What on a stick?
Jorge Valdano's rather er graphic description of Liverpool and Chelsea's Champions League semi-final raises a few good points. Yes, the game was dreadful, and yes, both teams played low quality long ball football. Where Valdano was unfair is in his criticisms of Jose Mourinho and Rafael Benitez. His statement that it was because neither had played top-flight football is little more than narrow-minded nonsense. It shows a typical ex-pro's attitude to everyone else - if you have not played professional football then you know nothing about it.
Fortunately Valdano is wrong about that, playing the game does not necessarily mean you know more about it than someone who watches it. And it certainly does not make a difference to the style of football played. George Graham's Arsenal were hardly a flair team, whereas Arsene Wenger's Arsenal play fantastic football.
As for Jorge Valdano's criticisms of Jose and Rafa, well it just shows how stupid it is to base your opinions on one match. Benitez's Valencia and Mourinho's Porto both played good, flowing football. Yes both Liverpool and Chelsea resorted to the long ball in the semi-final but that is not indicative of the brand of football either coach really wants their team to play. It was simply about using the tactics they thought would win the game that was currently being played.
Mind English football is dismissed on the continent as long ball and technically weak, so the game just reinforced that perception. For Liverpool's sake I hope AC Milan dismiss them as a long ball team, I have a feeling they will regret Gennaro Gattuso's comments.
Article written by Tris Burke