Tag Archives: Jurgen Klopp

In Modern football is too much blame being placed on the manager?

The past seven days in the premier league has witnessed two managers relieved of their duties.

Both Unai Emery at Arsenal and Quique Sanchez Flores, at Watford that was his second spell at the club and marked the hornet’s second managerial change of the season. 

Arsenal director Josh Kroenke revealed that the decision to remove Emery from his position had been ‘weeks’ in the making as they felt that the head coach had lost the backing of the fans. The former Sevilla and PSG boss was on a run of seven games without a win.

Former Arsenal player, Freddie Ljungburg, replaced the 48 year old and the Swede opened his managerial account with a 2-2 draw away to Norwich this past weekend.

Ljungburg is the latest appointment by a club chairman and the board of a former player at one of the big six clubs following the trend of Frank Lampard at Chelsea at the start of the season and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United and has prompted Kroenke to say that, “ Ljungburg has Arsenal DNA and understands the club.”

These latest managerial sackings however prompt the question… Is too much blame being placed on the manager?

Head Coach versus Manager role

For a start some teams nowadays have Head Coaches while others have Managers.

The former Tottenham Manager Mauricio Pochettino speaking in 2015, highlights the subtle differences between the roles:

“If you are the manager, you decide many things about the club.  But if you are a head coach, your responsibility is to play better, try to improve the players and to get positive results.”

Pochettino continued:

“At Southampton, I was manager my responsibility was not only to coach the team. With Tottenham, I am a head coach.  A head coach is head of your department. My department is to train the team.”

The attributes needed to be successful are reportedly the same for both roles, being adaptable in terms of training and good judgement on team selection for instance.

The head coach however can protest regarding lack of signings, but there is a lack of authority on the role compared with being a Manager.

It seems that the days are long gone when an Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson figure end up having complete control in terms of how things are run at football clubs.

Ultimately however is enough time given to managers or head coaches these days to implement the changes they require?

Former Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson, speaking to Harvard Business Review said:

“I believe that the cycle of a successful team lasts maybe four years and then some change is needed.  So we tried to visualise the team maybe three or four years ahead and make decisions accordingly.”

Ferguson continued: “Because I was at United for such a long time, I could afford to plan ahead – no one expected me to go anywhere. I was very fortunate in that respect.”

Is football after all a team game?

Football is supposed to be a team game, so shouldn’t the players, coaching staff and those who run the club be held equally accountable?

There is a squad of 25 players and even though the manager is there to inspire, implement tactics and produce impactful substitutions, he is not out there on the field playing the matches.

Sir Alex Ferguson was often praised for bringing on substitutes that would lead to last minute Manchester United winners. More recent examples include Jurgen Klopp and Brendan Rodgers, who have been praised for the way they set up their teams at Liverpool and Leicester City respectively.

Managers therefore are quickly praised but equally critics are ready to pounce if things are not quite going to plan. This leads to increased scrutiny on the man in charge and he is more often than not, provided with enough time to turn things around.

Flores for instance was only given 87 days so the window provided is getting shorter for managers to make the desired impact that the clubs fans and owners are looking for.

When asked about the recent pressure that Everton manger, Marco Silva was under, England and Everton’s number one goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford said:

“ A few bad performances should not put the manager under pressure”

Pickford continued:

“ We have to look at ourselves as individuals and as a squad.  You are a team and you win together and you loose together.”

Sacking managers is not always the answer

Pickford has currently had 11 managers throughout his Premier League career to date, since his introduction seven in three seasons at Sunderland, who are now currently in League One and four in the past three seasons at Everton.

Although Silva and his team enjoyed an impressive conclusion to the previous campaign, there is little suggest that Everton will challenge currently for the top six positions that they are looking to break into.

Owners expecting quick results

The influx of money, particularly in the Premier League and the spending power of clubs has changed, particularly in the past few years.

It has become harder for the top clubs to get the players that they want as other teams are under less pressure to sell and want to get the maximum amount for the player in question.

When the high transfer fees are spent, Emery for instance had over 100 million to spend on transfers over the summer, including 70 million on Nicholas Pepe from Lille, both the fans and the owners expect the side to hit the ground running.

If the desired results are not being delivered the boardroom will look for someone to blame. The easiest answer will ultimately always be the person in charge, the manager.

Challenging football schedules

Liverpool Manager, Jurgen Klopp eluded to this matter at the start of November as the German said,

“ Crazy football schedule for international players, there is no time for the manager to work with the players on the training field.”

Sadio Mane, one of Liverpool’s key attackers for instance has only had two weeks break all year round. The league leaders are currently at a start of a run that will see them play 13 matches over a six-week period.

It is therefore a struggle for a new manager or one that is under pressure to implement a new style of play or change tactics for an upcoming game if he does not have enough time to coach the players.

There is also the addition of international tournaments such as this year’s Nations League competition that increases the amount of time that players are away from their club sides.

The demanding schedules lead to the increased chances of injuries to significant players for key games as well as player fatigue that leads to a greater chance of players making mistakes out on the field of play.

Pressures of qualifying for Europe’s elite competitions

All the elite clubs strive to be apart of the Champions League with the prize money seemingly increasing year on year, for this season clubs would have secured roughly 15 million just for reaching the group stage.

This would drive club owners to make knee jerk decisions, especially if their team was not performing on the field.

Media scrutiny on Managers

Finally the media scrutiny on managers in this day and age is enormous.  Particularly for sides such as Manchester United and Liverpool, who have former players as pundits such as Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher.

They are quick to point out what the manager should and should not do using video technology in their Sky Sports Studio.

The influence of the Video Assistant Referee is also proving to be a game changer this season.

The manager also has to watch what he says in the pre and post match interview. He is ultimately put under the microscope more than any one individual player as he is exposed to the media every week.

If a player has a bad game he can choose to avoid the media and public eye following the match and can always redeem himself the following week.

When it is going well, the manager is quick to be praised by everyone and can supposedly do no wrong.  When things however start to go wrong, fortunes can change very quickly, owners want to see a return on their increased investment and it is on the whole easier for them sack one person rather than wait till the transfer market to sell and sign numerous players. 

 Feel free to give 24/7 your opinion, is too much blame and pressure being put on the manager or head coach?

 

 

Best FIFA Football awards 2019 winners

What is it?

The FIFA football awards were originally introduced in 1991 to go along side the French publication, French Football’s Ballon D’Or prize. 

The difference between the two is the organisations in charge; The Ballon D’Or was set up in 1956.

 However, both awards were combined in 2010 to create the FIFA Ballon D’Or for six years before FIFA President, Gianni Infantino reverted it back to the original separate award system in 2018.

Lionel Messi wins best player for a sixth time

Lionel Messi was voted the best men’s player at the awards in Milan.  The Barcelona man was voted ahead of fellow finalists, Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk as well as Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 32-year-old Argentine helped Barcelona win La Liga and reach the semi-finals of the Champions League, scoring 54 goals in 58 games for club and country, and provide 20 assists in the 2018/19 campaign.

I think that Van Dijk should have got the award because of the impact he has made to Liverpool’s defence, particularly last season, while Messi had an impressive season; Van Dijk ultimately played a critical part in Liverpool winning their sixth Champions League trophy as well as the dramatic improvement that he has made to the reds’ defence in the league.  His former manager at Celtic, Neil Lennon, also shares this viewpoint.

FIFA however have not crowned a defender as it’s player of the year since Fabio Cannavaro won it in 2006 after the Italian led Italy to World Cup glory.

Megan Rapinoe awarded the women’s player prize

American superstar Megan Rapinoe led her country to a second consecutive World Cup win scoring crucial goals against Spain in the last 16, France in the Quarter-finals and the World Cup final itself during their victory over the Netherlands.

Rapinoe won the award with 46 per cent of the vote, just ahead of World Cup 2019 Silver Boot winner Alex Morgan, 42 per cent and Lyon treble winner and England international Lucy Bronze, 29 per cent.

Jurgen Klopp named coach of the year ahead of Pep Guardiola

Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp was announced as coach of the year after guiding his team to a Champions League win in Madrid against Tottenham Hotspur. Other notable highlights included the comeback in the Champions League Semi-finals against Barcelona, 4-3 on aggregate.

The German coach also lost only once in the Premier League during the 2018/19 season and achieved a 97 point tally, falling just one point short of eventual winners Manchester City.

The other finalists included domestic treble winner (Premier League, League Cup and FA Cup), Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola.

Tottenham Hotspur coach, Maurico Pochettino was also nominated having led the London side to their first ever Champions League Final.

I think you can make a strong argument for both Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola when it comes to winning coach of the year.

Pep Guardiola for me should have got it ahead of Klopp on this occasion, purely for leading his team to the first ever domestic treble, or perhaps they could have even been joint winners?

World Cup winning coach Jill Ellis named best women’s coach

Probably the least surprising award winner, Jill Ellis helped America win another World Cup in France this year.  This was following on from her 2015 success in Canada.

In the seven tournament matches her side scored 26 goals, including a record 13-0 win over Thailand and conceded just three times.

Ellis finishes her reign as American coach next month and currently is the only coach to lift the Women’s World Cup twice.

The other finalists were England coach Phil Neville, who helped the Three Lions to a fourth place finish at the World Cup as well as a first ever SheBelievesCup win back in March 2019.

Sarina Wiegman, the Dutch coach, was also nominated having got her country to their first ever World Cup Final.

Alisson Becker and Sari Van Veenendaal named the best male and female goalkeeper

Brazilian and Liverpool Goalkeeper, Alisson Becker was announced as the best goalkeeper and this was certainly justified after keeping a record high 21 clean sheets in the league. Alisson was also able to help his club side to Champions League glory, keeping five clean sheets including four in the knockout stages.

The runners-up were Manchester City’s Ederson, who kept 20 clean sheets during the last campaign and Barcelona’s Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.

Sari Van Veenendaal, the Dutch number one keeper, meanwhile was awarded the women’s goalkeeper award.  Van Veenendaal helped her team to their first ever World Cup final, keeping three clean sheets in the process.  She was also part of the Arsenal side who won the Women Super League title.

Sweden’s Hedvig Lindahl, who played an integral part in her side finishing third at the World Cup, was the runner-up.

Eighteen-year-old Daniel Zsori wins the Puskas award for best goal

Daniel Zsori was awarded the best goal prize by scoring a stunning bicycle kick in stoppage time in what proved to be the winner for his club side Debrecen against rivals Ferencvaros in February 2019.

Incredibly Zsori was making his first senior appearance for the club.

Silvia Grecco chosen as FIFA fan winner

Silvia Grecco was given this award because she was seen with her son, 11-year-old Nickollas, who is blind and mildly autistic, describing and commentating on a Palmeiras football game for him against rivals Corinthians.

The footage of this went viral all over Brazil and the mother later explained that she had been doing this for a few years.  Grecco won the award with roughly 58 per cent of the vote.

Fifa Fifpro Men’s Team of the Year

Goalkeeper – Alisson (Liverpool/Brazil)

Defenders – Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax and Juventus/Netherlands), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid/Spain), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool/Netherlands), Marcelo (Real Madrid/Brazil).

Midfielders – Luka Modric (Real Madrid/Croatia), Frenkie de Jong (Ajax and Barcelona/Netherlands), Eden Hazard (Chelsea and Real Madrid/Belgium)

Forwards – Kylian Mbappe (Paris St-Germain/France), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus/Portugal), Lionel Messi (Barcelona/Argentina)

Fifa Fifpro Women’s Team of the Year

Goalkeeper – Sari van Veenendaal (Arsenal/Netherlands)

Defenders – Lucy Bronze (Olympique Lyonnais/England), Wendie Renard (Olympique Lyonnais/France), Nilla Fischer (Linkopings FC/Sweden), Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals FC/USA)

Midfielders – Amandine Henry (Olympique Lyonnais/France), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars/USA), Marta (Orlando Pride/Brazil), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit/USA),

Forwards – Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC/USA) and Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride/USA)

Were some of these inclusions justified?

Certainly there were a few surprising inclusions such as Real Madrid player’s Marcelo, Sergio Ramos and even Luka Modric.

Sergio Ramos in particular as he admitted after the first leg of the last 16 ties against Ajax that he picked up a deliberate yellow card to rule himself out of the return leg, that Real Madrid ultimately lost.

Meanwhile, Kylian Mbappe was impressive in Ligue 1 and domestic competitions in France but he did not make much of an impression on the Champions League stage last season.

I would have chosen Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte who played a crucial role in their treble winning campaign ahead of Sergio Ramos. Laporte helped his side keep 23 clean sheets out of 48 games.

Liverpool’s Andy Robertson at left back instead of Marcelo, again due to his influential displays in their Champions League and Premier League campaigns. Last season Robertson was responsible for 13 assists from his position at left back.

Christian Eriksen also I think gets in ahead of Luka Modric as he played an important role in Tottenham Hotspur getting to their first ever final. Eriksen was responsible for eight goals and 12 assists from 35 appearances during the London clubs previous campaign.

Finally I would bring in Mohamed Salah instead of Kylian Mbappe, purely because of the importance of the goals that he scored and the impact that he made in crucial moments of the campaign contributing 22 goals and 11 assists in all competitions.

Unlucky absentees?

Both Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling and Liverpool’s Sadio Mane were unlucky to just miss out as well having both had superb seasons with their respective clubs. Tottenham’s Heung-Min Son and Ajax’s Dustin Tadic were also outstanding.

Do any 24/7 readers have views on the award winners and who would you choose in your team of 2018/19? 

Liverpool 3-1 Newcastle United: Subtle Reds create Premier League history

Liverpool cruised to a comprehensive 3-1 victory over Newcastle United to retain the top spot in the Premier League standings.

Anfield witnessed yet another sublime display as Liverpool outplayed the Magpies on quality and matched a Premier League record. Their triumph against Steve Bruce’s side means it’s Reds’ 14th consecutive win in Premier League, just 4 short of Pep Guardiola’s consecutive win record. Liverpool are the first team in top-flight history to win 14 straight matches, by scoring more than once in each win.

However, Liverpool did have an unusually slow start and the visitors made the most out of it as Jetro Willems scored with a sublime right-footed strike. Nevertheless, the hosts responded in stunning fashion, as in-form Sadio Mane dispatched a crucial equalizer on the 27th-minute mark. Minutes before the second half, Jurgen Klopp was forced to make a substitution which saw Roberto Firmino coming off the bench to replace injured Divock Origi.

The Brazillian had a lightning-quick impact on the game, and submitted a delicious pass for The Reds’ second goal. The European champions were ahead in a flash.

After the second one, they looked relatively more comfortable, predominately Roberto Firmino was under a constant spotlight, displaying a unique extravaganza of subtle twist and turns and exquisite passes. Salah’s first and Liverpool’s third came due to Brazillian’s wonderful backheel. It was just wonderful to watch.

Moreover, Reds’ midfield also did a good job, and Oxlade-Chamberlain’s return was one of the positive signs.

Liverpool sit at the top of the pile with a five point lead on Manchester City. They are looking very sharp and looking hungry from the very start to land their first Premier League title

Player Ratings:

Liverpool:

Adrian – 6, Van Dijk – 8, Matip – 7, Alexander Arnold -7, Robertson – 7, Fabinho 8, Oxlade Chamberlain 8, Wijnaldum -7, Mane -8, Salah – 7, Origi -6

Subs:

Firmino- 9, Milner – 6, Shaqiri -6

Newcastle United:

Martin Dubravka- 5, Krafth -6, Schar -6, Lascelles -6, Dumeett -6, Willems -7, Almiron-6, Hayden-6, Shelvey -6, Atsu-5, Joelinton -6.

Subs:

Muto- 6, Fernandez-6, Manquillo-6.

 

 

Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal: Gunners’ new faces fail to impact as Reds run rampant

Dominant Liverpool put forth a stunning display at jumping Anfield as they strolled past Arsenal 3-1 to stretch their winning streak in the Premier League to 12.

The matchday 3 of the Premier League saw Liverpool going toe to toe with Arsenal at Anfield, which promised to be a mouthwatering clash between two attacking units. Anfield has turned out to be a nightmare for Arsenal in the recent past as they witnessed a sheer humiliation in their recent trips to the Red Half of Merseyside. With an eye-catching business in the transfer window, Arsenal were seeking a positive result after recent catastrophes against The Reds.

However, it didn’t turn out be an outing their twelfth man had hoped for.

Liverpool, with their sheer class, quality and attacking proficiency were capable of achieving a grip on the game from very early stages. Full-backs Alexander-Arnold and Robertson were under constant spotlight, turning the game into a crossing session in the first half.

Liverpool’s error did hand gunners with some really good chances of scoring but they couldn’t capitalise on them. At last in the dying moments of the first 45, a breakthrough came. It was Reds’ defender Joel Matip who put Reds in front and their all hard work of the first half was paid off. It was more of psychological relief.

Neither of the two made the changes in the half time. The start of the second period was electric for Reds and David Luiz’s blunder of pulling Mohamed Salah’s shirt offered Liverpool to double their lead from the spot. The Egyptian, with a sublime penalty, fired Liverpool to a two goal lead and it started feeling like Arsenal’s past trips to Anfield are going to be repeated.

The tie had swiftly turned into the favor of hosts. The European Champions were in complete control and looked to cause Arsenal more of problems. On the 58th minute mark, Salah yet again fired Liverpool to a three-goal lead. But this time, the goal was sumptuous. With a sublime turn, he nullified David Luiz and then struck a well taken shot to the left bottom corner. Liverpool 3- 0 Arsenal.

Lucas Torreira scored a late consolation goal for arsenal which injected small unrest in the stands of Anfield. However, it ended as Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal.

Liverpool have started yet another season on a big high while Arsenal’s 100% start in the Premier League season has been broken. However, despite the result, there are some positives for Arsenal. Nicolas Pepe showed glimpses of what he can do while Torreira’s impact after coming from the bench is also a positive.

Player Ratings:

Liverpool:

Adrian (7), Van Dijk (8), Matip (9), Robertson (7), Alexander Arnold (7), Wijnaldum (6), Henderson (7), Fabinho (8), Mane (7), salah (9), Firmino(8).

Subs: Milner (6), Oxlade chamberlain (6), Lallana (N/A).

Arsenal:

Leno (6), Luiz (4), Sokratis (6), Monreal (5), Maitland Niles (6), Xhaka (6), Guendouzi (6), Willock (6), Ceballos (6), Aubameyang (5), Pepe (6).

Subs

Torreira (7), Lacazette (N/A).

 What Next?

Liverpool face Burnley in matchday 4 at Turf Moor, while another tough clash awaits for Arsenal as they face arch-rivals Tottenham next week.

From a bhoy to a Fox? Brendan Rodgers to Leicester?

After sacking Claude Puel on Sunday Leicester city have moved quickly to get their man and it seems that man is current Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers. Reports today suggest that the Bhoys have allowed Rodgers to travel to Leicester to discuss a move to the Midland club. Many suggested that any move for the Irishman would have to wait until the summer but it seems Rodgers has made his wishes clear to the Celtic board to leave now.

Is this a good move for Leicester City?

Currently in 14th position in the Premier League the Foxes are without a win in 7 games which includes the 2-1 loss to league 2 Newport County in the FA Cup 3rd round.

Some positivity and confidence is needed and a new manager often provides this, Brendan Rodgers wants another shot at the Premier League after a disappointing end to his Liverpool tenure and with Leicester, a club that has won the Premier League, has solid owners with deep pockets and a squad of talented players he has the ideal place to make a great start and rebuild his reputation to a degree.

One of Rodgers main strengths is his coaching ability and with the likes of Demarai Gray, Ben Chilwell and James Maddison there he really could get those players to the next level like he did with Raheem Sterling in his early years. Oliver Burke transferred to Celtic at the start of the season because of Rodgers, Burke felt that the Irishman could get his career back on track, and possibly the biggest compliment Rodgers has received came from Brazilian icon Pele when he said “I think Celtic are very lucky to have a manager with the qualities of Brendan. Luis Suarez was a really good player when he went to Liverpool but I believe Brendan gave him great coaching, guidance and advice and made him a better player and a better person”.

So what would Leicester be getting in Brendan Rodgers?

Someone with the ability to coach players and make them better, a coach who has managed at the top level and who came within 2 points of delivering Liverpool their first Premier League title, a title they’ve never been closer to winning since. Rodgers has plenty of experience in the premier league having managed Swansea after he guided the Welsh club up from the championship and Liverpool, showing his ability to manage clubs at both ends of the league, so he’s no stranger to life in a club outside the ‘top 6’.

Time will only tell if Brendan Rodgers will be a good fit for Leicester city but with his pedigree and track record of trophies and success, the Foxes will be in good hands.

Wayne Edge @oasis1711