Graham Cummins: No benefit in pointing fingers when performance drops

12 managers were dismissed in the Premier League this season but blaming the players never works out
Graham Cummins: No benefit in pointing fingers when performance drops

Former Chelsea manager Graham Potter didn't last long in the hot seat. Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire.

WHO is to blame when a side is going through a bad run of results?

Is it the manager’s fault? Is he incapable of getting a tune from those taking to the pitch every week? 

Or is it the players to blame when negative results become a regular occurrence as they are the ones that take to the pitch and not the manager?

What has become apparent is that the supporters and owners are impatient to find out the answer to the question when their team is performing poorly, and it is often the manager that suffers the consequences, which strengthens the argument that it is the manager, and not the players, to blame when a team is going through a bad run of form. 


In the Premier League this season, there have been 12 managerial dismissals. 

The modern supporter automatically believes that the only solution to getting their team back on the right track is to dismiss the manager. 

They don’t care that there may not be a suitable candidate to replace the manager, just that anyone must be better than what they have, which as we have seen - Frank Lampard, Cristian Stellini, and Nathan Jones when he replaced Ralph Hasenhuttl as Southampton manager - is not always the case.

Frank Lampard is back at the Bridge. 
Frank Lampard is back at the Bridge. 

Supporters are quick to dismiss what a manager has achieved in the past. 

Spurs fans complained about Antonio Conte towards the end of his time in charge of the club, particularly about the style of play. 

It’s becoming more apparent that Conte was overachieving with a squad of poor players, and was doing what he had to to win games. 

Of course, there is the other side of the argument that it is the manager’s fault not the players, when you see how well Aston Villa and Crystal Palace are doing under Uni Emery and Roy Hodgson respectively. 

Fans will look at these examples of how managerial replacements are the only option for success and ignore the negative managerial replacements when it comes to wanting their manager replaced.

Of course it’s a lot cheaper to replace a manager than several players. 

Paying off managerial staff is going to be cheaper than paying up to nine players and then trying to find replacements for them. 

There is no definitive answer when it comes to who is to blame. It all depends on the circumstances. 

Sometimes supporters and owners need to realise that the players are simply not good enough and there isn’t much more a manager can do unless he is allowed to select his own players to strengthen a squad, rather than having players selected for him.

During my career, I’ve experienced two situations when managers have lost their jobs. I hate the saying ‘the players aren’t playing for the manager’ when a manager is on the brink of losing his job. 

Even in the best teams, playing for the manager is low on the players’ priorities. Players firstly play for themselves. They want to play well because they know that it can lead to an improved contract from their current club, or persuade wealthier clubs to purchase them. After themselves, they are playing for their family. 

They want their family members to go to games and feel pride because their son, husband, brother or father is doing well on the pitch. Then players are doing it for their teammates. Players are constantly being judged by teammates. 

There is always talk behind others' back in the dressing room, as players ridicule and question a teammate's ability. 

A teammate's praise is more satisfying than a manager's.

The only players that really ‘play for the manager’ are the two or three that the manager is in constant communication with as they are the link between the dressing room and the manager.

The others don’t care who the manager is as long as it is someone who treats them respectfully, which isn’t often the case as I have experienced.


The player's job isn’t to play for the manager, it's to play for the club. Players always have to perform otherwise they risk losing out on a better contract, or even a contract at all. 

Players need to be put under the microscope more when the team is underperforming. It’s too easy to point the figure at the manager. Some players neglect their responsibilities and don't prepare for games in the right manner. 

That's not me saying managers are blameless but players need to start taking more flack when results aren’t good enough.

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