The Special Ones (manager talk)

rguilmar

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I’m not shocked by this at all. He’s indicated within the last week or so that he would step down if the team was not reaching their goals. Back to back losses eliminated them from the Copa del Rey and for all intents and purposes La Liga. Barcelona is a mess and I’m not sure who deserves the blame. They’ve mortgaged their future to bring in players who just are not performing. I don’t know how much say Xavi had in those decisions.

What I do know is that Barca have not looked good in a long time and that Xavi would be the first to admit that he’s unhappy with the performances. The pressures at the club are immense though. He won La Liga last season and was criticized for the way the team played (too many 1-0 wins, record breaking defense). It’s not good enough to win, Barca have to look good doing it. This season they have attacked more but have conceded quite a lot of goals- Rafa’s “short blanket” theory in practice. Barcelona is too big of a club to have a short blanket though. Barcelona under Pep was arguably the greatest team ever, but even he only lasted four seasons. At the end, he was emotionally breaking down.

Unspoken here is the pressure of being a Catalan manager of the de facto Catalan national team. At least Pep had a team loaded with Catalans- Pique, Puyol, Valdés, Busi, Cesc, Xavi himself etc. Politically speaking, the issue of Catalan independence is dormant now compared to a decade ago (it’s noticeable how few senyeras fly on the balconies of the city now), but Catalan identity and Barca’s connection to it is still strong. That’s the pressure that was breaking Pep and broke Xavi. Xavi leads a team loaded with non-Catalans with the exception of Serge Roberto and young Lamine Yamal and a couple of young debutants this season (I’ll let Zoso correct me here if I’m missing someone) so he is shouldering even more of the pressure than Pep did. It’s too much for one man to handle, even in the best times like the Pep years.

I went on Wiki to look at Barca's manager history, and aside from Enrique, LVG, Pep and Cruyff, no one had successful 3-season run. Perhaps Barca is overrated outside of those men
I mean, that feels just about right, doesn’t it? With Klopp stepping down, Liverpool have had four managers of note that everyone can list. Barca are fifth in terms of Champions League titles with 5 and seem more likely to move up the list than down it (sixth is Ajax with 4 then Man U and Inter with 3). Tito Vilanova was well positioned for a great run too but cancer cut his managerial career short. Rijkaard probably deserves to be on the list because he lasted five(ish) seasons, won the Champions League and a couple of La Ligas when it wasn’t just 2.5 teams with a chance, the team was entertaining with Ronaldinho leading the way, and some young Argentine lad getting his first games.
 

fletcherpost

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looking like Roy Hodgson might be getting the sack. It was covered on Talksport this morning by Alex Crook, their chief football correspondent. Now the BBC running with it.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/68303964

Crystal Palace are set to sack manager Roy Hodgson, with former Eintracht Frankfurt boss Oliver Glasner a strong favourite to take the job.
The Eagles are currently 15th in the Premier League table and are five points above the relegation zone.
Hodgson was due at a news conference on Thursday, but Palace cancelled it, saying he was "taken ill during this morning's training session".
Let's see how this plays out.

Edit: Some nice and perceptive words from Kevin Day.
Crystal Palace fan and comedian Kevin Day on BBC Radio 5 Live: "Every Palace fan will acknowledge what Roy has done for us in the past and what Roy Hodgson's done for football. I interviewed him for nearly two hours before Christmas, for a Palace podcast and he was brilliant.
"He's articulate, he's intelligent, he's clever, he's witty but it's clear to me and to everyone else involved in the industry that he's disillusioned with modern football. With each game that goes by, afterwards, it's the things he says after the games that kind of make you wonder whether his heart's in it."
 

Vinho Tinto

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the1andonly3003

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looking like Roy Hodgson might be getting the sack. It was covered on Talksport this morning by Alex Crook, their chief football correspondent. Now the BBC running with it.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/68303964



Let's see how this plays out.

Edit: Some nice and perceptive words from Kevin Day.
Any correlation to falling ill today?
https://x.com/SkySportsPL/status/1758175040292442207?s=20

A bit suspicious. Did they tell him he was gone and still had to run training and manage the next game? Stress related?
 

OCST

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FYI, this Hodgson story is one I'd ordinarily be chatting about in here. I'm posting only to let youze know that I'm giving up social media for Lent, so you will be forced to spend (now 39) days and nights wandering in the proverbial desert, ie perusing SoSH without the benefit of my boisterous always on-point and ITK commentary. See you after Easter.
 

fletcherpost

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rguilmar

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Klopp, Xavi, and now Tuchel are all going lame duck. I find the arrangement weird, especially at Barcelona and Bayern. Maybe just relieves the pressure on the managers a touch?
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Tuchel is worse than Mourinho in terms of developing bad relationships and leaving clubs quickly. He has now been at four big clubs since Mainz and his longest stint was 2.5 seasons at PSG.
 

SocrManiac

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I have absolutely zero reason to believe this outside of my gut, but it feels like announcing Tuchel's departure in this manner means Bayern have the inside track on Xabi.
 

wonderland

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Klopp, Xavi, and now Tuchel are all going lame duck. I find the arrangement weird, especially at Barcelona and Bayern. Maybe just relieves the pressure on the managers a touch?
The Klopp announcement made sense to me. Try to squeeze that extra one or two percent out of the players to send him out on top. Xavi is a club legend so I get that it allows for better planning. I’m very surprised Bayern kept Tuchel. They’ve been playing poor lately.
 

67YAZ

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I have absolutely zero reason to believe this outside of my gut, but it feels like announcing Tuchel's departure in this manner means Bayern have the inside track on Xabi.
I’m already annoyed that the Liverpool-sphere are all in on Xabi & will throw a full on tantrum if he’s not the next manager. It’ll be Jude redux.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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The Klopp announcement made sense to me. Try to squeeze that extra one or two percent out of the players to send him out on top. Xavi is a club legend so I get that it allows for better planning. I’m very surprised Bayern kept Tuchel. They’ve been playing poor lately.
My guess is that they couldn't find an interim manager who would do a better job and just wanted to end speculation about him getting sacked.

As for Xabi Alonso, who knows...I think I would still bet on Liverpool over Bayern just due to the oddity and hard feelings involved in switching within the Bundesliga after the season Leverkusen are having. But I wouldn't completely rule out staying at Leverkusen another year and waiting for Real Madrid. Although they just extended Carlo until 2026, I don't necessarily see Florentino as being committed to him that long. Real Madrid is clearly the best of the three choices in terms of giving you a platform to win the CL for a 2-3 year span.
 

PedroisGod

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My guess is that they couldn't find an interim manager who would do a better job and just wanted to end speculation about him getting sacked.

As for Xabi Alonso, who knows...I think I would still bet on Liverpool over Bayern just due to the oddity and hard feelings involved in switching within the Bundesliga after the season Leverkusen are having. But I wouldn't completely rule out staying at Leverkusen another year and waiting for Real Madrid. Although they just extended Carlo until 2026, I don't necessarily see Florentino as being committed to him that long. Real Madrid is clearly the best of the three choices in terms of giving you a platform to win the CL for a 2-3 year span.
That's exactly what it was. Hansi Flick was really the only interim option and apparently he's not interested in only managing until the summer, and there are some like Uli Hoeneß who aren't convinced of Flick anyways.

I don't see there being any way that Xabi stays at Leverkusen. Apparently he has a release clause in his Leverkusen contract that is valid for Bayern, Liverpool, and Real Madrid. That's not the sort of thing you do if you don't plan on taking one of those jobs if it becomes available.

I think Bayern has the inside track here. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has apparently been staying in touch with Xabi since 2017, and Bayern just appointed Max Eberl to their board. Eberl had a deal with Xabi to manage Gladbach when he was there, so there's history between the two of them as well.

I also think that the success he had with Leverkusen makes it even likelier he would want to stay in the Bundesliga for familiarity. As well, I'd rather take over for a guy who was pretty much a trainwreck as opposed to being the guy who has to take over for a legend.
 

Zososoxfan

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Klopp, Xavi, and now Tuchel are all going lame duck. I find the arrangement weird, especially at Barcelona and Bayern. Maybe just relieves the pressure on the managers a touch?
That's what Xavi himself said. The better Barca blog I read said this puts this magnifying glass back on Laporta and mgmt.

I’m already annoyed that the Liverpool-sphere are all in on Xabi & will throw a full on tantrum if he’s not the next manager. It’ll be Jude redux.
I didn't consider this, and now I'm already annoyed by it too, thanks.

That's exactly what it was. Hansi Flick was really the only interim option and apparently he's not interested in only managing until the summer, and there are some like Uli Hoeneß who aren't convinced of Flick anyways.

I don't see there being any way that Xabi stays at Leverkusen. Apparently he has a release clause in his Leverkusen contract that is valid for Bayern, Liverpool, and Real Madrid. That's not the sort of thing you do if you don't plan on taking one of those jobs if it becomes available.

I think Bayern has the inside track here. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has apparently been staying in touch with Xabi since 2017, and Bayern just appointed Max Eberl to their board. Eberl had a deal with Xabi to manage Gladbach when he was there, so there's history between the two of them as well.

I also think that the success he had with Leverkusen makes it even likelier he would want to stay in the Bundesliga for familiarity. As well, I'd rather take over for a guy who was pretty much a trainwreck as opposed to being the guy who has to take over for a legend.
The one shout for Liverpool (I think) over the other 2 is the amount of control they'll give him and the relative sanity of the owners. They let Kloppo build a project, that's not happening in Munchen or Madrid.

Assuming Mbappe goes, I'd also say that Madrid probably has the best squad. I think Madrid is the most important to him (being Spanish) but that doesn't mean other factors won't take him elsewhere. Bayern usually has the easiest path to winning the domestic league, but maybe Madrid is entering a period of sustained domestic league success, while Bayern's taking a step back on that front. Both are going to be favorites for UCL every year. Liverpool presents a much more crowded top of the table domestically, where even qualifying for UCL isn't a given.
 

PedroisGod

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The one shout for Liverpool (I think) over the other 2 is the amount of control they'll give him and the relative sanity of the owners. They let Kloppo build a project, that's not happening in Munchen or Madrid.

Assuming Mbappe goes, I'd also say that Madrid probably has the best squad. I think Madrid is the most important to him (being Spanish) but that doesn't mean other factors won't take him elsewhere. Bayern usually has the easiest path to winning the domestic league, but maybe Madrid is entering a period of sustained domestic league success, while Bayern's taking a step back on that front. Both are going to be favorites for UCL every year. Liverpool presents a much more crowded top of the table domestically, where even qualifying for UCL isn't a given.
You bring up a good point that I hadn't considered. As somebody who is obviously familiar with FSG's frugality, I thought there was no way they would win a bidding war with Bayern for Xabi. I still do think that. But I didn't consider that their hands off approach would give Xabi freedom that there's no way he'd have with Bayern's meddlesome board.

That's also a good point about the UCL. He'd have a much more likely path to UCL qualification with Bayern or Real.

I don't see Bayern taking too much of a step back domestically. They're still in second place, and that's with just about everything going poorly. If they happened to get Xabi from Leverkusen, then I would be pretty certain that Bayern would return to the top of the table next season.
 

67YAZ

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An educated guess - Moyes might be holding out for more formal authority vis a vis technical director Tim Steiden.

Rumor has it that Steiden and Moyes were at odds during the winter window - the former wanting to replace attacking players with like transfers while Moyes was after defensive recruits. Plus there’s rumblings that Liverpool have checked in on Steiden’s interest.

May well be that ownership want to keep both, but each of the guys want to clarity/enhance/formalize their authority. And Steiden might be trying to play up Liverpool interest to combat Moyes’ efforts.
 

Dummy Hoy

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I feel like we’ve probably discussed this before but man is there a dearth of quality British head coaches.

You’re all going to be sick of hearing how Kieran McKenna is Christ-like soon enough, but him aside we’re looking at who- Howe, Rob Edwards, Dyche? Moyes?
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I feel like we’ve probably discussed this before but man is there a dearth of quality British head coaches.

You’re all going to be sick of hearing how Kieran McKenna is Christ-like soon enough, but him aside we’re looking at who- Howe, Rob Edwards, Dyche? Moyes?
Gary O'Neil has quietly done a very nice job at both Bournemouth and Wolves. Potter is a good manager who got a raw deal at Chelsea.

But if we're talking really top bracket managers, its pretty barren.
 

Dummy Hoy

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Gary O'Neil has quietly done a very nice job at both Bournemouth and Wolves. Potter is a good manager who got a raw deal at Chelsea.

But if we're talking really top bracket managers, its pretty barren.
Good call on O’Neil…he’s been low key solid. Not elite by any means.

I should have included Potter- I always thought highly of him but he looked so broken by the end of his tenure at Chelsea (and Brighton has continued to thrive), that he’s got some proving to do
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Howe is underrated I think. He stayed long enough at Bournemouth for the inevitable financial destiny to catch up with them, and people give him limited credit for Newcastle because of the whole Saudi circumstance, but a commonality with both spots is that he did a ton of good work improving players who were already there.
 

the1andonly3003

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Jose Mourinho: How I changed football in 20 years - and why I'm not done yet (telegraph.co.uk)

“In my time, it was not a magic strategy,” he says, “and I won at Manchester City a few times. But it was not an amazing strategy. It was a defensive game. Park the bus. Park the double bus. It was a different perspective...His Arteta point comes amid a wider thesis that has occurred to him in the last 12 months: that soon a leading manager chasing a game will substitute his goalkeeper for an 11th outfield player. The laws of the game will oblige the substitute to wear the goalkeeper shirt – gloves are optional - but he will play as an extra outfield player contributing to the attack. ”
Late match 2-2-1-6 formation?

He is frustrated about how he is perceived. When I ask him if clubs are perhaps a bit scared of appointing him he reels off a list of some of his big-hitting former bosses: Peter Kenyon, Massimo Moratti, Florentino Perez, as well as the former Porto president Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa. “It’s a pity,” he says, “they [any potential new employer] can’t speak to them.”
“My relationship with [former chief executive] Ed Woodward was good. Good as in the personal point of view. Even now we send an SMS. But from a professional point of view it was not the best. I am who I am. I am a football man. Ed comes from a different background and what Ten Hag has in his time at Manchester United I didn’t have. I didn’t have that level of support. I didn’t have that level of trust. So I left sad, because I felt I was in the beginning of the process. In some moments, I felt if they trusted me and believed in my experience things could be different. There are still a couple of players still there I didn’t want five or six years ago. I think they represent a little bit what I consider not the best professional profile to a club of a certain dimension. But I did my job there. Time always tells the truth. I would love Manchester United to succeed.”
Certainly Ed Woodward is not on that list of former bosses that he named! Or Daniel Levy
 

rguilmar

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Lopetgui in, Moyes out
https://x.com/WestHam/status/1787527908967215570

A season after bringing them their first European trophy, and replacing Rice with JWP, they get rid of Moyes. They didn't even give him a proper striker.
I’ve always been a big Lopetegui fan, thought he was tremendous at Sevilla and for Spain, but it definitely seems like a portion of the West Ham faithful have been pushing for Moyes out.

I still want Lope instead of GGG for the USMNT but that ship has sailed.
 

Vinho Tinto

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I noticed that Sven-Göran Eriksson was welcomed at the Estadio da Luz a few weeks ago. They had Benfica players there that he managed to pay honor to him. Looked older and chubbier, but who doesn't? Sampdoria did something similar this weekend. Started to get worried, so looked up his wiki. Sure enough, he's got pancreatic cancer
 
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Cellar-Door

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Lopetegui in, Moyes out
https://x.com/WestHam/status/1787527908967215570

A season after bringing them their first European trophy, and replacing Rice with JWP, they get rid of Moyes. They didn't even give him a proper striker.
It was time for Moyes to go. He should get plaudits for the European run last season, but this has been a dismal side for more than a year, and his transfer business and refusal to play younger players is a major reason. JWP was his choice, and particularly they gave him Phillips (allegedly over Steiden's objections) in the winter window. Moyes also allegedly was the one who insisted that a number of older players be kept and didn't want the young attacking players he was offerred, only signing off on Alvarez (allegedly the compromise to keep Steiden from quitting was that he could bring in Kudus).

West Ham have been one of the largest net spenders over Moyes' entire tenure, the flaws in the squad aren't because he "Wasn't given" anything, but rather he dawdles and dickers and places a massive weight on previous PL success (hence Danny Ings, Kalvin Phillips, JWP, etc.). He's been a barrier to continued improvement, it's smart to let him go and build a real structure around the DoF.
 

OCST

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Good call on O’Neil…he’s been low key solid. Not elite by any means.

I should have included Potter- I always thought highly of him but he looked so broken by the end of his tenure at Chelsea (and Brighton has continued to thrive), that he’s got some proving to do
actually not so much.

They’re 11th, on 47 points, behind WH and Bournemouth, just ahead of Wolves and Fulham.

Or put differently, if you gave Everton back their points they’d be only two points behind Brighton, and level on wins on the season (12).

Yes, the curse of Europe, injuries, etc. but the fact is that Brighton have been pretty much crap forva while now.
 

the1andonly3003

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actually not so much.

They’re 11th, on 47 points, behind WH and Bournemouth, just ahead of Wolves and Fulham.

Or put differently, if you gave Everton back their points they’d be only two points behind Brighton, and level on wins on the season (12).

Yes, the curse of Europe, injuries, etc. but the fact is that Brighton have been pretty much crap forva while now.
all went downhill once they lost Mitoma
 

Dummy Hoy

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actually not so much.

They’re 11th, on 47 points, behind WH and Bournemouth, just ahead of Wolves and Fulham.

Or put differently, if you gave Everton back their points they’d be only two points behind Brighton, and level on wins on the season (12).

Yes, the curse of Europe, injuries, etc. but the fact is that Brighton have been pretty much crap forva while now.
I think Brighton was playing quite well under De Zerbi, certainly last season, but some injuries this year and what sounds like a difference in long term vision between Bloom and De Zerbi has led De Zerbi to get a wandering eye...and no team is going to excel with that. It's also possible he got found out a bit, I don't know. That said, are they really crap?

Brighton is solidly mid-table (win their game in hand and they are ahead of West Ham and Bournemouth)...where do we expect them to be? If you told ANYONE 10 years ago that Brighton would be a consistent mid-table to European place challenger, they'd think you were nuts. Potter left, Bloom replaced him, and Brighton promptly had their highest finish ever in the Premiership. This year hasn't been as good, but I'd be shocked if De Zerbi's replacement isn't someone capable who keeps them there.

I think Potter is quite good, but he was clearly replaceable at Brighton and then somewhat shat himself on the biggest stage (biggest thing that was his fault was going to Chelsea in the first place).
 

SoxFanInCali

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I noticed that Sven-Göran Eriksson was welcomed at the Estadio da Luz a few weeks ago. They had Benfica players there that he managed to pay honor to him. Looked older and chubbier, but doesn't? Sampdoria did something similar this weekend. Started to get worried, so looked up his wiki. Sure enough, he's got pancreatic cancer
Yeah, he's not expected to have much time left.

He had made a comment at some point that he was a longtime Liverpool fan and had dreamed about managing them, so Liverpool invited him to manage the Legends side at a charity match against Ajax Legends a couple of months ago.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qebh-2Qv3DM
 

Vinho Tinto

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Yeah, he's not expected to have much time left.

He had made a comment at some point that he was a longtime Liverpool fan and had dreamed about managing them, so Liverpool invited him to manage the Legends side at a charity match against Ajax Legends a couple of months ago.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qebh-2Qv3DM
Thank you for sharing that. That was a great gesture for LFC to offer him. Hopefully, no one gave him grief about not choosing Gerrard over Lampard :)
 

rguilmar

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Gotta give some respect to Unai Emery. I did question his move of dropping a Real by moving from Villarreal to Villa. At the time, Villarreal were coming off a Champions League semifinal run, knocking off Juve and Bayern along the way. The club has a solid management structure and give managers a long leash. They are a club that develops youngsters and sells them on, though, including sales Nico Jackson, Samu Chukeweze, and Pau Torres (who joined Emery at Villa) from that squad. Aston Villa were sitting 16th and were looking every bit as bad a a relegation threatened club. They had won just two of eleven matches.

Now Villa are in the Champions League. Not bad.
 

67YAZ

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In a shock move, Pep to Red Bull!

Er..Lijnders to Salzburg that is.

Philopshy-wise it’s a great fit - the tactics, the approach to player management, and working with youth. But Pep has yet to find his footing as the lead man. Big opportunity for him.

And it’s another tie between Liverpool and RB. They’ve done business together pretty regularly in recent years, this looks to continue to good relationship.

https://twitter.com/lfc/status/1790716272180699437?s=46&t=GfuLFvTYcOxcFiCZjyIYZw
 

Dummy Hoy

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Gotta give some respect to Unai Emery. I did question his move of dropping a Real by moving from Villarreal to Villa. At the time, Villarreal were coming off a Champions League semifinal run, knocking off Juve and Bayern along the way. The club has a solid management structure and give managers a long leash. They are a club that develops youngsters and sells them on, though, including sales Nico Jackson, Samu Chukeweze, and Pau Torres (who joined Emery at Villa) from that squad. Aston Villa were sitting 16th and were looking every bit as bad a a relegation threatened club. They had won just two of eleven matches.

Now Villa are in the Champions League. Not bad.
so funny, I was just coming here to post something about Emery. I think you’re spot on, and I really wonder if Emery shouldn’t be considered an elite manager if he isn’t already. Curious to see how they do next year, but I imagine you count on one hand the number of managers in the world you’d rather have right now.