EPL

Gattuso reveals 'hurt' of failure to land Spurs job due to online backlash

By Sports Desk July 19, 2021

Gennaro Gattuso admitted the circumstances that led to his failure to land the Tottenham job "hurt more than any defeat or dismissal".

It was reported a sustained online backlash from Spurs fans over the prospect of Gattuso, 43, succeeding Jose Mourinho as Tottenham head coach resulted in the club pulling the plug. 

The protests were, in part, down to the former Italy midfielder's controversial past comments on racism, women in football and same-sex marriage.

Tottenham subsequently appointed Nuno Espirito Santo as their new coach on June 30.

"It was a huge disappointment, but I wasn't described the way I am and there was nothing I could do," Gattuso told Il Messaggero.

"I am sorry I could not defend myself and explain that I am not the person they were talking about in England.

"I had to accept a story that hurts more than any defeat or dismissal, in a moment when we don't want to understand how dangerous the internet can be."

Gattuso left Napoli when the Serie A season ended in May and was named as Fiorentina boss a matter of days later, only to leave La Viola by mutual agreement on June 17 before his contract was due to commence.

He won 46 of his 81 games in charge of Napoli, giving him a win percentage of 56.8 – better than Rafael Benitez (52.7 per cent) and Carlo Ancelotti (52.1 per cent) but worse than Ottavio Bianchi (56.9 per cent) and Maurizio Sarri (66.2 per cent).

 

Gattuso felt he was the victim in an online campaign where he had no platform to respond to the claims – though he had no desire to create a social media account.

"Certain malice comes from Facebook or Twitter, where it is possible to give strength to any falsehood," he added.

"I don't have social media profiles and I don't want them.

"Why should I let them insult me for anything? I don't even have Instagram. 

"I don't understand, if I drink a bottle of wine, what's the point of taking a picture to let others know. It's my business."

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    Jadon Sancho's arrival at Manchester United was initially heralded as something of a game changer for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, their right-wing problems set to be a thing of the past with the England international seemingly guaranteeing goals and creativity. 

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    Digging into Sancho's form after just four Premier League appearances probably seems a little premature. Maybe it is, but his slow start is certainly a talking point from United's perspective. 

    There could be any number of reasons for Sancho taking a little longer to get up to speed than hoped, such as a shortened pre-season after Euro 2020, adapting to a new system and team-mates, or even a loss of confidence following his spot-kick woes in the European Championship final. 

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    It must be highlighted again that Sancho's first four Premier League matches represent a small sample size, so you obviously have to be a little cautious when it comes to drawing conclusions – after all, he could potentially score a hat-trick against West Ham and his record of three goals from five games would look pretty handy. 

    Nevertheless, Sancho's early-season numbers certainly reflect the idea he is not offering a great deal to United. In fact, in terms of productivity, he's significantly down even on that difficult first few months of 2020-21. 

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    Even when deemed to be struggling last season, Sancho's xA value per key pass was almost three times as high (0.32). Of course, Sancho was in surroundings that were familiar to him and linking with players whose habits and characteristics he was more comfortable with, and there's a lot to be said for the value of cohesion, especially when things aren't going your way. 

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    Building a natural familiarity can only be even more of a challenge when you appear devoid of confidence. We can only speculate as to why that may be the case, but it is a reasonable assumption to make that he is lacking in self-belief. 

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    But when it comes to attaining some confidence, Sancho might just need to take the odd leap of faith – he is playing it safe and that is not what United bought him for. 

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