3 Big Reasons Manager José Mourinho Has Plummeting Value

Has José Mourinho gone too far?

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With Champions-elect Chelsea due to visit Old Trafford this weekend, we consider whether former manager José Mourinho still has the value as a manager that he used to have.

3 Reasons Manager José Mourinho Has Plummeting Value

His press conference performances are increasingly disjointed

After Thursday’s disappointing 1-1 draw in the Europa League quarter final first leg away in Anderlecht, Mourinho blamed his side’s “sloppy” attackers, saying “If I was a Manchester United defender, I would be very upset with the attacking players”. This just 2 weeks after he tried to humiliate…

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LWOS – 3 Big Reasons Jose Mourinho Has Plummeting Value

Jose and Pep are setting the tone for failure

This weekend saw another memorable round of Premier League fixtures including the Merseyside derby in which Liverpool ran out deserved winners and City versus Arsenal – an enthralling 2-2 encounter. The result of the weekend in the top flight was undoubtedly Palace beating Chelsea 2-1 at Stamford Bridge. But funnily enough no-one seems to be talking about any of these games. We’re all debating (once again) the post-match interview performance of Jose Mourinho after his side’s failure to win at home to West Brom. The game ended 0-0 and a frustrated Mourinho was in a prickly mood when giving his interview to the BBC’s Conor McNamara immediately after the game.

If you have not seen the interview it is a MUST watch and can be found on the BBC Sport website. After an admittedly one-sided game BBC interviewer and commentator Conor McNamara proceeded to ask Mourinho whether he felt the two teams “cancelled each other out today”. To which a bemused Mourinho immediately went on the defensive saying “You think that game was even? Really?” He went on to say “I think this is a silly question”. The interview, which lasts just over 3 minutes, continues in this vein with Mourinho aggressively explaining his views on the match. Mourinho has previous when it comes to giving spiky interviews. We’ve seen him walk out on Ray Stubbs before an Everton fixture in 2015. He also walked out on an interviewer 2 months later after losing to Stoke City in the League Cup.

A number of pundits and reporters have since come out and said that Mourinho was disrespectful to the reporter who was only doing his job. It is argued that the fans have a right to hear the manager’s points of view and it is the reporters’ job to deliver this. This argument holds a lot of truth (even though in this instance McNamara could have given more thought to his opening question). Mourinho has a duty to give his thoughts on the game and the way in which he does so reflects upon the club he manages – he is the manager after all. So what could Mourinho possibly gain from acting in this way and setting such a negative tone at Manchester United? It could be argued that Mourinho is simply deflecting attention away from his side’s inability to win at home to West Brom, a tactic employed my numerous managers over the years, not least Mourinho’s benchmark – Sir Alex Ferguson.

The Mourinho incident follows the strangely agitated post-match interview recently given by Pep Guardiola after Manchester City beat Burnley 2-1 in January in which Pep gave very brief staccato answers to the BBC’s Damian Johnson.  In both instances the managers showed a lack of class in dealing with the press. At every football club in the country the manager’s influence can be seen from the training ground, to the tactics, to the way the supporters behave, to what tea bags are used in the canteen (okay, I made that last one up). But whilst these ‘top’ managers continue to undermine the post-match interview process and behave in strangely unsporting behaviour it is the club that ultimately suffers.

In stark contrast a smiling, positive, complimentary tone can usually be heard at Anfield from a manager who is under just as much pressure as his aforementioned counterparts. Jurgen Klopp gives off positive vibes that reverberate around the city of Liverpool on a weekly basis. This can only be a good thing for the club going forward and it must also have a positive impact on the changing room.

 

We should not be talking about football managers (who are grown men by the way) being sulky and moody. We should be talking about the beautiful game itself. Football managers should be respectful of the clubs they manage. They should show class, act in a responsible manner and show humility. I’m certainly not going to get my violin out for the reporters because we all know that manager’s quotes have been taken out of context in the past and ‘mis-reported’ but equally I don’t feel an ounce of sympathy for the managers whose job it is to deal with each question with integrity, honesty and a positive attitude – for the club’s sake – for the supporter’s sake. And make no mistake, they are handsomely rewarded for this responsibility. Surely by setting this negative tone at both City and United Mourinho and Pep are setting the tone for failure.

 

 

Written by Tom Tyler. Follow me on twitter @gameof2football for all my latest updates: https://twitter.com/gameof2football

The image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.The author is Aleksandr Osipov.

FA Cup Semi-Finals Should NOT Be at Wembley

 

This argument’s been going on for ages. I can’t remember the amount of times I’ve heard someone say that the cup semis shouldn’t be held at Wembley. So why write a blog about it? Well, it just occurred to me this weekend that I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone in favour of it. Not one.

Whenever the argument is put to an FA representative they talk about Wembley being the perfect venue for such an event. They bleat on about how many more fans get to see their side play because of the increased capacity compared with the alternative (presumably the tried and tested neutral grounds of Villa Park, Anfield, St James Park, etc.). They talk about Wembley’s ability to hold such big events, the surrounding transport links and infrastructure, etc. The FA representative rebuffs the argument quickly and efficiently with these answers and then the problem goes away again for another year.

The thing is, I think every football fan with half a brain knows the real reason. Money. The FA are still trying desperately to recoup the money spent on building England’s new home of football. The truth is they cannot afford for the FA Cup semi-finals not to be at Wembley. But, the trouble is I think they’re doing this at a price. Yes, they’re getting their money back, but aren’t they losing the magic of the cup in the process?

Put yourself in a Sheffield United fan’s shoes. This opportunity doesn’t come around every day. They’ll have a great day out, one to remember for ever. But what if they win? What if they get to the final? What then? Well, they get to go to Wembley… again. Won’t their semi-final experiences take the shine off the final? And what about your average working class family from Sheffield? Approximately based on last season’s prices (and let’s be honest, these are likely to increase) 2 adults and 2 children in the cheapest possible seats (£150) + a matchday program (£10) + food and drink (£40) + train tickets (£70) = £270 minimum for the day. Times that by 2 if they get to the final = £540. I bet these fans could get season tickets for the same price!

I think it’s a shame that the FA is willing to sacrifice what little magic the cup still has and it’s wrong that they are allowed to make this decision against every football fan’s wishes just to fulfil Wembley’s budget requirements. 

Pardew should be sacked – no ifs, no butts.

When Saturday comes around I always look forward to what arguments the weekend’s football might inspire. Leading up to the weekend I have no idea what I’m going to write about but football being football it always throws something up. Maybe there would be a controversial red card or a brilliant nine-goal thriller. But in the 72nd minute of the Hull vs Newcastle game Alan Pardew gave me a gift of a blog. Cheers Alan!

I’d like to start by saying: what a plonker! Pardew has been around the block a bit. It’s difficult to tell exactly how old he is – he’s a bit like the Philip Schofield of the football world – but he’s old enough to know better. I was ashamed for him. It looked like Pardew came out to the post-match interviews very quickly, possibly even without conversing with the Magpies’ press officer. He still made excuses (even with the benefit of hindsight), trying to make out it wasn’t a head-butt, “I tried to push him away with my head.” Yeah, course you did Alan. That’s as laughable as Luis Suarez’s excuse after the infamous ‘bite-gate’ scandal with Ivanovic:

Interviewer: Luis, it looks like you bit Ivanovic today. Anything to say for yourself?

Suarez: It wasn’t really a bite. I was just trying to smell Ivanovic’s new aftershave and it got up my nose a bit… so I uh… I… I was just wiping my nose on him.

Interviewer: You just wiped your nose on him?

Suarez: Yes.

Interviewer: It wasn’t a bite?

Suarez: A bite? What do you think I am, an animal? No. He just has nice perfume.

Liverpool Press Officer: Luis. Can I have a quick word?

(Liverpool Press Officer whispers inaudibly in Suarez’s ear)

Liverpool Press Officer: Can you ask the question again please?

Interviewer: Luis, it looks like you bit Ivanovic today. Anything to say for yourself?

Suarez: I’m sorry for my actions.

I think that’s how it went, anyway.

Newcastle didn’t hang around long, issuing Pardew with a £100,000 fine before the FA even had the time to run round to Greg Dyke’s nursing home and wake him up from his afternoon nap – apparently they found him dribbling on a crossword in front of Pointless Celebrities. So, yet again the FA find themselves on the back foot. But, it was a great move by Newcastle. If Ashley wanted Pardew out he had just been handed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sack him at £0 cost. On the other hand if Newcastle had waited for the FA to react they may have been forced into a dismissal. Ashley had a quick decision to make and based on football alone I think he made the right one. Based on being a role model, taking the club forward, setting an example to the younger supporters of Newcastle (and football as a whole) as well as disciplining his own players in the future, I think it was a terrible decision.

Pardew has got Newcastle back to where they should be (top 8 of the premier League is about right for a selling club the size of the Magpies). They play decent football (sometimes) and he has to constantly deal with selling his top players (basically because they’re fed up of living in the North East… no comment). So, fair play, good job Alan. But I’m afraid I agree with Robbie Savage on this one (God, that was painful). Savage said “I thought his position as manager was untenable… Pardew shouldn’t be allowed in the ground for the last 10 games… How can you manage a group of players when you have done that to one of their fellow professionals?”

As a leader of such an important sports team in this country Pardew should be displaced. Newcastle haven’t done it so now it’s up to the FA. They have the power and they need to act now. Pardew’s actions were nothing short of hooliganism. What punishment do hooligans receive for such actions? They are banned from football. This is a professional sport wherein athletes compete for trophies. I can’t remember ever seeing Sir Steve Redgrave bash the opposition rower over the head with his oar because he splashed him. I can’t remember seeing Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor aim his dart at Martin ‘Wolfie’ Adams because he coughed before taking a shot. But I can remember a lot of unsavoury images from the past few years in the Premier League.

Pardew has now been charged with ‘improper conduct’ by the FA and he has until the 6th of March to contest that charge. If I was him, I’d take whatever punishment is dished out and thank my lucky stars I’m still allowed to be involved in the beautiful game. What I wouldn’t do is use the following quote as a character reference:

“Don’t let a couple of stupid incidents detract from the job he’s done at Newcastle. Especially with what goes on behind the scenes there” – Joey Barton, Twitter, Saturday 1st March 2014.

The greatest cup competition in the world?

This week saw the return of the F.A. Cup which gave the ‘big’ teams another chance to devalue football’s greatest competition. Half empty stadiums greeted half-empty teams, contributing to half-empty effort. Of course, I’m talking about Sunderland and Southampton. Just over 16,000 fans watched the game on Sauturday – the capacity at the Stadium of Light is 49, 000 – in what can only be described as a disgusting effort from both clubs. I back the fans on this one. I wouldn’t have bothered turning up either. Over the last ten years fans have come to expect weaker teams in F.A. Cup matches, they’ve learned not to waste their time going to watch their team’s reserves play for the same price as the first team. And why should they? All my life I have been told the F.A. Cup is the greatest cup competition in the world. Yet it seems to me that the majority of modern-day coaches and players couldn’t care less about it and if it goes on much longer we are in serious danger of losing this historic competition to an entire generation.

In one dugout we had Gus Poyet who decided to make nine changes to his starting eleven. He was quoted as saying:

“Apparently to be more famous, it’s better to win the cup. I don’t want any more people knowing me. I think they know me enough, so I would prefer to stay in the Premier League. It’s a personal feeling. I can’t answer for anybody else, it’s me. I would be devastated if we go down, so it’s me”.

Gus, Gus, Gus… you fool. You’ve got it all wrong. This isn’t about fame. This is a competition, which you enter (presumably) to win. You get a medal and a trophy at the end – the same as the Premier League or the Champions League – and you go down in history. You allow your long-suffering supporters a day out at Wembley and they will line the streets as you parade the trophy in your open-top bus. You give them bragging rights and a season to remember. You give back to the people who give so much for your club. This is called ‘football’.

For me, this is a complete lack of ambition (as well as a lack of respect for the competition, the club and the fans). In fact, I’ve never heard of anything so gutless! He’s so scared of ruining his reputation (IF Sunderland get relegated) that he doesn’t have the guts to field a full-strength side in the cup. Why not just forfeit then? He obviously doesn’t want to be there. When that final whistle went on Saturday he must have been gutted with that result – they’ve got to do it all over again now in the quarter finals!

Then, in the opposite dugout we had Mr Pochettino. Just when you think it can’t get any worse we have a team in Southampton who are sitting pretty in mid-table, completely safe from the drop with no impending game in mid-week and they make six changes to their starting eleven! At least Poyet had the relegation battle excuse which although it doesn’t wash with me, it at least appeases some of the fans and the board. The Saints fans have had a rough ride in the last ten years and they deserve more from a young manager who promises so much.

Has the game really lost that last trickle of romance it was hanging on to? Because, let’s be honest, when it comes down to it the answer is money. The F.A. Cup isn’t worth a thing to the big boys in the board room. The winners of the F.A. Cup can pick up in the region of £3 million in prize money on the road to the final. Compare that with the £700 million which is shared between the 32 clubs who take part in the Champions League and the average £60 million for each Premier League side in TV revenue and merit money (without even starting on individual sponsorship deals) you can start to see what pressure these managers are under. But that’s not good enough. As a football supporter I demand more. The lower league sides rely on the romance of this competition to keep them afloat. The money generated in the early rounds of the competition for the smaller clubs is unrivalled. The continual devaluation of the competition by the big clubs will eventually ruin it for the little clubs. The F.A. is always talking about looking after the ‘grass roots’ yet it is allowing this to happen. The F.A. needs to act. They seriously need to look into re-branding this great competition or increasing the prize fund significantly. There has even been talk in the past about giving the winner the fourth Champions League spot. I’m not so sure about the last one but I am sure that if nothing gets done and the competition is left to rot for another couple of years, we might never regain what was once the greatest cup competition in the world.

The Special Horse

Jose’s back. “Everything I say is mind games, everything I do is mind games”. And you know what, Jose? We love you for it. His mind games are almost as entertaining as the action on the pitch. The press lap up his every word at each press conference he performs at. And it is a performance. He takes his seat like a master conductor at a Viennese Opera House. He flicks his coat-tails with a wry smile before beginning his latest assassination of a rival manager. “City are lucky… they have everything in their favour, but it’s just a coincidence”. 

But history is repeating itself. Won’t these rival managers learn? With a third of the season remaining his mind games are now in full flow and it looks like Manuel Pellegrini will make the same mistake as countless managers before him. Retaliation. Pellegrini recently responded by claiming Chelsea or “the little horse” is “very rich”. Come on Manuel, that’s like Steve Claridge calling Michael Owen boring or Craig Bellamy calling Robbie Savage an annoying, Welsh p****.

In their most recent dual Mourinho challenges Pellegrini’s numbers claiming he needs a calculator. He is also demanding Yaya Toure be banned for his recent kick on Norwich’s Ricky Van Wolfswinkel. Mourinho is a predator ad once he’s got his claws in you there’s no escape. It may seem like he’s picking on City and only City but it’s more than that. After City’s defeat to Chelsea followed by their failing to find the back of the net at Carrow Road on Saturday Jose can smell blood. And he’s after more. No matter what you say, Mourinho always comes out on top. And actually, they are top. Chelsea have stealthily maintained in touch with the top three throughout the season. The “little horse” has been coming up on the outside and it’s just starting to get its nose in front. If I were Pellegrini I would take Mourinho’s recent flirtations as a compliment. Perhaps all this focus on City means Mourinho only sees them as genuine title challengers. City need to remember what they’re good at. They’re good at beating teams 6-0. They’re not good at playing dirty. Mourinho is. And he’s luring them in.

For the neutral the next few weeks will be very interesting. It’s that time of the season where momentum can win you the league. Games will start coming thick and fast with the Champions League returning and the mentality of the players and managers will be tested to its limits.

Who will win? Pellegrini or Mourinho? I know who I’d rather have conducting my team. And as Jose says “The only thing that’s not mind games is the results”. 

The Special Horse

The Special Horse