Are managers under too much pressure?

Are managers under too much pressure?

All football fans like to think we could manage our club, shouting advice from the stands, but do we need to show the men who really do make the key decisions more respect?

Before Liverpool dramatically claimed all three points against arch rivals Manchester United, Rafael Benitez was coming under increasing pressure after just nine Premier League games. A few days earlier a Middlesbrough win had failed to keep Gareth Southgate in a job, Steve Gibson firing the Boro boss despite being just one point off the Championship summit.
Let’s consider the plight of Benitez first. He’s brought them domestic and European success since his arrival at the club and despite never winning the Premier League title, and Kenny Daglish is the only Liverpool manager who boasts a better record over the first 200 games in charge. Yet after a sloppy run of form at the start of this campaign the Spaniard saw the security of his job a topic up for debate.

Phil McNulty, the BBC’s chief football writer, believes that the Liverpool boss was never under any immediate danger of losing his job, despite the rumours in the press: “He had been strongly supported by senior figures at Liverpool, such as co-owner George Gillett and managing director Christian Purslow, as well as Kenny Dalglish. Of course if Liverpool had lost to United, it would have increased the sense of unease and made the need for an improvement even more acute, but it would not have cost him his job.”

Whether you think that support is justified, and I happen to think the acrimony towards Hicks and Gillett has meant some of Benitez’s shortcomings have been ignored, it is there in numbers. You must remember Benitez has signed a very lucrative long-term contract not so long ago.”

Meanwhile Gareth Southgate became the latest manager to lose his job this season, after Gibson decided Southgate wasn’t the man to lead Middlesbrough back to the top flight. Jeff Brown, the current anchorman for BBC Look North in the North East and Cumbria, has criticised the timing of the announcement. “I was surprised by the timing of it. I wouldn’t have been surprised [if he had been sacked]at the end of last season, it was an obvious cut off point for a new manager to come in for a different division. If anything, I thought it was more likely to have been the other way round, with Gareth leaving [voluntarily]. He’s a very honest guy.

I’m not surprised that he is devastated by the decision, having dealt with him as a player and as a manager he is one of the nicest and most eloquent people in football.”

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