In addition to the myriad tactical and personnel challenges that come with the job, football managers must also be able to carefully manage the expectations of their team, not only among the players, but also the fans and media, and maneuvering the space between those entities, to ensure that what is being said in public does not negatively impact internal messaging.
Liverpool fans are well acquainted with this phenomenon, having gone from the self-defeating depths of Roy Hodgson, via the self-aggrandising musings of Brendan Rodgers, to the anachronistically straight-forward Klopp era over the course of less than a decade.
Enter Marco Silva. The former Hull, Watford and Everton manager is hosting the Reds for the Premier League’s opening fixture at Craven Cottage on Saturday, but if the Portuguese is to be believed, his Fulham side has little chance of getting much from the game.
“No,” the 47-year old told West London Sport when asked if Fulham are ready for the new season. “These players, they are ready for the Premier League. The players that we have right now, I congratulate them for the work they have been doing.
“We, as a squad, we are not ready. These players, they are ready.
“I have to tell you,” the manager continued. “And I don’t want to speak for too much time about the situation, I want to be clear with you; now we have 16 senior players in our squad. No-one competes at this level with 16 senior players in your squad.
“I will tell you one more. No-one can prepare for one season with just two central defenders. We have two central defenders at this level.
“I can continue, and I will not stop, but I don’t want to talk more about it. I’m talking because you ask me. (...) We cannot be five weeks into the pre-season with two central defenders. We can’t be competitive in this situation and I can talk more positions as well but this will not help at all.”
To what extent this is Silva getting his excuses in early for a potential beating at home to start the season, is having a go at Fulham’s money men for failing to provide the players necessary to maintain Premier League status when May rolls around, or is attempting to take the pressure of his players is unclear, but one would hope that his attitude is not reflected on the training pitch, or there is serious risk that his tenure will fail to reach the 18 month mark for the fourth time in four jobs.
On Liverpool’s end, nothing will be made of this, of course, and the squad will prepare for Fulham like they would any other side; as the first of many obstacles standing in the way of silverware, glory and parades. The lads love parades.