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Mourinho, Klopp, Guardiola & the Premier League managers that have thrown their players under the bus

11:00 pm AEST 19/8/22
Luke Shaw Jose Mourinho Steven Gerrard Tyrone Mings Roberto Mancini Carlos Tevez
The relationship between a manager and his players is often a very complex one

Despite what they might say in the confines of a dressing room, managers will seldom shame their players in the public domain.

Although, that isn't to say that they are totally exempt from criticism in press conferences and interviews, especially when the man in the technical area is at risk of losing his job. The pressure faced by managers can sometimes lead to them airing their dirty laundry in public, but it very rarely ends well as supporters are left to pick sides between players and their boss.

Steven Gerrard made the mistake of replacing fans' favourite Tyrone Mings in the role of captain at Aston Villa whilst simultaneously questioning his mentality. The Villa boss soon restored the England centre-back to his starting XI after his public shaming didn't go down too well with those in the stands.

With that incident fresh in the memory, here are a collection of other scenarios where players have been publicly thrown under the bus by their managers.

  • Duncan Ferguson Moise Kean

    Duncan Ferguson & Moise Kean

    Duncan Ferguson has taken charge of just five matches in his coaching career, all of which came during two separate stints as caretaker manager at Everton. Although, in that time, he created enough headlines to last a full season.

    Perhaps the most iconic memory of his brief managerial career came when he took the Toffees to Old Trafford in December 2019. With Everton 1-0 in front with 20 minutes left, the Scotsman replaced the injured Bernard with highly-rated Moise Kean.

    However, the young forward didn't even see out the game as he was brought off for fellow striker Oumar Niasse in the dying minutes. Ferguson tried to play down talk of a fall out following the match but, having ignored Kean after substituting him, it was clear that the caretaker boss was far from impressed.

  • Carlos Tevez Roberto Mancini Manchester City

    Roberto Mancini & Carlos Tevez

    To say Carlos Tevez was a character during his playing career would be a huge understatement. Before retiring just a couple of months ago, the Argentine was a player capable of single-handedly winning a match whilst equally capable of winding up a whole fan base in the blink of an eye.

    His move across Manchester - from United to City in 2009 - understandably raised eyebrows but he didn't let the controversy affect his performances on the pitch. Although, during the 2011-12 season, Tevez and his manager at the time, Roberto Mancini, had an almighty falling out.

    Their feud came to a head when City travelled to Munich to face Bayern in the Champions League. With the German giants 2-0 in front, Mancini looked to his bench to bring Tevez into the action but the striker refused to go onto the pitch, having been frustrated at not being included from the start.

    After the game, the usually-calm Italian was livid, he said: "For me it’s a bad situation because it is impossible for a player to refuse to play and help the team. He was disappointed that he didn’t play but we play with 11 players. To do that is just impossible."

    Mancini then added: "He is finished for me. If I had my way he’d be out of the club.”

  • Thomas Tuchel Callum Hudson-Odoi Chelsea

    Thomas Tuchel & Callum Hudson-Odoi

    Callum Hudson-Odoi has found regular game time hard to come by at Chelsea despite signing a bumper contract in September 2019. He has struggled to fit into Thomas Tuchel's sytem and has often been played outside of his regular position in one of the two wing-back roles.

    However, in February of last year, the Blues boss brought the winger on at half-time for Tammy Abraham with Chelsea a goal behind against Southampton at St Mary's. Despite the visitors equalising through a Mason Mount penalty, Tuchel had seen enough from Hudson-Odoi and replaced him with 15 minutes left of the match.

    He didn't mince his words after the game when asked why he made the harsh decision to re-substitute the young forward. He told BT Sport: "We brought in Hudson, but with Hudson I was not happy with the energy and the attitude in the counter pressing so we decided to take him off again because we demand a lot, we demand 100% and I had the feeling he is not right in the shape where he can help us."

  • Dejan Lovren Liverpool Tottenham 2017

    Jurgen Klopp & Dejan Lovren

    Jurgen Klopp is widely considered one of the coaches with the best man management qualities in world football. So for that reason, it was very out-of-character when he singled Dejan Lovren out for criticism following Liverpool's heavy 4-1 defeat against Tottenham at Wembley in October 2017.

    It was far from the Croatian's best game in a Reds shirt and he was culpable for both of the home side's opening goals; missing a header for the first and missing the ball in a similar fashion for the second. While public shame is never the correct way to address a poor performance, Liverpool supporters totally resonated with Klopp's post-match comments.

    "It was just really bad, bad, bad defending," said the German. "The second [goal], a counter attack, when the ball passes Lovren it is already too late. If I am involved in this situation on the pitch, then Harry cannot get the ball. It wouldn't happen if I was on the pitch, but I am in the middle of the technical area in trainers."

  • Nuno Tavares Arsenal 2021-22

    Mikel Arteta & Nuno Tavares

    The 2021-22 season was an extremely eventful one for Arsenal for a number of reasons. Rarely has an individual campaign been full of so many impressive runs as well as so many barren spells.

    In the midst of one of the latter, the Gunners were dumped out of the FA Cup by Nottingham Forest who, at the time, were playing their football in the Championship. None of the Arsenal players had a night to remember but one, in particular, had a real evening to forget.

    Having featured in a number of Premier League games, Nuno Tavares was handed a start by Mikel Arteta but he was replaced by Kieran Tierney after just 35 minutes. It's safe to say the young left-back wasn't happy to be replaced so early!

  • Joe Hart Manchester City bench

    Pep Guardiola & Joe Hart

    Pep Guardiola has firmly established himself among the greatest managers to ever coach in the Premier League following the success he has already enjoyed at Manchester City. Although, he got off on the wrong foot with supporters when he decided to drop title-winning goalkeeper Joe Hart.

    The former England number one's lack of ability to play as a sweeper-keeper was his undoing in the Spaniard's eyes, and he was replaced by Willy Caballero and then Claudio Bravo.

    Unhappy with being demoted, Hart made a loan move to Torino but - after leaving Manchester - he was never able to recreate the form that had made him one of the world's best shot stoppers.

  • Emmanuel Eboue Arsenal

    Arsene Wenger & Emmanuel Eboue

    Emmanuel Eboue was seen as something of a cult hero during the seven years he spent at Arsenal. He made more than 200 appearances for the Gunners between 2004 and 2011, an impressive return for a player who was often scapegoated by the fans as the weak link in the team.

    However, one of his worst moments in an Arsenal shirt came in December 2008 when he was brought onto the pitch in a totally unfamiliar left midfield role. Unsurprisingly, the right-back turned in a horrendous cameo on the opposite flank and, when Arsene Wenger decided he needed to be replaced, the Ivorian was booed by the home fans.

    After the match, the iconic Arsenal manager said: “I felt he had completely lost confidence, he couldn’t keep the ball anymore, and then he became a danger.

    "The crowd was very hard with him but that was not the most important thing in the game. He’s a sensitive boy and he cares about the club. When you have the crowd on your back it is difficult."

  • Jose Mourinho Luke Shaw Manchester United

    Jose Mourinho & pretty much everyone he's managed!

    Jose Mourinho is one of the most loved and most hated characters in world football. He's played a number of different roles impeecably, from the charming man who announced himself as 'The Special One', all the way down to public enemy number one during his times at Manchester United and Tottenham.

    A number of his players would have happily run through a brick wall for him but, for those that weren't willing to make the necessary sacrifices, they would often be called out publicly. He had an extremely public love-hate relationship with Ricardo Carvalho, while he repeatedly tore strips off Luke Shaw during press conferences at Old Trafford.

    When his Tottenham side let a lead slip against Newcastle towards the end of his tenure in north London, Mourinho claimed it was the "same coach, different players". The public criticising of his players still hasn't stopped during his time at Roma, but the Portuguese icon continues to get a tune out of his squad.

    He masterminded yet another European triumph during the 2021-22 season as he became the first manager to win the UEFA Conference League, completing his set having won the Champions League (at Porto & Inter) and the Europa League (at Porto & Manchester United).