Maurico Pochettino without a translator sometimes leads to the occasional convoluted soundbite. So here's an accompanying convoluted blog.
'In football it is easy to talk after the game. But the important thing is taking the decision before. When you are the coach, you have all the information and if you win, you are the best and if you don't, you are a s**t who made the wrong decision. This is true.'
Context? Squad rotation and the possibilities of lost momentum (a single game won is classed as that these-days) if we refresh the team by making changes for the Newcastle cup game and the risk involved in reshaping selection.
Problem? Much ado about nothing. What he's saying is basically the first entry in the unwritten football supporting and reporting rule book; blame the coach if it doesn't go to plan, even though there's such a fine line between getting it to work and seeing it fail.
Poch is taking responsibility and even deflecting attention away from the starting eleven, looking to protect his squad from the wonderment of hindsight. Hindsight and its unnerving disassembling nature with the given result. Key decisions and moments carefully designated into blame pots assigned to players so the never satisfied baying public can aim their shot at.
'It was a lack of respect for my players. I always defend my players. If we have players in the squad, it is because we believe in them. If not, why are the players in the squad? But always when you lose, people take something to criticise you. For me, it's a lack of respect, not for me but for the players who played in the game. I accept the criticism, but I can't accept criticism for the players.'
He's alluding to the criticism of the players and the fact the coach deems himself unequivocally accountable. The criticism is accepted by Pochettino because he's the one that makes the decisions (and because someone needs to get blamed). He believes that laying that blame on the players rather than himself is unfair and uncalled for because they're the ones following the instructions he's set out.
Or maybe he just wanted an excuse to show-off his swearing range?
Is the crux of the issue the fact that Poch has to react to all of this in the first place? Or is it the unforgiving necessity to always assign blame as a singularity focusing on our own players and tactics and effort rather than the other reasons that might result with a defeat. For example the opposing side might have played better and accomplished their goal with more steeled determination and a game-plan far more robust than our own. More than likely they made less errors.
I'm now trying to rationalise the very fabric of post-match analysis.
Football, apart from the unstoppable unplayable brilliance/good luck/hard graft is mostly about those errors, the mistakes made and the opposing side taking advantage of them. If players didn't make mistakes we'd be left waiting for that moment of genius. I agree there's no science in attempting to compare what you think should have played out based on the team you would have selected if conditions and circumstances were different rather than the actuality of what physically transpired on the pitch. You may as well theorise on every passing second if you wish to consider the game in the same way by it's entirety of 90 minutes.
So blame the gaffer if we fail to get to the semi-finals. If we win, accolades for the coach with plaudits for the players and their instructional deliverance. If we lose, everyone is rubbish, we're rubbish, the coach doesn't have a handle on things and ENIC out.
Until next time when Poch might drop an f-bomb on us whilst discussing multi-verse inverted width-holes that suck up space leaving a constellation of congestion through the centre of our not so galactic system.