Graeme Souness knows his days are numbered. And it’s his own fault. His extremely negative attitude the past few weeks when answering questions from the press has had a detrimental effect on the team’s play.
He’s been clutching on to the injury excuse for a while now, but the fact remains that Newcastle’s performance since last summer has been very lacking.
Contrast this with Rafa Benitez. In January of last year, Florent Sinama-Pongolle became the 11th first-team player to suffer a long-term injury at Anfield that season following problems for Cisse, Chris Kirkland, Milan Baros, Xabi Alonso, Harry Kewell, Vladimir Smicer, Luis Garcia, Steven Gerrard, Antonion Nunez, Steve Finnan and Josemi.
What was Benitez’s reaction to the injury pileup?
In the November 28th, 2004 edition of The Guardian newspaper, he said: “If you lose your two main strikers, all the other things change. Only time can sort that out, and hard work. If you are working properly, normally you will win, but if you have problems it might take time. I cannot promise we will win the next match, or the match after that, but I can make sure we are properly prepared.”
And how did his captain Steven Gerrard respond in the same article? “Things are difficult for us now, so we’ve got to show some courage. You either go hiding or you show a bit of character. The manager is the same. He’s been really unlucky with injuries, but he’s told us not to think about them. He’s not looking for excuses.”
Liverpool, of course, shrugged off their injuries and went on to win the Champions League. It just goes to show what a positive attitude and drive can have on a team — and it starts at the top.