Coach or Player?

If we thank God for victories, why don’t we blame Him for losses?

Manchester United lost to Arsenal. I tried not to write this almost immediately after that game. 2-0, ouch! That must have hurt, no? 2 goals in less than 4 minutes. It was an interesting performance. Most analysts blame Mourinho for putting out a ‘weak’ squad. For rotating, more or less. Really? All through this year, Mourinho has pointed out the benefits of winning the Europa League, and the ‘einsteins’ are now surprised?

But i digress. De Gea, Smalling, Jones, Darmian, Herrera, Carrick, Mata, Martial, Mikhitaryan, Rooney. There’s your ‘weak’ line-up! All those players have been part of the starting 11 at some point of the season. They are not weak in its truest sense. But. Some haven’t played in a while; some just returned from injury; and some are not yet match-fit.

Blame. Ugh. Such an ugly word.  Yet it is necessary; maybe not to blame, but to find the root cause of that defeat. Or better yet, to find out why some games are not played well. So as Kanye sang, let’s play the balme game. How could we not score? Why was Xhaka given all that space? Was De Gea a little bit out of position for that goal? Could Smalling have reacted better to Chamberlain’s cross? Was that cross really that good?

All the games Manchester United have drawn while totally dominating. All the chances wasted in front of goal. Who bears responsibility? Bad luck? Players? Manager?

Apportioning blame is risky, because most scapegoats are branded that unjustly. Pogba was considered a flop, until he has had to miss a few games. Now we miss him, we see what he does so well. Players are a flop till their next good game. And they are world-class till their next bad game.

Leicester City have come up ever since Ranieri was fired. Was it Ranieri? His game plan? Did he not charm the players anymore? Did he not say ‘dilly ding dong’ anymore? Or was it the players who didn’t execute his plans? And why? Intentional or were they not just up to the task?

Chelsea collapsed last season. Mourinho or the players? Can we really say both? Why did the results improve with Guus Hiddink? Why are the same players performing so well this season?

No outright answers to all these questions. You can spin it either way. Mourinho says it’s up to the players to motivate themselves. What role does the manager play? Do we add God in the mix, like we do in most bad things that happen to us? Who is to blame for bad games and who is to be credited for good games? If we thank God for victories, why don’t we blame Him for losses?




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