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Top 3 iconic press conferences of all time

Published: Updated: 07:39, 29 Mar 2023
Sporticos will be looking at three of the most iconic pressers of all time

The job of a manager in football is the toughest by far. More than the players, it is the coach that is held accountable when something goes wrong on the pitch. The manager also must also ‘manage’ the journalists who are often relentless with their questions but it is also the press duties of a coach that brings the best out of him off the pitch. In the past, we have seen numerous coaches deliver some breathtaking yet entertaining press conferences. The likes of Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola, Antonio Conte, Thomas Tuchel, and Rafael Benitez have had their fair share of moments in these pressers and so let us have a look at three of the most iconic pressers of all time.

1. Jose Mourinho – Football heritage

This article would be incomplete if I did not mention Jose Mourinho’s iconic press conference from when he was in charge of Manchester United. The former Real Madrid manager did not hide anything from the press and highlighted all the shortcomings at Old Trafford while drawing a comparison to bitter rivals Manchester City. To make matters even fierier, Mourinho said that City had a better footballing heritage (well, indirectly). He said that City's investments from the past have paid off in comparison to United's. 

"There is something that I used to call football heritage - I try to translate from my Portuguese, which is almost perfect to my English that is far from perfect. But translation, word by word is something like football heritage and what a manager inherits is something like is that the last time Manchester United won the Champions League, which didn't happen a lot of times, was in 2008. The (last) final was 2011."

The press conference was in response to United’s exit from the UEFA Champions League in 2018 at home, against Sevilla. His basic aim was clear; he simply wanted to highlight that United was declining and he wasn’t to blame. Throughout his managerial career, Mourinho has thrown up some excellent box-office stuff and perhaps that is why he is indeed the ‘Special One’.

To this date, Mourinho claims that finishing second to Manchester City back in 2017/18 with the problems at Old Trafford remains one of his better achievements. And, he has won the UEFA Champions League twice.

Mourinho would soon go on and leave the club later that year following a 3-1 loss to Liverpool. But, his iconic press conference will always live on in the memory of United fans, who feel he was right after all. 

2. Rafa Benitez – The infamous rant at Sir Alex Ferguson

Liverpool-Manchester United fixtures are always high voltage, and the former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez was having none of Sir Alex Ferguson’s intended mind games ahead of the marquee clash back in 2009. He spent an entire press conference highlighting a series of facts while addressing his opposite number as ‘Mr. Ferguson’ every time. It was clear that there was some tension brewing between the two before, but this press conference proved that.

It all started when Sir Alex Ferguson complained about United’s fixture list ahead of their clash with Liverpool, at a time when the Reds were at the top of the table. Towards the end of the season though, the Merseyside outfit would eventually get overtaken by United.

“I was surprised by what has been said, but maybe they [Manchester United] are nervous because we are at the top of the table.”

“But I want to talk about facts. I want to be clear, I do not want to play mind games too early, although they seem to want to start. But I have seen some facts.’ 

Benitez would then go on to leave Liverpool in 2010, following his worst-ever campaign with the Reds. He joined Inter Milan after leaving Liverpool but was sacked midway through his first season and in an ironic twist of events, he would return to Merseyside years later, but to manage Everton, Liverpool's bitter rivals. 

 1. Antonio Conte – 11 selfish players

Antonio Conte did no other Tottenham Hotspur manager has done in the past. The Italian tactician was visibly upset by his side’s 3-3 showing at Southampton earlier this month and he did not mince any words in the press conference after the game.

Conte highlighted that the team lacks a winning mentality, and he accused his players of not playing for the badge. He called his players ‘selfish’ as well.

“We are 11 players that go into the pitch. I see selfish players; I see players that don't want to help each other and don't put their heart.”

"But here we're used to it for a long time (not winning). The club has the responsibility for the transfer market, every coach that stayed here has the responsibility. And the players? The players? Where are the players? In my experience, I can tell you that if you want to be competitive, if you want to fight, you have to improve this aspect. And this aspect, I can tell you, in this moment is really, really low. And I see only 11 players that play for themselves."

Conte’s future at Spurs is currently up in the air with many claiming that the former Chelsea boss has lost his dressing room following the heated press conference. It is also believed that Spurs are already on the hunt for a new manager and could look to replace Conte before the international break ends.

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