Well, I had to check a couple of times that I’d read the paper right on Sunday morning such was the surprise that I viewed Carlo Ancelotti’s comments about Chelsea’s shock defeat at the D.W Stadium. Perhaps it was the shock at playing at one of the worst named grounds in England, but either way it was so refreshing to hear one of the big four managers actually not try and wash over the event.
There is one thing that incenses me when I listen to post match comments and that’s when a manager blames everyone else but themselves for a defeat. The prime example of this idiotic line of defensive commentary is Neil Warnock. I have never, ever heard him in a post match interview admit his side were beaten by a better team. Never. In nearly twenty years of listening to him whine, he has never lost a game to a better team.
He whined at Notts County, he whined at Huddersfield Town, at Oldham, at Plymouth and it was everyone else’s fault at Sheffield United. It was always the referee, or the opposition cheated or anything but face the fact that he’d got it wrong. Again, time after time and it became simply pathetic.The main reason Sheffield United were relegated was that the manager bought badly, played too defensively away from home and paid the price. Of course West Ham United cheated, but if he’d got anything about him, United wouldn’ t have been in that position.
Ferguson last season after Liverpool had absolutely ripped Manchester United to pieces at Old Trafford with a 4-1 win was in danger of being sectioned after his summary. “I thought the best team lost” he countered. Really? Honestly? Seriously? Liverpool absolutely tonked United that day, no question about it. To say anything else simply made Ferguson seem silly.
So thank you Carlo Ancelotti for coming out and saying it like it is. Wigan were immense on Saturday, they really were and Chelsea were completely out of sorts all match. It was like a performance under Phil Scolari rather than the exuberant style of play Ancelotti has managed to stamp on Chelsea so soon in his managerial career at Stamford Bridge. I doubt however that Chelsea fans need worry about a return to those days. It was simply a bad day at the office. Nothing more, nothing less and the manager recognised it as such.
By stating he didn’t know what had gone wrong, he showed a new side to the fans. He picked the best team, gave them the tactics and they couldn’t put it in to place. It happens. Of course the sending off didn’t help, even though I thought it was a little harsh, but it certainly was a penalty. He didn’t even dispute that decision. Astounding. Football managers do not do this kind of thing, but I wished more of them did. It gives them kudos for being honest rather than the usual defending terrible displays with criticism of the officials. It makes them seem more real, more unbiased and more like the viewer.
Sometimes post match comments are so insipid, so bland that it makes you want to throw something at the screen. The banality of some footballers and managers post match comment could put an insomniac to sleep. One former Premiership manager’s inability to talk without using the word yerknow every four words simply made him sound dreadful, but I doubt anyone will give him another chance for quite a while.
Ancelotti really has impressed me since he arrived at Stamford Bridge and Saturdays humble and erudite summary of the game coupled with his honesty makes me appreciate him even more. I won’t hold my breath for the others to follow suit though but more’s the shame because of it. It really makes a refreshing change and shows they are human after all.