Friday 22 September 2017

John Giles: Jamie Carragher and the chorus of nonsense annoyed me - Claudio Ranieri is not a good manager

Read John Giles every week in The Herald

John Giles

John Giles

Sometimes in football, two wrongs actually do make a right.

Popular opinion weighed in behind Claudio Ranieri after he was sacked and a raft of football men who should know better waded into a debate they didn’t know much about.

Nobody can really know what happened between Ranieri and his players other than the people who were in the middle of it.

Jamie Carragher was particularly annoying on the subject when he attacked the players and the owners, suggesting that Ranieri should have been left in position and Leicester fans should just accept relegation as part of the club’s tradition.

How patronising a remark was that? For him and the chorus of nonsense which supported Ranieri, the Italian was wronged by the owners and wronged by the Leicester players.

After Leicester hammered Liverpool 3-1 on Monday evening, reality dawned.

The two ‘wrongs’ have produced the right result. Ranieri is gone and on the evidence of this game, the players have been released from some sort of weight.

It’s best when trying to understand what happened to deal with the evidence and for me it’s an open and shut case perfectly illustrated by the attitude the players showed in the game against Liverpool.

If the squad was in disarray as some have claimed, if they were the rabble they appeared to be in Sevilla last week, then how were they able to go back to the well and beat Liverpool?

Surely if this was a bunch of lads riddled by egos, envy and all the bad things that come with unexpected and major success, they would have been just as disorderly and ineffective against Liverpool?

I’m not saying some of those factors were not in play. I would bet that Ranieri had a difficult dressing room to deal with after they won the title.

Nor am I saying that player power is a good thing but in this case, I think the accusation that they were the main reason Ranieri got the sack is over-stated in a very big way.

It was his job to manage the success and he failed to do that.

Ranieri is not a good manager and I think the players knew this better than anyone.

They were able to roll along with him because he adopted a hands off approach and the imprint Nigel Pearson left on them held firm for nine months. It’s still there, Monday proved that. With Craig Shakespeare in temporary control, they were able to travel back in time to a moment when they were very good indeed and reproduce that form to blow a well-rested but very, very poor Liverpool away

It can go both ways in circumstances like that. With Ranieri gone, the spotlight moved immediately to the players and they were on trial against Liverpool.

Carragher’s accusation and many others like it would have stung the players badly.

Put yourself in their shoes and imagine, for a moment, that Ranieri is as I say, a very poor coach. Imagine if you’re a player and you know that too.

By some miracle, you win the title and when the wheels come off in the next campaign, you are getting it in the neck for not performing, not doing your best when you know in your heart and soul that the problem is the manager.

This is the same in any walk of life. You are less likely to work hard for someone who gets all the credit but does none of the hard graft or is quite clearly a passenger in the effort.

The point at which that was no longer sustainable came when Ranieri tried to manage, tried to put his stamp on players who didn’t rate him.

I have no doubt that there was communication between key men in the squad and the owners but I don’t think there was an organised campaign by the players to oust Ranieri.

I think they were asked for their opinion and they gave it.

So while I don’t support in any way the idea that players should virtually have the power of hiring and firing a manager, I can understand what happened at Leicester and why it unfolded in the way it did.

Who should they hire? The safest option now seem to be to leave Shakespeare in control until the end of the season.

He was with the club before Ranieri arrived and knows exactly what makes these players tick.

My bet is Leicester will kick on from here if they do that.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport