The role of a football manager is undoubtedly a stressful one, as you are forced to cope with the combined pressure of keeping a group egotistical blokes in check all while producing results and dealing with the media. For some it all just gets a bit too much.
For us, though, the on-looking public, we love it when a manager loses his marbles and is left spiralling out of control, losing his cool completely. There are a host of classic examples, whether you consider Kevin Keegan, Paolo Di Canio or JFK (John F****** Kinnear).
Perhaps the best in recent years – depending on your allegiances – was Rafa Benitez’s “facts” rant when at Liverpool, as he bit Sir Alex Ferguson’s bait after he’d claiming Liverpool would choke in the title race. Sure enough they did, but not before Rafa reeled off a list of “facts” in a press conference.
Has Rafa now been outdone as the most riled Spanish coach to grace the Premier League? Pep Guardiola is certainly giving him a run for his money.
Even after actually winning 2-1 against Burnley on Monday, Guardiola was in a foul mood as he spoke to numerous media outlets. Seemingly Fernandinho’s third red card of the season caused him some emotional stress, with questions relating to the Brazilian’s dismissal finding him most irritated.
When asked by the BBC’s Match of the Day what he thought of the red card, he was needlessly prickly and, quite simply, obnoxious.
“You are the journalist, not me. Don’t ask me, ask the referee.”
He gave a similar line to Sky Sports, as he proceeded to get tetchy with the reporter who was simply doing his job, asking questions about the more contentious parts of the match. Somehow he was even grumpier with Sky.
Perhaps the only thing more embarrassing about Benitez’s situation was that he was actively trying to take on another manager; Guardiola hasn’t really had that opportunity yet.
But players do watch post-match interviews – they often have TVs in the changing rooms. And they will have seen his questionable handling of those questions – those necessary questions. He was riled, looked uneasy and did not appear to be a man in control.
Man City fan tells the @talksport full time phone in ” no one sings, theres no heart in the stadium, why are we giving Guardiola time?” ?
Steven Gerrard commented after Benitez’ Liverpool departure that he felt the “facts” rant was ill-advised and he was adamant he would have had nothing to do with it. We may not always get to see player opinions, but they all have them and they will shape how each one behaves towards the manager.
Guardiola can at least take solace in that he hasn’t snapped towards the end of a grueling title race and taken aim at a rival manager practically begging for him to take the bait.
But considering their pathetic title challenge until now, this latest display of immaturity will hardly inspire his players to produce a upturn. They’ll be lucky to get anywhere close to the title at this rate.
At least Benitez got his team into the mix first.
Liverpool’s greatest ever teenage goalscorers
Michael Owen – The King of Cool himself, Michael ‘White Noise’ Owen was the previous record holder before Woodburn’s goal against Leeds. Owen’s first came on his debut against Wimbledon in 1997 and he went on to such career highlights as his World Cup wonder goal against Argentina, playing for Real Madrid in the Galácticos era and bullying that teenage goalkeeper on Michael Owen’s Soccer Skills, eliciting the timeless "Well done, he's 13" from Neville Southall in the process. Image Source: Twitter
The most recent of Liverpool’s teenage scorers before the Leeds game, Sterling’s name had been heard in dimly lit bars all over Merseyside following his incredible form for the youth team, and he confirmed the hype with a well-taken far post finish to give Liverpool a 1-0 victory over Reading in 2012. Image Source: Twitter
"I'm sat in the chair and she's gone round me and she's started placing her hands all over my head, all over my arms, all over my shoulders and she said I had two demons inside me, which was not bad because Gazza had five – I was happy with that.” This is a quote from Robbie Fowler about going to see infamous mystic, Eileen Drewery. Like Gazza, Fowler was never far away from controversy during his career, but had immense talent to match. Image Source: Twitter
Perhaps an unexpected addition to the list, Carragher went on to score only three goals in 508 games for the club. He may have had an illustrious career with the Reds, but to find him in a goalscoring list wedged between such legendary names as Robbie Fowler and Florent Sinama-Pongolle is surprising. Image Source: Twitter
Here he is: A man who brings a wry, nostalgic smile to Premier League fans and takes them back to halcyon days before Anthony Le Tallec became the new Zinedine Zidane. Sinama-Pongolle scored just four days after his 19th birthday to help Liverpool beat, funnily enough, Leeds. He then took the typical route up the footballing ladder, enjoying spells at Atlético Madrid and Sporting CP before securing a dream move to Dundee United and later Chainat Hornbill FC. Image Source: Twitter
It’s hard not to live in the shade of your father when he is both famous and as shady as ‘Arry, but Jamie Redknapp managed to make a name for himself. He was regarded as Liverpool’s – and England’s – next big thing when he got a winner against Chelsea in September 1992. Injury curtailed his impact on English football, but did he win an FA Cup, make millions, marry Louise and then secure a cushty punditry role at Sky; it’s not all bad, is it? Image Source: This is Anfield
Probably the biggest hero the Kop has ever had, which takes some doing when you think of all the greats to have played on Merseyside. His recent retirement means all the superlatives have already been recently used, but this is probably the player Woodburn grew up hoping to emulate. Perhaps Gerrard will even be tutoring the youngster if, as rumoured, he returns to the club in a coaching capacity. Image Source: Twitter
Through a quirk of David N'Gog being the oldest teenager to have scored his first goal for Liverpool, we’ve managed to save you the best until last. They say sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, so I’ll stop there rather than tell some long, imagined success story about Ngog’s career. Things didn’t really take off. Image Source: The Anfield Wrap