There was a question today that was put to me – do managers do more harm than good by making outbursts about various issues to the media, effectively destroying all respect we have to them? In the first half an hour my answer changed more times than Balotelli’s hair do.
My immediate reaction was that yes, of course it does – managers losing self-control will filter down to the players, and questions of if the pressure is finally getting to them will be asked. I then decided that no – in certain situations things must be said, and managers need to protect their players, put pressure on officials and make the fans aware of certain issues.
The I read exactly what Mancini had said in response to the Kompany red card appeal being rejected – no shocker there really – and decided to change my mind yet again – it is my prerogative being a woman after all.
I now think there are certain types of ‘outburst’ that are totally necessary and when all is said and done, actually go a long way to helping the team and gaining respect for the manager. There are also ‘outbursts’ which are totally ill-advised and unnecessary and do little more than make the manager a laughing stock not to mention derail the team’s progress in the meantime.
Let’s start with the latter type. Such outbursts are not only untimely but downright stupid, and the decline of the team in question can be documented easily after such press conferences. The most obvious example of this would be Kevin Keegan’s infamous ‘I’d love it, just love it if we would beat them’ rant at Fergie and United when Newcastle were leading the race for the title. Cue widespread laughter from all corners, a sigh of a job and mind games well done from Old Trafford and the feeling that it was now advantage United in the title race. To no one up and down the country’s surprise, United did go on to win the title that season and Keegan will always be remembered for his total loss of self-control.
Another victory for the master of mind games Fergie was when Rafa Benitez inexplicably lost his cool and reeled a list of typed and bullet pointed – how very Benitez – incidence produced from his pocket of when United has been favoured by the officials and got redder and redder as the list went on, and was criticised for his Keegan like outburst, and credited with losing his team the title and handing yet another victory to Fergie.
Even Bambi himself AVB showed exactly why he is no Mourinho after his outburst to the media, making a laughing stock of himself and the club, and alienating the few fans he actually had left in the press – the love of the press is vital, and it is something Mourinho had mastered from his very first ‘I am not from the bottle, I am a special one’ conference, and headlines reflected this – it is not a bad thing if your team is in a slump to have favourable stories in the press, and outbursts such as the one by AVB totally negate any chance of this.
There are however incidents when outbursts by managers are entirely necessary, and the one from Mancini in my opinion will not do his team any harm – having four players sent off in six games, they are not getting the rub of the green, especially with regards to the Balotelli and Kompany red’s, and to make the officials aware of this is no bad thing.
The key for Mancini was to keep his cool during the match at the Ethiad, and in doing so, this transferred to his players who lost with their heads held high, and then say what needed to be said after.
Much like how Fergie or Mourinho would put pressure on officials by ‘enlightening’ the media and fans to certain stats or little facts about their side or indeed the official’s track record, Mancini is doing no bad thing with his bemoaning of Chris Foy – I doubt he will be sending another City player off in a hurry.
Just imagine if Fergie had not spent years and years at the start of his tenure at Old Trafford complaining about injury time – had he not terrified the officials, there would be no such thing as ‘Fergie time,’ which is basically as little or much injury time United need to close out the game. Nor would there have been so many dubious penalties or decisions given at Old Trafford down the years.
Certain managers are very adept at playing mind games, and ones which hand the advantage solely to their team. Fergie has proven himself to be a master at this, only really meeting his match in Mourinho, and whether Mancini can come close to this level during his stay in the Premier League remains to be seen, but at the minute, it is advantage City, and everything we have seen from Mancini points to the fact he is more than a match for his neighbours. Even if he is not, lets face it we all love managerial outbursts – what would you rather a Keegan style meltdown or a Wenger esque ‘I didn’t see it?’ I know which is more fun – Newcastle fans however may disagree with me!
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