The former Liverpool midfielder believes that the tough approach by old-school managers should not be seen as bullying in the modern game
Liverpool legend Steve McManaman believes modern day footballers need to learn how to accept criticism and suggested a disciplined brand of man management like that used by Jose Mourinho should not be condemned as bullying.
Manchester United boss Mourinho has come under fire for publicly criticising his players during his reign at Old Trafford, with his no-nonsense treatment of Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba coming in for scrutiny.
Meanwhile, Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane hit the headlines in recent days after he was involved in a high profile spat with Cardiff City midfielder Harry Arter, with details of the verbal battering handed out by Keane leading to calls for him to quit his role as Martin O’Neill’s number two.
However, McManaman believes that ‘old-school’ management can still be effective, even in a society that no longer tolerates the kind of colourful language that used to be the norm in football dressing rooms.
“I don’t think what they call the old school style of management is redundant, but players have changed and maybe managers and coaching staff have to adapt to that,” BT Sport pundit McManaman told Goal.
“Footballers are more fragile than they used to be, there is no doubt about that, but I still feel there is a place in game for a good telling off when the moment is right.
“We see managers like Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola and they appear to have found the perfect balance between having the players under control and getting a good rapport with them.
“That is obviously going to be easier when you are winning games most week and what we saw in the recent documentary looking behind the scenes at Man City was that Guardiola can scream and shout with the best of them.
“I’m sure Klopp does the same when the time is right and the Liverpool players all seem to be enjoying working in his set-up.
“Then you look at someone like Jose Mourinho at Manchester United and he has a slightly different approach. He is more open in his criticism of players at times, but I don’t have a problem with that.
“I never minded a manager moaning and shouting at me as long as it was constructive and 99 per cent of the time, he was right and I appreciated the need to improve. I also knew my team-mates and my father would tell me I had played badly and that would make me even more disappointed. I never saw criticism or being shouted at as bullying.”
McManaman went on to suggest that Keane’s verbal attack on Arter was harder to justify, with the Ireland assistant boss questioning the midfielder’s professionalism after he missed an international training session on medical advice.
“What we have seen with Keane and the way he dealt with Arter seems to be taking things over the top,” he added.
“The trouble in the Keane/Arter situation is it happened in an international camp and Keane is only the assistant manager. He only sees Arter for a few days every two or three months over the course of a year with Ireland, so to chastise him for not training seems harsh when he doesn’t know him too well.
“When you work with players every day, you understand what makes them tick, but a new element has come into this because shouting abuse at people is now viewed as a form of bullying.
“I was a Scouser playing for Liverpool when I came into the game and I could take any criticism that came my way, but not everyone has a thick skin and can accept it.
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“Also, Keane and Martin O’Neill worked in the game in a previous era when this kind of treatment was considered to be the norm, so they are still working to those rules.
“Every dressing room has a different of characters. Managers are paid the big bucks to evaluate the right way to get the best out of each player and not everyone will respond well to being shouted at every day.”
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