Pressure can do strange things to football managers and with his Arsenal team being sucked into a relegation battle it seemed to catch up with Mikel Arteta on Monday.
The Gunners boss reeled off a list of statistics to try and prove that his players’ failure to convert chances into goals was behind a sequence of no wins in seven Premier League games.
Arteta went on to speak about his team’s percentage chance of winning and losing in an effort to explain why things are going so badly.
‘Last year against Everton we won the game with 25 per cent chance of winning supported by the stats. You win 3-2,’ he said.
‘Last weekend, it’s a 67 per ent chance of winning and nine per cent of losing, and you lose. Three per cent against Burnley and you lose. Seven per cent against Spurs and you lose.’
His ramblings were dismissed as ‘nonsensical’ by some Arsenal fans, who joked that next time ‘we’ll play the game on an excel sheet as opposed to a football field.’
But Arteta is in good company among managers in the English leagues who’ve left everyone baffled after a press conference.
In fact, from Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger to Ian Holloway and Joe Kinnear, there have been some absolute gems over the years.
Rafa Benitez brings the ‘facts’
Midway through the 2008-09 Premier League season and old rivals Liverpool and Manchester United are neck-and-neck in the title race.
In what becomes a personal battle between the respective managers, Rafael Benitez and Sir Alex Ferguson, the Scot deploys his old ‘mind games’ trick with some comments about the fixture list.
Unfortunately, Benitez fell right into the trap. ‘I have to talk about facts because I think it’s important…’
The Spaniard went on for almost five minutes, interspersing his words with ‘it’s a fact’, and also complaining that Ferguson received favourable treatment from referees and the authorities.
He was ‘the only manager who will not be punished’ for outspoken attacks on match officials.
Benitez went on to accuse Ferguson of ‘killing referees’, claimed the Premier League fixture list was drawn up in Fergie’s office and said United coaching staff ‘man mark’ officials on the touchline.
It failed to land much of a blow on Ferguson and United as they ultimately went on to retain their title.
‘I read that was already sacked’: Van Gaal’s festive cheer
It wasn’t the happiest of Christmases for Louis van Gaal and Manchester United in 2015. Poor results had led to speculation that the Dutchman would be sacked and replaced by Jose Mourinho.
But in a press conference held two days before Christmas, Van Gaal came out fighting in an extraordinary press conference that lasted only four minutes and 58 seconds before he stormed out.
‘I think I was already sacked, I read,’ Van Gaal fumed. ‘My colleague [Mourinho] was here already.
‘What do you think happens with my wife or with my kids or with my grandchildren or with the fans of Manchester United or my friends? They have called me a lot of times.
‘Has anybody in this room not a feeling to apologise to me? That’s what I’m wondering.
‘So you think that I want to talk with the media now? I am here only because of the Premier League rules.’
Van Gaal rounded off the press conference by wishing journalists a Merry Christmas and telling them to ‘enjoy the wine and a mince pie’ before walking off.
He would be sacked and replaced by Mourinho – but only six months later.
‘Any knocks, Joe?’
Joe Kinnear had just been appointed interim manager of Newcastle United in October 2008 following the shock resignation of Kevin Keegan.
In one of his first press conferences, Kinnear took offence to reports that he’d not taken training on his first day in the job. Well, took offence is putting it mildly.
After calling Daily Mirror journalist Simon Bird a ‘c***’ and telling Daily Express writer Niall Hickman he was ‘absolutely f**king out of order’, Kinnear embarked on an exchange with the gathered press in which he swore 52 times.
WARNING: OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE IN THE BELOW VIDEO
Among the many great lines was: ‘It is going to my f**king lawyers. I am not f**king about. I don’t talk to f**king anybody. It is raking up stories. You are f**king so f**king slimy you are taking up players I got rid of.’
Hilariously, Newcastle’s press officer tries to make the tirade off the record but Kinnear then said: ‘Write what you like. Makes no difference to me. Don’t affect me I assure you.’
Kinnear then claimed he wouldn’t speak to the national press again during his time at St James’ Park. As silence hung heavy in the room, one reporter uttered the immortal question about team news… ‘Any knocks?’
‘Are you an ostrich?’
In one of the most bizarre press conference exchanges of the Premier League era, Leicester manager Nigel Pearson asked journalist Ian Baker if he was an ostrich following a 3-1 defeat to Chelsea in 2015.
Pearson spoke of ‘the amount of criticism and negativity [his players] have had to endure over the course of a season’, leading Baker to ask him to be more specific.
Pearson replied: ‘Have you been on holiday for six months? Have you been away for six months?
‘I think you must have either head in the clouds, or 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.’
The Leicester boss went on to belittle Baker as ‘absolutely stupid’ and ‘daft’, adding: ‘Please don’t give that c**p with me.’
‘Are you going to turn it off?’
Nobody wants to be on the receiving end of Roy Keane’s withering death stare.
Keane was giving a press conference as Ipswich Town manager in 2009 when a journalists’ phone went off while he was answering a question about cheating in the game.
And, even worse for the culprit, it was the second time it had rung. Just to dig themselves in deeper, the journalists allowed it to continue ringing even when being reprimanded.
What do you think about this song?
We want to hear from you all.
Drop your comments