26 Aug 2009

POLL: Was Rafa Benitez right to publicly criticise Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard and Ryan Babel?

The new season is only ten days old and Rafa Benitez is already up to his old tricks, namely criticising players in public. Is this the right approach to take when dealing with players or is it counter-productive?

My personal view is that criticism of players - however warranted - is never justifiable in public. Benitez has a history of public digs at his players; targets of his ire in the past have included Peter Crouch and Xabi Alonso, both of whom are no longer at the club.

Babel was first in the firing line: “Ryan knows he has to perform this year at a different level. He has to give something this year. Sometimes players, especially Dutch players, need more time, but now he knows what is going on here.”

Next on the chopping block was Torres: "I have told him that he has to stop this [arguing with referees]. He knows he has to improve this aspect of his game. He has to be completely focused on his football...Sometimes it is not easy to deal with everything opponents do, but he knows he must deal with it in a different way."

Then it was Steven Gerrard's turn: "At a crucial moment, we gave away a penalty. We made too many mistakes at crucial times. It was a clear penalty. We have to be fair. Gerrard gave away the penalty. There were too many people involved. If you want to analyse the mistakes of each player, you would have to analyse a lot of things in the game. We are talking about some names, but clearly the team has to improve and it depends on the experienced players to take more responsibility".

Don't get me wrong - I agree with Benitez's observations: Babel must improve; Torres needs to stop moaning and Gerrard was to blame for the penalty. However, surely the professional and prudent thing to do was to criticise them behind closed doors?

What do you think?

You can choose up to 3 answers


  1. It's almost unforgivable to criticize players in public. It loses the manager the respect of the player. Players like to know that the manager can be confided in, and not go all Jewish-motherly by emarrassing them in company.

    There is a distinction between criticism, and analising and mentioning reasons why a player has had difficulty settling, but it was never the Liverpool way air dirty laundry. It's now the Mourinho and Ferguson way.

    Not in public Rafa!

    PS And stop remonstrating with the fourth official. The very thing you very publicly criticised Ferfuson about: 'marking' the fourth official.

  2. No, definitely not Fernando Torres. When Ferguson asks for "protection" for divers like Ronaldo, Rafa tells nando to stop whining in public. What happens nexts? Nando gets kicked out of the game, and gets elbowed twice in the head, with no consequence for the attacker. YOU JUST CAN'T DO THAT, RAFA. Especially when he's already prone to being fouled. And why can the same thing not be said during training, or in private? 

    As for Stevie, I think that's a different situation because the "fans" and "experts" love to blame Lucas, when Stevie was partially at fault for one of the goals, and completely for the other and gave the ball away on one too many occasion. Gerrard needs a bollocking every now and then. You did an article on how it worked when he came off the bench against Everton (Lucas came on, and took a shot that led to the penalty). 

    Babel's wasn't exactly criticism - he was telling Babel to step it up and challenging him, and it could work positively. 

  3. I agree that Gerrard needs a kick up the backside every now and again; given his massive ego though, I just wonder if he will take it on the chin or sulk about it. Like you, I really don't get the Torres criticism - the guy is fantastic, a great professional and does the business on the pitch.  if anyone deserves more consideration it's him.  Criticise him behind closed doors by all means, but not in public.

  4. Rafa tells nando to stop whining in public. What happens nexts? Nando gets kicked out of the game, and gets elbowed twice in the head, with no consequence for the attacker.
    DONKEYS, the lot of you.....

    "Rafa tells nando to stop whining in public. What happens nexts? Nando gets kicked out of the game, and gets elbowed twice in the head, with no consequence for the attacker."

    - actually, rafa said this BEFORE THE STOKE MATCH. do i need to remind you how torres played in that game?

    you lot need to get real. i can understand you wanting a devil's advocacy, or just making a point for the sake of disagreement, but it's getting boring and you lot aren't very good at it. do you even listen to these interviews, or do you just go by the excerpts the S*n print the day after? last game rafa "slagged" gerrard when he was basically primed by the interviewer on lucas apparently losing the entire game for us. rafa's response: "we have to be fair, gerrard was the one who gave the penalty away. there were just too many people involved...." i understand you've found your whipping boy in lucas, but, like rafa said, you need to be fair. if lucas deserves criticism for his showing (which wasn't even as bad as people make out - how is he going to pass it forward when there's no dynamic movement from the attackers? at least he was keeping the ball, whis is more than torres or gerrard did that game...), then criticise gerrard for a useless tackle, poor passing, poor shot selection, and torres for losing concentration, giving the ball away time after time, lack of movement, etc....

    ....or move to kensington or wherever all the plastic chelsea fans reside and go support them.

  5. ikhilioju - I deleted your post because you contravened the posting policy.  You are more than welcome to repost your comments without all the sniping against other commentors if you wish.


  6. Torres' first and second season in the league was perfect in how he handled the rough treatment. This term however hje's started to resemble Robbie Keane in his remonstrations with the ref. Wasn't getting him anywhere cuz he def wasn't getting any protection from the ref.

    Gerrard's culpability vs Villa couldn't be missed but it was all about Lucas. I think the manager was just pointing out that insanity. If Gerrard is chuffed then dont miss any more guilt edged chances and then dive in with a crazy tackle like he used to do early in his career.

    Whether it was the right thing to do well that depends on what they do going forward doesn't it? It different from player to player

  7. Totally agree mate (and tried to say as much in a previous post...the establisment wasn't pleased though....)
    If people are ready and willing to criticise lucas when he actually does a good job, they should be equally prepared to criticise gerrard when he is pants....
    Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

  8. in rafa we trust and all that but theres nothing that twists my bollox more than hearing these frequent public outbursts.

    it made me sick when i Souness started this crap when he was mistakenly given the keys to the door and its no better coming from rafa.

    the "liverpool way" isnt like this at all.  

    keep it shut outside, say what you like inside.

    its been like that for years.

    we show a united front in public, on the pitch and on the terraces.

    thats not to say there isnt a lot to discuss because there quite clearly is but theres ways and means. 

    we all harp on about our glorious history so why not take a leaf out of that and see how things have been done in the past?  its worked for the likes of bill, bob, joe and kenny.

  9. At the end of the day, if Gerrards tackle got the ball, it would have lifted the players up aswell as the roof at Anfield, the noise would've been deafening. He was late, fair enough and Rafa was wrong to mention the players names in public. Gerrard and Torres have won the Reds many a game in the dying moments, when they probably shouldn't have won. We'll be ok, it probably takes abit of pressure off us, now that everyone thinks we're easybeats.

  10. well at the moment we are!! ;)