Reason Why ‘Liverpool manager’s man management was horrendous – he didn’t speak to anyone’

'Liverpool manager's man management was horrendous – he didn't speak to anyone'

Rafael Benitez has come in for stinging criticism from one of his former players (Image: Getty Images)

One of former players of Rafa Benitez, who went on to “hate” the Champions League-winning coach, has attacked the former manager of Liverpool, Chelsea, and Newcastle.

A former Liverpool player claimed that Rafa Benitez had “zero” man-management abilities and hardly spoke to his players.

After winning the FA Cup and Champions League during his six-year tenure at Anfield, the Spaniard is still revered in the red half of Merseyside. Later on, he made a comeback to the Premier League, spending time with Chelsea, Newcastle, and—most controversially—Everton.

Stephen Warnock, a former player for the Reds who made his debut under the former Valencia manager, has been very critical of Benitez. Now a pundit for Sky Sports, Warnock remembers being infuriated by Benitez’s treatment of some players, including himself.

He said nothing to anyone. Warnock stated, “His man-management was horrendous, absolutely horrendous,” on the podcast Undr The Cosh. I’ve told a lot of people that [he is] a master tactician. Human-centered management? None. I have no idea how to talk to anyone at all.

Warnock claimed that a specific incident that occurred prior to the 2005 Champions League final encapsulated the Spaniard’s lack of people skills. “Istanbul was an utter disgrace, the way he treated me and a couple of the other boys, but he didn’t care,” he went on.

“There was a Champions League final two weeks after the season. Thus, we spent two weeks preparing for that. Then, we were on our way to Istanbul two days prior.

After training, a squad list consisting of your first 11 players and seven substitutes would be posted. You could tell if you were on the field or the bench.

“I recall thinking, ‘Please be in,’ as I ran in following the most recent training session. My name was listed on the squad list when I looked at it. “F****** hell, Champions League final, I’m on the bench or playing,” was my thought at the time.

Reason Why 'Liverpool manager's man management was horrendous – he didn't speak to anyone'

Stephen Warnock has admitted he grew to “hate” Rafa Benitez at Liverpool ( Image: Undr The Cosh)

“I gave the family a call and instructed them to purchase airline tickets. As I was preparing everything at home, Pako Ayestaran—who was currently ranked number two—called me on my phone. “We made a mistake with the squad, you’re not in it,” he says. I thought, “What?”

Warnock remembered another instance in which he had been left off the squad list and, as a result, had gone out for the evening, only to find out the following morning that he was scheduled to start. He reminisced, “I’d had a good night out, shots, the lot.”

“I was furious. When I told him about the night out, he responded that I was on the bench but had only entered the game for the last 20 minutes. Who takes that action? Who places you in that circumstance?

“He realized he had f***** up and respected the fact that I told him.” But he didn’t have the b******* to call me after the Istanbul one. I was furious and thought, “You f****** coward.”

Not only did Warnock lose out on a spot in the team that famously overcame AC Milan on penalties after trailing 3-0 at halftime, but he also lost out on a huge financial reward as each of the 18 players received a £200,000 bonus.

“I’m a Liverpool supporter who grew up standing on the Kop, so it was difficult for me,” Warnock continued. “I was furious, really, really angry. Rafa was the one I hated, not the team. Although I was thrilled for the boys, I was also furious with how everything had turned out.


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