed just a little they could do it every year. The easy example, this season, is Conte at Chelsea. He started well but acknowledged he had a defensive issue; Terry was aging, David Luis is probably the most unintelligent footballer in the league and Cahill isn’t blessed with pace. This became obvious when Arsenal tore Chelsea apart, the game finished 3-0 and the Chelsea defence was all over the place. What did Conte do? He changed his system, he adapted. He put Cesar Azpilicueta in a back three, this allowed the Spaniard to fill the voids left by Cahill’s lack of pace and David Luis’ lack of cognitive function. Perhaps if the four guys mentioned above had adapted in a similar way they wouldn’t be chasing Chelsea’s shadow.

In spite of all this I think we have some brilliant characters in charge of teams in the Premier League, hopefully they can help get our league up to a higher standard. If Wenger, Mourinho, Guardiola and Klopp iron out their problems I like the idea of them battling with Conte and Pochettino.

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Comments (11)

gursindersingh

13 days ago

The moral of the last two blogs,the premier league decline and managers,well Jurgen Klopp can match any team he's proved that by beating dortmund and still in transition with Liverpool,been in the top four all season which is a remarkable improvement on the previous season bad patch around christmas which is understandable due to the missing of key player Sadio Mane (which any team would miss) and injuries of course most of which were not caused by Klopps fitness regime (England duty etc etc),Now personally i don't think the premier league is in decline chelsea have been excellent this season and can match Juventus and Barca Real Madrid and Bayern munich,klopp gets another summer of his own signings and he will not be far away from winning the Epl.Just because Manchester United cannot compete with the top four EPL sides does not mean it is in decline.Manchester United are in decline and are getting worse it says something when they have to rely upon an old man to get their goals in Zlatan Ibrihimovic i mean have Psg missed him the awnser to that is No.

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rdbutler

13 days ago

I'll reply to the most ridiculous comments you made, correcting everything you write is a full time job.
- Every Klopp team has huge injury problems at the same stage of every season, you actually made my point for me. I think Klopp is actually a good manager, the same as every other manager in the article, my point was that they could be better with just a little adaptation. Liverpool are 12 points off the top without the distraction of European football and this is considered good, well it’s not.
- Mane doesn’t play for England, nor does Coutinho.
- If the Premier League isn’t in decline then it’s doing a spectacular job of pretending it is. Leicester won it by 10 points last season, TEN. If Chelsea could match those teams they wouldn’t have finished 10th last season, TENTH.
- I’ll refer you to Ian’s response for the Zlatan comments.

P.S. I can't tell you how awesome it is when Liverpool supporters talk about "facts". Ah, memories.

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gursindersingh

13 days ago

One more point Liverpool do not have the biggest squad the injuries sustained to Adam lallana,Jordan Henderson,philipe Coutihno,Sadio Mane were absolutely nothing to do with Jurgen Klopps fitness regime,i would suggest that many folk read to many newspapers i mean i watched these injuries happen during football games especially philiphe coutihno's now any team would miss these players and with the injuries Liverpool have sustained then i would say top four would be a success,i can't see anything else other than bad luck that we are not competing for the epl title.A full team and we would match any other team in europe.

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gursindersingh

13 days ago

Correcting everything i write yeah ok pal you blog is absurd,you state about teams selling players i.e Liverpool with the sale of alonso Mascherano etc etc you don't even know what your talking about.Liverpool sold these players because of financial difficulties as the gillets had put Liverpool into massive debt by taking loans out against the club hence the players had to be sold to pay of the debt and fight them in court.I don't want to argue with you but if your going to keep slating Liverpool and the manager at least have something thats true to back it up.

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rdbutler

12 days ago

I've no idea why you think I'm slating Liverpool, I've done no such thing. You're ahead of United in the league so I'd be daft to criticise - you just have a bit of a sensitive defence mechanism. You do read one too many papers, though. To suggest Liverpool were struggling financially at that time is a bit silly, the tabloids would try to make that out but it's quite simply silly. If you needed the £30 million for Alonso you wouldn't have signed Aquilani for £20 million, or Glen Johnson for nearly £17 million - there goes the Alonso money. Your net spend over this period was a tad lower than normal but certainly nothing noteworthy. You're just confirming my point with the injuries, matey. I take your point about Hicks and Gillett (not the Gilletts) they were a shambles financially, because they fell out, and it took about a year to get your finances in order - this wasn't the reason for selling those top class players, feel free to Google why Alonso and Reina left, they've confirmed they wanted to stay. I don't need to "back it up" when you could easily just look for yourself. Last comment, top 4 for Liverpool and United would be a huge success, that's my entire point. Two big teams would be delighted to finish fourth, it's accepting low standards like this that has reduced the quality of the league.

Ian

13 days ago

Sometimes, Gurs, you make sense, and sometimes you talk absolute crap. I'm not even going to begin responding to all you've written; I'll leave that to the chap that wrote the article. However, I will say this much;

PSG with Ibrahimovic - 102 goals in 38 games and won the title
PSG without Ibrahimovic this season - 66 goals in 32 games, looking unlikely to win it

That really isn't a coincidence. This "old man" kept Cavani on the wing, so be more respectful of a player that has a wealth of talent.

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gursindersingh

13 days ago

Yes he still scores goals but he is still an old man in footballing terms.He isn't going to sign a five year deal is he lol

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Ian

13 days ago

Yes, he is an "old man", but you used the term in a derogatory fashion rather than simply remarking on his age.

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gursindersingh

13 days ago

Not derogatory at all we all know he's a proven goalscorer but one that should be retiring.Infact i'm surprised we haven't seen drogba don his shorts once again lol,also the sale of Morgan Shneiderlin for £27 Million thats good value considering 90 million was spent on Paul Pogba.Do you not think that its the price so called big clubs pay for less than average players pumps up other players value,i mean Pogba wouldn't make the Liverpool team and that is a fact.

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Ian

13 days ago

I'd have taken Drogba! Terrific striker.

Nah. I think the value of players is the value of players. It's simply a case nowadays that smaller teams find it easier to hold onto players so bigger clubs need to do more to buy them.

If you seriously think Pogba wouldn't add something to your midfield, then you're very deluded. I'm certainly not suggesting he's the greatest central midfielder in the world - he's got a lot to learn - but if you wouldn't take him over Emre Can etc. then your bias has gotten the better of you.

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gursindersingh

13 days ago

,I can't see how he would fit in at liverpool in a fluent attacking side.He's a calamity an expensive one at that,thats why juventus sold him.

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