Posts Tagged ‘Rafa Benitez’

"Talking nonsense? Me?!"

“Talking nonsense? Me?!”

There are certain managers for whom every public utterance is scrutinised, dissected and happily challenged by the frothing wolves of a media pack all too eager to sink their teeth into any perceived contradictions or mistruths. For the modern-day football manager the media are every inch as formidable an opponent as the identity of the man in the next dugout, a foe to be taken lightly at their peril. For every manager that is, except Jose Mourinho, for whom every laughably absurd and self-serving address is treated with as much deference and sincerity as though it were delivered from a mount in the Middle East a few millennia ago.

In fact, it’s difficult to think of a more prolific expounder of nonsense in the world of football than the Portugese for whom every campaign can be filed into one of two categories; the successful ones and the ones in which he was cheated. For in Jose’s world there can be no other explanation for short-comings. Eliminated from the Champions League at Camp Nou? Clearly the referree’s fault and not the person responsible for playing Robert Huth up front. Lose a Champions League Semi-final against a Liverpool side costing a fraction of his own team? Clearly the fault of the linesman and nothing to do with his own side’s failure to resister a single attempt on target over 180 minutes against a defence containing Djimi Troare. Unable to budge Barcelona from their perch? Why, a Uefa conspiracy, of course, and nothing to do with an inability to get the best out of the most expensively assembled side in the history of the game. (more…)

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"I Know, I can't believe it either!"

“I Know, I can’t believe it either!”

Anyone looking to measure the contribution made by foreign managers to the Premier League would do well to avoid the LMA (League Managers Association) roll of honours- a list with as much of a cosmopolitan feel as your average BNP rally. Since its inauguration in 1994 only one manager from outside the British Isles has been acknowledged by his peers as that season’s highest achiever, with Arsene Wenger winning in 2002 and again in 2004.

By contrast the annual bauble has been collected by an Englishman on a record seven occasions, with Danny Wilson, Peter Reid, George Burley, Roy Hodgson, Frank Clarke, Alan Pardew and Steve Coppell all receiving higher recognition from their peers than the likes of Jose Mourinho, Roberto Mancini, Carlo Ancelotti and Rafael Benitez – all of whom won either domestic or European trophies during their time in England. It’s an extraordinary statistic when one considers that none of the aforementioned Englishmen have so much as a league cup between them. (more…)

Fooling All of the people All of the Time?

It’s not often a manager can lose and still be considered lucky but Martin O’Neill was one such man after Sunderland’s forth round League Cup defeat to Middlesborough at the Stadium of Light. Had Reading and Arsenal not simultaneously played out one of the most extraordinary games in the competitions history surely the Black Cats abject loss to their North East Championship neighbours would have warranted considerably more column inches in yesterday’s papers. (more…)

The news that football’s top graduates of the Jeremy Irons School of Lady-Relations, Messrs Gray and Keys, have being banished from our screens for the second time in a year should illicit a much different response to the righteous indignation that greeted lineswoman-gate in January of last year. For those of us not quick enough to take advantage of the fleeting chance to view it (which, apparently, is the entire population of planet Earth, save 517 hardy souls), seemingly Sky Sports’ erstwhile finest decided there was a shortage of tits on the internet and so broadcast themselves chewing the football fat in a series of bizarre settings before posting the outcome on Youtube. According to reports the duo’s ueber-gonzo offering floundered on such rocks as being unable to compete with the noise of passing traffic and the inability of the ‘cameraman’ to hold his camera phone in a non-wobbly manner. (more…)

As a Liverpool fan it pains me to say it, but Chelsea’s next manager should be Rafa Benitez.

The Press seem adamant the path is clear for a triumphant home-coming for crowd favourite Jose Mourinho, but the chances of that are between zero and zilch. Mourinho is nothing if not smart and he knows the work required to return Chelsea to the top is not so much cosmetic as of excavation proportions.

Mourinho acolytes rightly point to his impressive record of success wherever he’s been, but they are decidedly less vociferous when the conversation turns to his squad-building prowess. Everywhere Mourinho has enjoyed success he has inherited either the strongest squad in that country (Porto and Inter) or arguably the strongest squad in the world (Chelsea and Real). Mourinho’s three stand-out signings over his career thus far have been Drogba, Essien and Ozil, but all three were already world class footballers coveted by Europe’s top clubs. (more…)