Mourhino Zidane Dyche

(BBC Sport/Burnley Express)

The post-match interviews of Mourhino, Zidane and Dyche offer a window on managerial leadership and communication styles. Held to a 2-2 away draw with Leicester City, when interviewed for the BBC, Manchester United boss Jose Mourhino looked a picture of passive-aggressive rage (click here). In comparison, Burnley Manager Sean Dyche having taken a 0-3 humping by Tottenham at home looked a veritable bubble of positivity (click here). 

Ok, you can argue that Mourhino is watching the title race slip through his fingers as Man City widen their lead to what one twitter account called a ‘chasm’ (see OptaJoe). But really? Calling your players ‘immature’ and ‘childish’? Is that really how you draw your players together? Yes, I can understand that he is frustrated. Yes, I can even understand he is under a great deal of pressure. Yes, I can even understand that he is worried for his job – Man Utd fans aren’t known for ther patience. However, to attack your players is quite simply poor management. 

Let’s be honest, every team, even the greats, have an off day. Real’s El Clasico performance yesterday was a case in point. Apart from their first 15 minutes, it was a bit like watching some workies having a kick about on their tea break. They weren’t exactly sparkling and whilst that slow, steady tempo suited Barca’s style, it sucked the life out of Real. But what did Zinadine Zidane say? (click here) “I’m here to make decisions. If we had scored in the first half, things would have been different. I take responsibility. Everyone seems to think that La Liga is done and dusted but I don’t think that it is”. Zidane didn’t pass the buck to the players, yet arguably Bale had a decent chance at goal, Ronaldo seemed to be doing a weird mix of air football and riverdance, and then there was the weird ‘it’s behind you’ panto scrabble in the net. Zidane had much he could comment on. He didn’t. He took the blame, dug deep and demonstrated mental resilience. 

And Sean Dyche what did he have to say about Burnley? He said that his team were ‘maturing’. He didn’t moan or whine about missed chances. He made a brave, accurate evaluation of his team’s capability versus Tottenham and said that Tottenham were simply the better team. He was clearly disappointed but not defeated. His faith in his boys shone clear. Yes, he knew there were chances that could have changed things, but he didn’t focus on them. Folks, here’s news for you there will be decisions that go against you, that’s football. It’s like the fish that got away – it ain’t on your plate, so stop banging on about it, 

The point of all of this is how it impacts on the energy and self-belief of the team. When the guy* in charge is panning you to the press, this does nothing to instill confidence: in him; in each other. It’s at those times when the poop is hitting the fan, that the Manager has to put on the big boy pants and take the rap for performance. He has to be the one that exudes the belief in their players. He needs to be the one that doesn’t lose the faith or the plot. Frankly, Mourhino’s Grinch act is helping no-one. If his mind is too fixated on title races (not yet won), silverware (not yet in the display cabinet) and not on what is happening right now, the more angry and disappointed he’s going to be when things go wrong. The result of this? His players’ performance suffers because the atmosphere on the training ground is stressed. And the real tragedy is that the Manager loses the opportuntity for his team to grow, evolve and strengthen in the face of adversity simply because he has not got his head in the game but in fantasies of plaudits not yet won. 

*Lady Managers this all applies equally to you

Source: BBC Sport

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