In order to better understand football managers, we watch them work on the pitch, see how they interact with players and fans and, last but not least, listen in on their press conferences. Most of the time this can prove quite boring, however, as the generic answers tend to become repetitive and uninspiring. Luckily, there are other moments and interviews which prove to be as fascinating as they are revealing. Here are some managers’ quotes and thoughts that our Top Eleven team considers particularly interesting.
11. Arsene Wenger on his playing style:
My job is to give people who work hard all week something to enjoy on Saturdays and Wednesdays.
Arsenal’s legendary manager Arsene Wenger takes prides in his work and certainly considers it an artform. Although he doesn’t have as many titles as he might have hoped for, the Frenchman’s philosophy has always had a deeper meaning to it, as illustrated by this quote.
10. Pep Guardiola on his methodology:
I sit down and watch videos. I take notes. That’s when that inspiration comes – the moment that makes sense of my profession. The instant I know, for sure, that I’ve got it. I know how to win. It’s the moment that my job becomes truly meaningful.
Many who have watched Guardiola do his work note that he is a somewhat restless spirit, always looking for ways to better his teams, thinking up ideas even when the rest of us are unaware of it. Manchester City’s future boss is driven by an unearthly passion for all things related to football.
9. Jurgen Klopp on Mario Goetze joining Bayern:
He’s leaving because he’s Guardiola’s favourite. If it’s anyone’s fault, it’s mine. I can’t make myself shorter and learn Spanish.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is known for his good-humoured remarks, and this quote of his is no exception. It’s looking as if the German might never change, which we wouldn’t want to happen anyway.
8. Rafa Benitez on referees allegedly making calls in favour of Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson in the Premier League:
We need to know that I am talking about facts, not my impression. There are things that everyone can see every single week.
Rafa Benitez rarely had it easy during his time in Liverpool. During a particularly stressful period in the Premier League, he exploded in a press conference and started pointing his finger at what he thought were biased referees. Sir Alex Ferguson responded by saying Rafa had lost the plot.
7. Johann Cruyff sums up his footballing philosophy:
Football is simple, but it is difficult to play simple.
Watching footage of Johann Cruyff in his playing days is truly inspiring. It really makes sense of this quote describing football as “simple”. The Dutchman is probably the only person on the planet who can say something like that and truly mean it.
6. Jose Mourinho on Arsene Wenger:
He is a specialist in failure.
Sparks between managers are always interesting to witness – Top Eleven’s very own Jose Mourinho was very open about his former counterpart and rival Arsene Wenger. No wonder this is one of the most famous quotes in modern football.
5. Brian Clough on himself:
I wouldn’t say I was the best manager in the business. But I was in the top one.
Brian Clough, known for his succes with Derby and Nottingham Forest, “two struggling provincial clubs with little prior history of success” (as worded by the Guardian), sure didn’t lack confidence in his public speeches.
4. Sir Alex Ferguson on his motivation:
My greatest challenge is not what’s happening at the moment, my greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their f*****g perch. And you can print that.
Some managers are motivated by success, others by rivalry and the sheer competitiveness of football. You can probably guess what made Sir Alex Ferguson so relentless in his pursuit of glory.
3. Bill Shankly on what makes football great:
Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I’m very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.
Liverpool legend Bill Shankly is known for a lot of his quotes, but this one is probably the most well known. We can all agree there is something greater than life to be found in football, can’t we?
2. Ian Holloway on Cristiano Ronaldo:
He’s six foot something, fit as a flea, good looking – he’s got to have something wrong with him. Hopefully he’s hung like a hamster – That would make us all feel better. Having said that, me missus has got a pet hamster at home, and his c***’s massive.
Former Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway has always had a way with words and we’re not entirely sure if this quote merits further explanation or not. Better just leave it as it is.
1. Jose Mourinho on himself:
Please don’t call me arrogant, but I’m European champion and I think I’m a Special One.
Jose Mourinho makes another entry on our list, taking the number one spot with this instant classic of a press conference. His Champions League triumph with Porto in 2004 was just a sign of things to come, and he knew it. Classic Mourinho.
What are your favorite manager quotes of all time? You can tell us in the Top Eleven comments section!