Mixed reactions to touchline behaviour of EPL managers

Juergen Klopp and Pep Guardiola’s angry touchline rants during Sunday’s stormy Premier League clash between Liverpool and Manchester City have put the behaviour of managers in the spotlight ahead of a midweek round of fixtures.

In a game beamed to hundreds of millions around the world, Liverpool’s Klopp was shown a red card for angrily berating match officials in the second half after a foul was not given on Egyptian striker Mohamed Salah.

Guardiola, whose side lost 1-0, was equally furious when a goal by Phil Foden was ruled out for a foul following a VAR check, yelling at referee Anthony Taylor.

The antics of both managers attracted criticism from Ref Support UK, a leading charity which offers support to referees in grassroots football where abuse is common.

“When you see world-recognised figures like Juergen Klopp and Pep Guardiola behaving like that, it is then replicated by people in youth football and perpetuates the idea that it is OK to do it,” Ref Support UK CEO Martin Cassidy said.

Klopp apologised after the game, saying he deserved his red card, and on Tuesday, the Football Association charged him with improper conduct, saying he had until Friday to respond.

He did receive backing from fellow managers though with West Ham United’s David Moyes saying, he hopes the German would be on the touchline on Wednesday when his side travel to Anfield for a Premier League fixture.

“For 90 minutes or so, it becomes a really emotional game. Sometimes, you can change your character from what your true character is. If you look at the incident, he was probably right. I hope Jurgen is in the dugout. We want to play against the best. We have great respect for referees but I hope they understand that for 90 minutes we can lose our heads a bit” Moyes told reporters on Tuesday.

Everton manager Frank Lampard said that 99.9% of the time managers conduct themselves properly but that key decisions going against his team could “throw you”.

“We have a responsibility, I understand that. There’s also a microscope put on managers in the modern day and we’re in highly pressurised jobs. The amount of pressure we come under and the decisions that go against you can throw you,” Lampard, whose side face Newcastle United on Wednesday, told reporters.

Lampard also said he did not believe there was a link between the conduct of Premier League managers and referees being abused in recreational games.

“I don’t draw that line, but I understand the responsibility,” he said.

But Newcastle’s Eddie Howe, one of the calmer managers, said he was aware that his behaviour needed to set an example.

“I can’t say I will never lose my emotions because you never know what the future holds but I certainly try not to. I am very aware that I am going to be looked at by millions of children and you have an expectation to make sure the game is upheld in the right way with the right spirit,” he said.

Liverpool’s match against City was not the only top-flight game in which referees were harangued by players at the weekend, with incidents at Manchester United, Southampton and Leeds United.

Former England striker and now BBC presenter Gary Lineker supports calls for action, saying incidents where players angrily surround referees should result in yellow cards.

“It’ll be carnage for a few weeks, but they’ll learn like they do, like they did with kicking players, you can’t do it anymore. It would work, I’m convinced of that,” he said.

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