Former West Ham United goalkeeper turned pundit Robert Green has given a big clue into Steven Gerrard’s current struggles at Ibrox.
Speaking about Spurs’ appalling lack of confidence and dreadful form, the 40-year old made the point that manager Jose Mourinho made an error calling out Tanguy Ndombele after the midfielder’s poor domestic showings:
“They are on such a bad run of results, and that is not their only problem. You look at the players they have out and the manner of some of their performances – and their confidence is completely shot. On that note, it does not seem like a good idea for Mourinho to call out Tanguy Ndombele the way he did after Saturday’s draw with Burnley. It is certainly not going to help Ndombele and I am not sure modern-day players respond well to treatment like that.”
And when we translate that to Steven Gerrard, the number of times he’s picked on individual players this season at Ibrox when things haven’t gone well is, by force of logic, the problem Green is highlighting.
Like it or not, footballers are mostly mentally fragile now, and can’t handle criticism – so attacking them publicly, as Gerrard has with several this campaign, has a bad effect.
Is there any coincidence the domestic form is so poor now following around a year of scathing criticism of players when things don’t go well?
Gerrard likes to do honesty, and we get that, but the truth is he takes it too far at times and ends up smearing players when he should be keeping that stuff in-house. And then you have the hypocrisy that he always defends two of them – Goldson and Tavernier.
Green is right – modern footballers don’t respond well to being attacked. And their team mates don’t like it either because ‘if he slags him off for a bad match, what’ll he do to me’? Or the opposite – ‘why does he never give him the treatment he’s giving us?’.
There is no question domestically Rangers are not at the races any more. This three-month slump has had many causes for sure, and we may have a look at a few others in due course, but Gerrard has a bad habit of calling out players’ mistakes and weaknesses, and we suspect that is a major reason as to why his players don’t quite seem to be giving him everything domestically any more. Especially the immunity of two of those players to the same criticism.
If they won’t play for Jose (and they haven’t since he joined Real) what chance does Gerrard have?