Football: Rafael Benitez – That Man Fergie!

It’s the day before the big Champions League quarter-final. All is well at Liverpool. The Premiership title challenge, is back on. The team are in prime form. The manager has a new long-term contract. Nothing can go wrong!

Then, at his Tuesday pre-match press conference, Rafael Benitez speaks out. Again. He claims that United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, is now running scared of his Liverpool team. Believing that Ferguson is feeling the pressure from his Liverpool team. Given the adverse publicity, that his anti-Ferguson jibes in January brought him, it’s a surprising strategy from the Spaniard. And an ill advised one.

Benitez doesn’t do this type of mind game very well. Last year he wound Chelsea’s Didier Drogba up, to his teams ultimate Champions League cost. And his anti-Ferguson rant in January, may well have cost his team the title.

Perhaps, Benitez’s pre-match rants are a sign of impending failure. A sign that Benitez is smelling weakness in his team. That he is uncomfortable about something. Vulnerable. That pressure is building in him. Pressure that he needs to get out of his system.

Liverpool weren’t just beaten by a better team in Chelsea. Benitez was outsmarted and out thought by Guus Hiddink.

Really, it would be far better for Benitz to stay quiet. Contained. Say nothing. Focus on your own team. Their strengths and qualities. Avoid unnecessary external distractions. For Rafael Benitez, is developing a habit of shooting himself in the foot. And subsequently undermining his team’s cause.

Posted in Football Psychology, Sports Psychology Blog.