Following weeks of Ibrox Noise complaining about Steven Gerrard’s blasting of players, much to the chagrin of some of our readers, we noted with interest his response to last night’s dramatic loss to the abysmal Spartak Moscow.
Now, bear in mind Gerrard’s men haven’t looked like they’ve been playing for him for some weeks now, with lethargic displays and general malaise – and we suggested his smearing of the players and castigating them every time they do something wrong is adding to the pressure they’re under.
In other words, they’re playing with fear, and aren’t willing to run through brick walls for their manager any more.
Hence, last night’s post-match comments were of great interest, and here’s what Stevie said:
“We are very disappointed with the result. I think you saw two sides of our performance today – I think we attacked very well and I thought we were very dangerous and countered very bravely and got our rewards for that to be in control of the game at half-time. But for me, football is about levels and if you don’t defend properly and you don’t do the basics well enough, high-level players and high-level teams normally punish you and that was the case tonight, so we are disappointed with the result. People who have had a lot of praise and have done really, really well to get us to this stage just didn’t do the basics well enough – we didn’t clear our lines at the right times. Normally, coming away to a place like this to get three goals, you at least expect to get a result. We should have had four goals, but that is another story. But we are bitterly disappointed with how we defended tonight.”
As has become the norm under Gerrard, he either infers players between the lines (in this case Tavernier, Goldson, Coulibaly and Flanagan) or directly names them and proceeds to brutalise them publicly.
Sorry guys, but I wouldn’t play my best football for a manager who won’t publicly back me when I make a mistake.
And yet the defence of these actions by those who smear our criticisms of Gerrard’s current methods is to say these are professional footballers, and they shouldn’t be mollycuddled.
So, is this now to endorse fully the repeated attacks on our players by our manager?
He signed these players, so by attacking them he’s also attacking his own act of signing them.
And none of this works in our heads.
Footballers will never bust a gut for a manager who doesn’t have their back. He can absolutely slaughter them in the dressing room and in private, but as soon as it’s made very public, they stop feeling supported by him.
And that’s the bottom line. Gerrard made the error of embarrassingly bigging up individual players earlier in the season – we were firmly against that (why single this player but not that one) but because results at the time were sort of ok we let it slide.
Now he’s going the other way – slaughtering them by name or inferring.
It will never work.