Benitez’s time at Liverpool has a lot in common with Guardiola’s at Manchester City

Ryan Benson

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.

“Bingo”, Fergie thought.

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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.”

Guardiola to BBC Sport.

You know that isn’t possible, Pep.

“Pep, you don’t seem happy that you’ve won?”

How awkward is this? ?

— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) January 2, 2017

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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.

WATCH: Pep Guardiola did not appreciate being asked about Fernandinho’s red card. #SSNHQ

— Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) January 2, 2017

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.

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.

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