Klopp and Benitez: The managerial opposites

Date published: Wednesday 26th April 2017 8:00

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Klopp and Benitez: Managerial opposites
Watching this weekend’s less-than-unexpected defeat, it occurred to me how diametrically different Klopp and Benitez are and how perfect a combination of them would be.

Benitez was and presumably still is a tactical mastermind. Two Champions League finals and a semi, including one victory, with that team? Top effort!

But when it came to inspiration and man-management, not so much. I still curse the day he felt naffing off Alonso for Gareth Barry was a shrewd move. And Stevie G spent many years waiting for a compliment of any kind. Ever.

Jurgen, on the other hand, is all about passion, enthusiasm, motivation and lots of effort. Running! Pressing! More running! Looks utterly wonderful when it comes off and it can be awesome fun to watch.

Tactically he does seem a touch limited though and being outwitted by Smug Sam is ‘A Bad Thing’. And all this running does completely knacker out our players – someone key is *always* injured.

So clearly the answer is a highly impossible,
gestalt melding of the two of them, involving wickedly bad and highly illegal science. Creating a managerial monster (with a slight personality disorder) who promptly wins everything.

Or we could hire a proper defensive coach and learn how to handle set pieces.

I’m good either way.
James, Liverpool
A fair response on Mourinho’s season
I can only assume Richard, Manchester (24/4) is willingly in denial about Manchester United’s progress or otherwise under Mourinho this season.

Disregarding the unfounded nonsense regarding the ‘endless fawning’ over Klopp and Pochettino (I have seen plenty of justified criticism for Klopp in particular of late) I think it is pretty clear to the unbiased amongst us that Jose has had a bit of a free ride this year.

He says that no sane United supporter expected a title challenge but that’s simply not true is it. Not only did huge numbers of the football media (including the great Matt Stead) have them down as potential title winners, but I don’t recall seeing too many doubts amongst the notoriously balanced United support that a comfortable top-four finish was on the cards at the absolute minimum.

Anyway, my point. The occasional (Leicester shaped) blip aside, most people accept that football performance is directly correlated to transfer and wage spending in particular. The clubs that spend the most money tend to perform better and win more titles. There is consistent evidence of this over a long period in multiple leagues, including ours. Therefore the clubs (and by default managers/coaches) who spend the most are understandably under the most scrutiny. I think most would agree this is broadly sensible and fair.

Best estimates put United’s transfer spending at £149 million last summer. That’s £149 million. This on top of a squad which over the previous three seasons has been strengthened (stretching the definition admittedly) to the tune of more than £300 million. If you feel inclined you could equate that to a net spend (yes, I know) over the last four seasons of around £300 million.

Compare this to Liverpool and (in particular) Tottenham’s spending over the same period, and last summer in particular, and it’s quite clear why more has been expected of Mourinho. What’s more, in a season where the most expensively assembled squad in the history of English football spent more than 100 days in 6th place and come nowhere near the title challenge so many put forward as a given at the start of the season, it seems to me that he has got away fairly easily considering how below expectations his team have performed.

I won’t go into full detail comparing net spend figures etc. because there is some ambiguity around how they are calculated plus, well, I have a life and better things to do. I think it’s fairly obvious though that the most expensively assembled squad ever, representing the most successful British club of the last two decades, managed by a coach who is almost universally regarded as one of the world’s best, should expect rather more than they have seen so far.

To recap. You are ‘The Biggest Club In The World’ (TM). You currently employ the most expensive player in football history within the most expensive squad in football history. Your coach is respected and renowned as one who consistently get results. This is entirely different to two coaches who are asked to compete as one of the best four teams in the country when they are consistently the 5th and 6th biggest spenders on transfers and wages.

I trust this clears up your confusion.
Gary, Ipswich


But Jose’s squad management better than anyone else
The suggestion in the mailbox that Mourinho has out-managed Klopp and Pochettino this season couldn’t have come at a more convienent time, as I was about to suggest whether Jose is the ‘ballsest’ manager going.

Think about it. They travelled to a team with a good home record that were desperate for points with first teamers like Zlatan, Mata, Rojo (most improved player of the season IMO), Smalling and Jones all injured. And still decided to shake things up by resting Valencia, Carrick, Mkhitaryan and Rashford, getting a comfortable result in the process. And that comes a week after dropping top scorer Zlatan for Rashford vs Chelsea.

Now compare this to the aforementioned other two. Klopp was down Henderson, Lallana and Mane but yet stuck to the predictable XI available to him in their absence. The only real rotation at Spurs too is the occasional switcheroo of the full-backs (when Rose is fit), and whether Dier fits into a midfield three or three at the back.

That may point to United’s greater strength in depth (which is surely the most important factor for any team hoping to have a long season), and I know Chelsea have been served well from having more or less a settled first eleven, but genuinely good teams, and not teams masquerading as good, come good at the business end of the season, even when fighting on two fronts.

Mourinho’s public criticism of his players and a litany of other offences mean I haven’t warmed to him (and probably won’t), but his squad management is undoubtedly the strongest among the top six.
Brian, Wexford


What has Kante done?!
KANTE: Interceptions, tackles, dribbling, shot, passing, goals, assists,
aerial duels won, clearances, blocks.

He is not top for any ofthose. Now that begs the question, what has he actually done to
deserve the POTY?
Michael, MUFC
(MC – Played really f**king well)


This is the appropriate response to promotion
In the five minutes of madness, when the Preston defenders did their finely tuned impression of Scottish football, the first thing I thought was: ‘Yeah – Football365 will be able to add us to their lists again’.
Ratt Mitchie – NUFC


Congratulations to Newcastle
Congratulations to Rafa Benitez for managing Newcastle and winning promotion at the first time of asking. The Magpies or to use my coinage, The Old Lady of English Football, being back in the Premiership is good news and I wish them all the best.


Love for Ray Hudson
Greetings. Has anyone ever heard Ray Hudson commentate on the beIN network broadcasting La Liga games in the US?

Amongst all the mailbox letters, I hadn’t seen anyone mention the glorious Mr. Hudson. His commentary borders on the ridiculous. I have no clue where he comes up with the most outlandish quotes you can think about. His modus operandi includes regularly directing underhand and snide remarks to his American co-commentator, which makes it even funnier to hear him talk. Ray doesn’t really analyze the game and shoots off his hip through the game.

The American co-commentators on beIN are generally very average though. Bordering on crazy, he generally sprinkles his commentary with references to orgasms and erections. Just last night during the El Clasico, Ray insinuated that the winner by Messi will give the Barca fans a prolonged orgasm.

Some of his ridiculous quotes include:
1) “I’m telling you man, this kid could be the best thing on two legs since Sophia Loren” – Comparing Bojan Krkic to Sophia Loren

2) “Like a happily married couple, Messi washes, Kun Aguero dries.”

3) “Barcelona were like a three pound chicken trying to lay a four pound egg …. Just constipated in front of goal.”

4) “Madrid’s defence has been stretched out like Spandex”

You definitely have a hard time listening to it for 90 minutes at a stretch, and I pity those who have to listen to him commentate every week, but give his commentary a listen on YouTube and you will be entertained! I doubt he would last too long in England, and I am surprised he does on this network, but it’s fun from time to time.

Anyone else have weird commentators from their neck of the woods?
Adway Biniwale


Watching football in Peru
After reading Mike (AVFC), London’s email regarding watching football in Hungary I was reminded about watching a match in Peru about 8 years ago. A friend and I were travelling around this fantastic country and thought we’d try and catch a game. As luck would have it Allianz Lima were taking on city rivals Sporting Cristal on the Saturday. After catching a taxi to the ground we paid about £10 each to sit in the posher bit of the stadium having decided that the Allianz fans looked properly bonkers.

I have no recollection whatsoever of the match, however it was without doubt the most memorable game I’ve ever been to. The Allianz fans behind the goal spent the entire game splitting in half, creating a huge gap between them, into which massive fireworks were thrown. After each bang they ran at each other and danced manically on the spot of the explosion. This continued regardless of the action on the pitch.

In the away end there were approximately 100 policeman who looked ready to sort out the trouble they were clearly expecting from the Sporting fans. For what-ever reason no Sporting fans turned up. This was until 10 minutes after kick-off when one fan walked into the away end dressed as a giant tooth. This bloke, I assume it was a bloke although the 8ft tooth outfit gave little away in regards to gender, then spent the remaining 80 minutes dancing in front of each policeman one at a time.

Sadly I didn’t get the chance to go to any more games in Peru, perhaps someone could let me know if this sort of thing is a common occurrence or whether the tooth dancing was a one off.
Will, CFC, London


An important question
I’m sorry but…are we all just ignoring Matteo Darmian’s tri-burns and pretending it’s not happening?
Jeremy Aves

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