Thursday, October 21, 2010

Quotable Evidences Of Roy Hodgson's Small-Club Mentality

Through his first 15 matches with Liverpool,  Roy Hodgson has come across as a considerate, media friendly and very much the elder statesman that the board at Liverpool would have hoped. His amicable English nature is a sharp contrast to the more arrogant and abrasive Benitez. After saying and expressing all the right words prior to the start of the 2010/11 Premier League season, his tactical plan, match decisions and overall management ability are being questioned.

The Reds are languishing 2nd from bottom, looking low on confidence and motivation. Much of this poor form must be attributed to Uncle Roy and his post-match interviews expose him as clearly a manager with a small-club mentality. Just like what Paul Tomkins and the rest of Liverpool fans have been suggesting.

His statements post-match have been low-key, bizarrely respectful to the opposition and definitely lacking the substance befitting a manager of a legendary club like Liverpool. Though I was happy Rafa was made to leave, Hodgson is making me think again of my misgivings about Benitez!

Here are quotes from every Premier League match this season, where he has either been much too contented with a draw or has afforded irrational respect to lesser opponents.

After the Arsenal opening game 1-1, Uncle Roy's comments were,
"I thought it was a fantastic effort but points are hard to come by in this league, so when you get so close you can't avoid that feeling of disappointment. Maybe that second-half performance deserved all three and not just one, but if someone had said at half-time you'll defend well and get a 0-0 or 1-1 I would probably have accepted that."
Hodgson quite clearly still thinks he is at Fulham where a score draw against Arsenal at home would have been a celebrated result.

Post-Man City 3-0 defeat, Hodgson said,
''We were a bit unlucky to get beaten so heavily. I thought we had one or two good spells in the game."
Unlucky? One or two good spells in the game? Hmmm....apart from the Hart double-save, Liverpool were largely anonymous.

When Reina saved Liverpool's blushes at Birmingham,
"It was a good performance from the Birmingham team but I was not that disappointed with our performance either. We kept to our task well. It is early days for me and the team. We've had players coming into the team trying to come to terms with what we are asking of them."
Again, Hodgson seemed to suggest he was looking for an away draw and was contented with the result.

When Fergie attacked Torres in that 3-2 Old Trafford defeat,
"I prefer to talk about the game and talk about issues that interest me. Sir Alex is entitled to any opinion he wants to have but I'm not going to come here and say I agree or disagree."
That is an evasive response from the Liverpool manager in the throes of the most intensely fought English football rivalry.

Further evidences of Hodgson's generous respect for the opposition came against Sunderland and Utrecht.

Against Sunderland in that come-from-behind 2-2 draw,
"These days it is not a question of three or four teams dominating the league, it is getting harder and harder. Of course we are playing at home, we were 1-0 up and hopefully we would go on to build on that but unfortunately there was an opponent as well and they had something to say on the matter.''
Against Utrecht in the Europa League,
"I think you could quite easily see today why Utrecht have such a good home record. It would have been unfortunate for them had we won the game tonight, I think Utrecht would have felt hard done by."
Once more, too much respect was given to opponents that Liverpool (even with the current weaker squad) should brush aside.

And finally after being outplayed by Everton in a 2-0 Merseyside derby defeat,
"I don't think it is a crisis, I thought the way we played today was not the level of a team in the bottom three but six points from eight games is a very poor return. We need to start winning to climb the table and until we do the word 'crisis' will continue to be bandied around. I refuse to accept we were in any way outplayed or in any way inferior. I thought the shape of our team was good, I thought our passing and moving was good. I watched the performance and in the second half that's as good as I have seen a Liverpool team under my management. It was a sterling effort in the second half."
The journalist who wrote this Hodgson article on the Liverpool official site must be wondering how in the world he could get things so wrong about the under-fire Reds manager. Considering what has happened this season, Hodgson has been the complete opposite of Benitez and I never thought I would say that.

Empire Of The Kop published this quirky conspiracy theory which is an interesting and funny read.

Defiantly however, Roy has finally found his fighting spirit when he voiced out,
"I think it would be a sad day for football and for Liverpool if someone who had been brought in with the pomp and circumstance, and the money it took them to release me from my previous contract, and being feted as one of England's best managers - if after eight games people are deciding this guy has got to go."
A bit too late? The way the players are playing now is surely making Hodgson's stay untenable. Besides ex-Barca manager, Frank Rijkaard is rumoured to take over, which could be great for Liverpool given the strong continental flavour within the squad.

So it is now two more matches to clarity on Hodgson's fate....and I suspect there is no immediate end to Liverpool's current poor form. It looks like Blackburn all over again for Roy Hodgson.

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