What makes a winner?Arbeloa played for Del Bosque, Pellegrini, Mourinho, Benítez, Aragonés and Anc

From Wenerd Black

Hey Myles,

Interesting piece by Sid Lowe in The Guardian on the trials of Carlo Ancelotti.

But what caught my eye was Arbeola’s comments (reproduced below) on managers that he has worked with. Although he talks of successful managers that he has worked, the corrollary is also true.

It made me think about how every football fan wishes his club had ‘that’ manager – as though it would necessarily bring everything that is immediately necessary.

Frustratingly, that this the lot of footbal fans.

Having said that, it made me also think of the Arsenal teams/games over the past 10 odd years of (almost) zero success.

I realise that it is not the ‘limited budget’, the reason often touted, as the reason why AW couldnt put a team that competed and won things.

On the other hand, despite limited funds, he did very well to have a competent squad.

Clearly they were not the Invincibles, but one that should have delivered more than the 4th spot YoY, an odd QF in the CL and no cup wins.

It needed the extra 20% managerial direction in instilling a winning mentality & focus, which was missing then and has possibly disappeared altogether.

I can see how the ‘be careful what you wish for’ line can keep status quo going.

But then what’s the point?

During an interview last week, it was put to Álvaro Arbeloa that he might be a coach one day, not least because he described himself as a player who does what the manager wants of him rather than what he feels like doing, because he studies the game carefully, and because he has played under some of the best.

So who would his model be?

The answer became a discussion of the roots of success in football, one that raised contradictions and questions, in which the answer remains unclear.

If there even is an answer.

“The thing is I have worked with so many coaches, so many managers who are so different that in the end you think: ‘who do I look to?\’,” he said. “They are all superb coaches. And sometimes I think to myself ‘How is it possible that I have worked with Del Bosque, Pellegrini, Mourinho, Benítez, Caparrós, Aragonés, Ancelotti, and they have all won but all with very different methods?

“And you sometimes think qué coño?, ‘what the hell?\’ There is no one way of doing things, there is no secret.” “You can\’t say: ‘This is what works\’ because something else works too.

“I look at all those great coaches and sometimes I thought ‘I wouldn\’t do it like that\’ and then things have worked out brilliantly and you think: ‘cago en la puta, que cabrón, sabe más que yo.\’ [Bloody hell, the bastard, he knows more than me.]

In the end the conclusion that you sort of come to is that football is about the players. It\’s the players. The players need to be good. It is clear that Mourinho is fantastic, that Guardiola is fantastic, but what would happen in a team that was not as outstanding as the ones they had?”

Myles says:

Thanks 500 times for a fantastic piece that I missed.


Sid should turn that into a best-selling classic book.

The man with the audacity to claim, after eight years of winning nothing, that fourth is a trophy, was soon afterwards warning us to be careful what you wish for.

29th October 2014