Sunday, 4 April 2010

Football managers about to be sacked always take off the wrong player

My team has had a string of bad managers over the past 12 years, and I have learnt to spot the signs of a manager who has lost it.  The clearest sign is when the substitution policy of you manager makes sense to the manager only and nobody else.  Time after time I have seen a manager take off our best player, only to replace him with somebody who is at best an average journeyman, at worst a complete waste of space.  Normally, withing a month or two that manager has gone.

The reason I am raising is this is that I was listening to thr Birmingham City vs Liverpool match today.  It was poised at 1-1 in a game that Liverpool had to win, but were finding it difficult to break down a determined and skillfull Birmingham City.  There was approximately 25 minutes left, and Liverpool's subsitutes were warming up, clearly a change was about to be made.  The pundits were discussing who would come off, perhaps Benayoun for Aquilani, or a defender for an attacker.

I knew instinctively who would come off, because this is what happens when your manager has lost the plot.  "I bet he takes Torres off", I said to myself.

Sure enough, he dragged off a fuming Torres and replaced him with Ngog.  Torres actually shook his head at the manager as he came off,  and sat there fuming under his bench coat.  Why take off your best player in a match you have to win?  Perhaps he was injured, but he didn't look it.  The only real reason for taking him off was that Benitez is now in that zone that all managers get to before they are sacked, he has started seeing things that only he can see, and started making decisions that only he thinks make any sense.

Ngog naturally missed a couple of sitters and Liverpool dropped two points.

Taking Torres off was Benitez big decision in this game, and it was the decision of a man who has almost finished his time at the club