Rafa Benitez’s ‘facts’ rant, Jose Mourinho calling for ‘respect’ and Nigel Pearson labelling a reporter an ‘ostrich’… Ronald Koeman’s three-minute statement is just the latest bizarre press conference from a manager under big pressure
- Ronald Koeman read a sombre statement rather than take reporters’ questions
- After reading it out over the course of three minutes, the Barcelona boss left
- It is just the latest bizarre press conference given by a manager over the years
- Here, Sportsmail looks at examples of when managers have lost their cool
Ronald Koeman became the latest manager to deliver a bizarre press conference following his three-minute statement earlier this week.
The under-fire Barcelona boss did not take any questions from the media and instead read out a sombre statement asking for patience from fans and ‘support in these difficult times’.
When the three-minute discourse – a couple of days before the Catalan giants’ goalless stalemate at Cadiz on Thursday – was over, the former Holland boss got up from his seat and left.
Ronald Koeman delivered a bizarre press conference with a three-minute statement earlier this week
After finishing reading from his sheet of paper, Koeman left without taking media questions
While it was a press conference more on the serene side than a full-blooded rant in front of reporters, it was no less compelling viewing.
It was the latest instalment of another peculiar chapter in Barcelona’s recent history and one that threatened to live long in the memory.
But which other fiery press conference have also left their mark in recent years? Sportsmail takes a look at other bosses have started to show the pressure getting to them.
Rafael Benitez’s ‘facts’ rant
He may now be managing the club in the blue half of Merseyside, but Rafael Benitez’s most infamous rant came at Liverpool in January 2009, in which he repeated the word ‘facts’ on several occasions.
Benitez was responding after Sir Alex Ferguson’s complaints about the fixture list during the 2008-09 season, when the Reds sat at the top of the table.
The Spaniard then took out a piece of paper listing what he called ‘facts’, clearly directed at the former Manchester United manager, who he referred to as ‘Mr Ferguson’ throughout.
‘We know what happens every time we go to Old Trafford and the United staff. They are always going man to man with the referees, especially at half-time when they walk close to the referees and they are talking and talking.
Rafael Benitez’s infamous ‘facts’ rant came in response to Sir Alex Ferguson’s complaints about scheduling
‘All managers need to know is that only Mr Ferguson can talk about the fixtures, can talk about referees and nothing happens.
‘We need to know that I am talking about facts, not my impression. There are things that everyone can see every single week.’
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher said in 2017 the incident didn’t distract the players.
But the evidence was there to suggest Benitez’s decision to speak out appeared to backfire, as United went on to win the title that season and make their arch rivals wait another 11 years before lifting the prized domestic crown.
Benitez was not the only man that was riled by Sir Alex Ferguson, following Keegan’s extraordinary outburst live on TV.
Keegan had just seen his side beat Leeds United 1-0 at Elland Road in April 1996, with Keith Gillespie scoring the winner.
But Ferguson had publicly cast doubt over the application of Leeds and Nottingham Forest, Newcastle’s next opponents in the title race.
That saw Keegan fire back, including four words that would stick in the memory.
Kevin Keegan’s infamous ‘I will love it’ rant also came as a response to comments from Ferguson
‘I’ve kept really quiet but I’ll tell you something, he went down in my estimations when he said that. We have not resorted to that,’ Keegan said.
‘You can tell him now, we’re still fighting for this title and he’s got to go to Middlesbrough and get something – and I’ll tell you, honestly, I will love it if we beat them. Love it. It has really got to me.’
Newcastle drew 1-1 at Forest — as they did on the final day at home to Tottenham — and, when United won 3-0 at Boro, the title was theirs. Keegan’s side had, infamously, led the table by 12 points in January.
Kinnear’s foul-mouthed rant
Managers are not the biggest fans of having their words taken out of context, but it appears as if it can even happen to reporters too.
A journalist reported in October 2008 that new Newcastle boss Joe Kinnear had given his players the Monday after a 2-1 home defeat by Blackburn on the Saturday off.
But the story was spun that week that Kinnear was awarding his players an extra day off as a reward of some sort for a fifth straight league defeat and a League Cup loss to Tottenham, rather than to give him time to start preparations for the next game against Everton.
Joe Kinnear launched a foul-mouthed rant in a press conference, swearing 52 times
An enraged Kinnear made it clear outside the press room ahead of the match against the Toffees that he was going to have a go at the national media.
What followed was an X-rated rant in which he swore 52 times and called out journalists for some of what they had published in the early days of his St James’ Park tenure.
He also insisted every word he uttered in that fiery press conference was on the record, and his outburst, as a result, was printed in full.
Mourinho and ‘football heritage’
Jose Mourinho is no stranger to making the headlines and he did once more after going on an extraordinary twelve-and-a-half minute rant about Manchester United’s lack of ‘football heritage’.
Defending his own tenure at the club in a press conference in March 2018, the Portuguese claimed that disappointment in Europe was nothing new for the Old Trafford side in recent years after rattling off their record on the continent since 2011.
Using a pre-prepared sheet of statistics to support his argument, Mourinho first addressed their Champions League exit at the hands of Sevilla that season, stating: ‘In seven years, with four different managers, once not qualify for Europe, twice out in the group phase and the best was the quarter-final. This is football heritage.’
Mourinho then went on to suggest that United would be able to do little in terms of winning the high-profile trophies in the club game if rivals Manchester City continued to spend as heavily as they had done for around a decade at that time.
Jose Mourinho claimed Man United’s lack of success in Europe since 2011 was ‘football heritage’
‘In the last seven years the worst position of Manchester City in the Premier League was fourth,’ he continued. ‘In the last seven years, Manchester City was champions twice and if you want, say three times. They were second twice. That’s heritage.
‘Do you know what is also heritage? [Nicolas] Otamendi, Kevin De Bruyne, Fernandinho, [David] Silva, [Raheem] Sterling, [Sergio] Aguero. They are investments from the past, not from the last two years.
‘Do you know how many of United players that left the club last season? See where they play, how they play, if they play,’ he said, referring to the likes of Wayne Rooney, Memphis Depay, Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger. ‘That’s football heritage.’
However, five months later the Portuguese boss would have a very different outlook on United’s Champions League exit against the Spanish side…
Mourinho calls for ‘respect’
Another extraordinary rant from Mourinho came in August 2018 after seeing his United side lose 3-0 at Old Trafford to his future employers Tottenham.
Unsurprisingly, he attempted to defend his side, claiming they could have led by the same scoreline at half-time. He also believed the fact that fans applauding at the final whistle – despite many having left before then – as a positive.
But what followed next was a meltdown in which he demanded respect for his Premier League record compared to the other managers in the league at the time.
Mourinho called for respect by raising his digits for the number of times he had won the league
‘We lost last season here against Sevilla [last season in the Champions League last-16] and we were booed, because we deserved, because we were not good, because we were not dangerous enough, because Sevilla deserved to win the match.
‘Today the players left the pitch after losing at home and they were applauded, because they deserved it, so keep trying, and trying, and trying, and keep trying [to ask questions].
‘Just to finish, do you know what was the result?’ he said, indicating his digits. ‘3-0, 3-0. Do you know what this is? 3-0.
‘But it also means three Premierships and I won more Premierships alone than the other 19 managers together. Three for me and two for them two [Pep Guardiola and Manuel Pellegrini]. So respect man, respect, respect, respect.’
Perhaps the most similar character on this list to Koeman, Roy Hodgson showed even the most imperturbable bosses can sometimes lose their cool.
The former Crystal Palace boss was in charge of West Brom in November 2011 when he was conducting a post-match interview with Match of the Day following a 2-1 victory against Bolton.
Hodgson began his answer to the opening question by raging that another decision had gone his side, referring to when Jerome Thomas fouled Fabrice Muamba in the penalty box before Ivan Klasnic fired in from the spot to equalise.
But at this point, the reporter interjected and asked him which one he was referring to.
Roy Hodgson threatened to walk out of an post-match interview as West Brom manager
That caused the former England boss to become increasingly more enraged, shooting back: ‘Which one? How many were there?
‘They only had two shots on goal. One was a penalty and one was a strike at goal that our goalkeeper saved. What decision are we talking about? Let’s not take the p*** here.
‘There wasn’t a f****** penalty in the game. There wasn’t one of those ridiculous situations in the game that didn’t happen so let’s just talk about our performance.’
The interview was eventually re-started, somewhat awkwardly, after Hodgson threatened to walk out of the interview, accusing the reporter of being ‘tricky’ with his questions.
But a begrudging Hodgson was clearly no longer in any mood to answer the questions with any greater depth or insight, responding abruptly to what was put to him before storming off shortly afterwards.
Arsene Wenger was often the cool, calm face of Arsenal but even he lashed out at questions posed to him from time to time.
The Gunners had just suffered a shock FA Cup exit at the hands of Blackburn in February 2013 and their next task was an unenviable one, facing eventual Champions League winners Bayern Munich in the last 16 of the competition.
Reports the day before suggested Arsenal were ready to offer him an extension to his contract that expired the following summer.
But the Frenchman reacted furiously, insisted those on the outside were trying to undermine him and the club, and said the only intention of the report emerging was ‘to harm’.
‘Why does it just come out when we lose a big game?’ Wenger said. ‘In your opinion? You think I am so naïve that I don’t see what is behind that? You think I am a complete idiot?
‘The lie is targeted to hurt. It’s easy to say people are not happy and, on top of that, to say he’s extending the contract. That’s what I mean.
‘I’ve worked here for 16 years and when I say I deserve more credit, that’s not about respect and everybody saying: ‘He’s doing well.’ It is morally. I think that’s right.
‘You can criticise me and say I’m a bad manager. I’d never come back to you on that. But I think when you work like that … you will never find any story behind me that I’ve taken money anywhere, or things like that.
‘So I think, morally, that is wrong. What I don’t accept is lies and when the target behind it is to manipulate people.’
‘I am not a conspiracy theorist,’ he said. ‘I am 30 years in this job and if I was paranoid, you would know it already.
‘I just think that when I worked for 16 years in the country, I expect a certain respect. This kind of thing that is a bit manipulative … and then, when they are wrong, I don’t accept it.’
Nigel Pearson’s ‘ostrich’
One of the most infamous occasions of recent times came when Nigel Pearson was facing a relegation battle as Leicester boss.
Following a defeat by Chelsea in April 2015, Pearson said the amount of criticism his players had faced was challenging for them.
That led reporter Ian Baker to ask what criticism he was referring to, setting Pearson off in an incredible argument with the journalist.
Pearson asked: ‘Have you been on holiday for six months? Have you been away for six months?
Nigel Pearson called a journalist an ‘ostrich’ after asking him about criticism of Leicester side
‘I think you must have either your head in the clouds, or been away on holiday, or reporting on a different team, because if you don’t know the answer to that question . . your question is absolutely unbelievable, the fact you do not understand where I am coming from.
‘If you don’t know the answer to that question then I think you are an ostrich. Your head must be in the sand. Is your head in the sand? Are you flexible enough to get your head in the sand? My suspicion would be no.’
‘I can, you can’t. You can’t. Listen you have been here often enough and for you to ask that question, you are either being very, very silly or you are being absolutely stupid, one of the two because for you to ask that question, I am sorry son, you are daft.’
Baker stated he did not feel Leicester’s players had been criticised too harshly, following which Pearson added: ‘You are wrong. No, you are wrong.
‘You have been in here, I know you have so don’t give that c**p with me, please don’t give that c**p with me. I will smile at you because I can afford to smile at you. Now do you want to ask a different question or do you want to ask it differently. Come on, ask it. Ask it or are you not capable?’
When the reporter struggled to get his words out, Pearson added: ‘You don’t know. What’s ”erm”?’
When the reporter said he did not know how Pearson had interpreted that question, he replied: ‘Well you must be very stupid. I’m sorry,’ after which he got up and left.
Pearson would however, unlike any in this list, later apologise for the comments. ‘I apologise for last night, Ian. I wanted to do it straight away in front of the cameras,’ he said.
‘I was not happy about losing. I react. Is it pressure? Might be. It’s emotion more than anything. I’m not afraid of showing my emotions.
‘I get labelled with certain titles which is people’s prerogative and I also accept when I’ve stepped out of line so it is only right to apologise. I’m not trying to win any popularity contest and don’t think I will be in the running for any of that.’
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