By Biola Kazeem (@biolakazeem)
Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United side finished last season with two major trophies and have followed that, this season, with the club’s best start
and campaign in recent history. While it definitely hasn’t been all rosy, the club remains the closest to designated winners, Manchester City on the EPL table and could enjoy progression in the UEFA Champions League with a ‘friendly’ draw with Sevilla.
Yet, despite these obvious gains, media narrative around the club suggests otherwise. The manager has beendeemed, both directly and subtly, as a
failure who is supervising an ongoing disaster. His method, irrespective of the results and relative success it delivers, has been roundly dismissed as “old and anti-football”.
Likewise, managers of Arsenal and Chelsea, Arsene Wenger and Antonio Conte endure a greater level of ridicule. On his part, Arsene Wenger’s failure
to secure another league titlein over a decade is often trumped up at the end of every season as basis for a destructive criticism, with disregard for any measure of success including ahat-trick of the FA Cup since 2014.
Conte, on the other hand, has gone from hero to villain with Chelsea’s slip to the fourth position, despite winning the League in his first attempt with seven points to spare.
A distant observer may glean from all of these that pundits and football commentators of the league generally have an unflinching high standards
they subject managers to before delivering praises – except that that isn’t the case. What is on display in England is a shameful show of favoritism displayed by a routine, mindless criticism of certain managers in the face of positive results, and an illogical praise of others even in the depth of failure.
The controversial draw between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur dealt a huge blow on both sides as it officially ended any talk of the league title, if there was ever any, andplaced serious doubts, especially for Tottenham, on the possibility of securing Champions League football next season.
However, hardly would any questions be asked of both managers, Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino.
For a grand total of zero trophies since he arrived England from Spain and for bottling Tottenham Hotspur’s first ever realistic chance of winning the league since 1992 in direct competition against – wait for it – Leicester City, Pochettino has been crowned“the next Ferguson”.
Jurgen Klopp, on the other hand, is always one player away from finishing a project he embarked on sincehe joined the club in August, 2015 – despite constant signing of notable players such as Sadio Mane, Mohammed Salah and recently, Virgil Van Dijk. His tantrums in the technical area, electric
sprints down the tunnel and passionate hugging of his players even after a sound defeat are more than enough to convince pundits that he remains one of the best things to ever happen to football.
For Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger and other managers unfortunate enough to find themselves in the bad books of football commentators in England, not even trophies or years of consistent success can validate their methods or save them from an unending scrutiny. For lucky ones like Pochettino and Klopp however, it is okay not towin so long passion is displayed and they keep attacking – even in defeats.
The hypocrisy is so obvious, it is blinding.