What is the secret of human management in soccer? | Soccer

MAnage devises training sessions, develops complex tactical plans, manages millions of pounds of budget, answers challenging questions from the world’s media, and puts pressure on the club’s fan base. Still, some people are struggling when it comes to managing humans. why? Because the relationship is complicated.

Players have a unique personality shaped by their own upbringing, with ego and aides. The best managers find the right balance between being strict with players and being sensitive to their needs. “Changing different personalities is the hardest thing for management,” says former Brighton manager Mickey Adams, who promoted clubs one after another at the turn of the century.

“We need to know what drives them. Many managers are losing their jobs because they can’t build personal relationships. Understand and empathize with players’ feelings and weaknesses. Not only do they demand the highest standards.

“When I played, the manager showed up on my face and I didn’t mind saying I was shit. My reaction is:” I’m wrong with you Prove that you are and show you that I’m not. “It’s out of the game now because modern players need to enhance how good they are all the time. No matter what time you’re talking about, one thing hasn’t changed-you need the support of the character who runs the dressing room. Without them, you are in trouble. “

Characters are often leaders and winners. The manager uses a variety of techniques to activate the lieutenant. The arms around the shoulders were Harry Redknapp’s dependable approach. This makes sense for an amateur. You energize the players with compliments and give them restraint from the pitch as long as they provide it. Paolo di Canio, Rafael van der Vaart and Paul Merson were all maverick playmakers who benefited from this method.

During the 2002-03 season, Merson told Redup that he needed to check in at Tony Adams’ Sporting Chance Clinic on drinking and gambling issues, but instead flew to Barbados on vacation. Merson thought he had overcome it until he came across one of Redknapp’s best companions. Instead of punishing the captain, the Portsmouth manager closed his eyes. Merson scored 12 goals when the club won the league and was promoted to the Premier League. “I got tanned because I’m back – it was January,” says Merson. “He just got on it. He didn’t say a word about it and told me two years later.”

Paul Merson acting for Portsmouth during the 2002-03 promotional season. Photo: Mike Hewitt / Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp has cultivated almost religious dedication from his players by building very personal relationships. By being tactile and showing a real interest in their lives, he has built trust and connections that will help the team overcome catastrophic defeats in Major Finals and win the Champions League and Premier League. ..

One of the key players to these successes, Gini Winaldam, snubbed Tottenham in favor of Liverpool after chatting with Klopp. “I had a great conversation [Mauricio] Pochettino and Crop, “he said in 2016. “But at the meeting with Jürgen, we laughed and didn’t just talk about football. He was interested in my personal life and it was good for me. He was not only the football player Widinardum. , I was also interested in that person’s original dam.

“When you’re not on the football field, you need to communicate as a person. It’s good if you know what your opponent is doing. It makes things easy. All the training sessions we do It’s about improving you as a player. It’s different from what I’ve experienced before, I’m really happy with it. The manager gives you confidence. He gives you every time you make a mistake. Not a manager who yells or gets angry. He will get angry if you don’t do what you’re good at. “

Professor Sophia Jowett of Loughborough University distilled this approach into a framework entitled 3 + 1C: proximity, commitment, complementarity, and coordination. Wijnaldum’s account outlines personal information sharing (intimacy), rewarding training sessions (commitments), similar outlooks on life (complementarity and cooperation), and strong communication. After talking to a series of mentors and mentees, she develops a “positive, effective and harmonious” relationship in which these four elements can provide a “platform that can express weaknesses and needs and achieve goals and objectives.” I found it to produce.

And, in theory, Klopp’s hug is more than just choking the recipient. Oxytocin, the “embracing” or “loving” hormone, is released from the brain when people hug each other or socially connect with each other. When Klopp wraps his arm around the player, he activates soothing hormones in the body.

This is not useful for everyone. Looking at Steven Gerrard’s achievements under Rafael Benitez, he won the FA Cup and the Champions League and was selected as the player and writer’s soccer player of the year. It will be forgiven that they thought they were close. In fact, they were nothing. Gerrard says Benitez’s “coldness” brought out the best from him because he had “hunger” to get praise.

Jurgen Klopp gives a hug to Georginio Wijnaldam.
Jurgen Klopp gives a hug to Georginio Wijnaldam. Photo: John Powell / Liverpool FC / Getty

“You can pick up the phone and talk to all the former Liverpool managers except Rafa,” Gerrard wrote in his autobiography. “It’s a shame because we shared the 2005 Champions League victory in Istanbul, the biggest night of our career, but there’s no bond between us. At the basic human level, Gerard. I like good managers like Urie and Brendan Rodgers, but when it comes to football I really don’t care about working with a cold guy. Far away with no emotions like Rafa Benitez or Fabio Capello. Relationships can sometimes produce more success. “

Jon Stead experienced a similar approach from Mark Hughes when he worked with Blackburn in the 2004-05 season. Stead made a flying start at Ewood Park, scoring 6 goals in 13 games under Graeme Souness. Stead suffered when Souness was replaced by Hughes. “Mark Hughes wasn’t a nasty character, but I couldn’t read him,” Steed recalls.

“I need an open and honest manager. When I don’t know what they’re thinking or when I don’t get a direct answer, it comes to my mind and causes problems.” Hughes is Alex in the dressing room. I was observing Ferguson’s mind game in person, but it didn’t work if he tried to provoke a reaction from Sted. The striker played 36 games under Welshman and scored two goals.

Ferguson was far more successful in rattling the cage of his most talented and stubborn player. He directed a particular player to rant in the changing room to get up from the rest of the team. “I’ve always had a great relationship with my manager, but in most games I and my manager were with each other in half-time,” says Wayne Rooney. “He knew he was receiving messages from other players by doing it to me. He did it at Giggs as well. After every match, the manager walked towards the bus, It may slap the back of the head. That was his way of saying: “It’s over.”

Wayne Rooney and Alex Ferguson joking in 2005.
Wayne Rooney and Alex Ferguson joking in 2005. Photo: Christoph Ena / AP

Former Brighton boss Adams used a similar technique to motivate centre-back Danny Kalip while he was with him. “I turned my back on Danny and talked to the team and talked about the Defender,” Adams recalls. “I would say:” Listen to the boy, you can’t rely on these defenders, so we’ll have to score four goals here to win this game. “I Insulted him without conflict, but he was digesting it when I chose him, and it would really excite him. “

Ignoring key members of the team is one of many tactics used by Jose Mourinho. John Terry received a mixed message from the manager. Mourinho generously praised the captain and made him feel “10 feet tall”, but when Terry was injured, the manager left him blank and worked hard to help Terry get back on the pitch faster. I urged you.

“If you picked up a knock and missed a day’s training, he came in and didn’t talk to you. He was walking straight past the table,” Terry said. “You are sitting there and you are the captain of a football club. And you are looking for a high five with a lighting technician-and you don’t get it, he blanks you. You While he is there, he tells the physiotherapist, and the physiotherapist goes: “a few days.” And he would just have gone out. He provoked me and pressed my button. “

Benitez, Ferguson and Mourinho’s approaches are all different, but they are all designed for the same purpose, says sports psychologist Dan Abrahams. “They create an environment of high challenges and high expectations,” explains Abraham, who works with Premier League players and the England rugby union team.

“By its very nature, high challenges can create a culture of conflict, which is certainly the case when looking at some of Mourinho’s careers. They tell the team:’This is the game plan and my philosophy. You either do it or not. If not, you’re out. ”This is a risky approach for today’s players. You may be exhausted after a few years. It is very difficult to be both high challenge and high support. The sweet spot is between the two. By working with Eddie Jones and Rugby in England, I know he had to soften his approach to help him understand the individual needs of each person. “

Talent within the team plays an important role in the success of the manager, but decisively, the ability to win the player’s commitment unleashes the team’s potential. There is no blueprint for building a perfect bond. Each player-manager relationship requires a customized plan, yet external influences can interfere with the configuration.

To ensure long-term success, managers need to be flexible and adapt to the changing attitudes of society, but this does not necessarily guarantee long-term relationships. Conflicts are inevitable given what is at stake (three points, huge amount of money, personal reputation). Not all high five and trophy presentations. The strength of these bonds can lead to burnout. In that sense, they are more like marriage than friendship. You may not always like each other, but you need an understanding and commitment to the causes beyond the self-serving agenda.

But, as Adams explains, the best players are willing to enter this marriage if you bring them success. “Don’t think everyone likes a manager because it’s not how it works,” he says. “Players have to believe in you and believe that what you are doing will produce results. I had four promotions so I understood it correctly somewhere No doubt. Did they like me now? I don’t know if they did. But I guarantee they respected me. “

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