Ben Burgess column: why give rivals even more motivation in derbies?

Ben Burgess
Ben Burgess
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There were two great, passionate and entertaining local derbies played last weekend.

ddThere were two great, passionate and entertaining local derbies played last weekend.

The first was Liverpool v Everton at Anfield, and the clash of the enigmatic Jurgen Klopp and the battle-hardened Sam Allardyce.

Liverpool entered the game on the back of some big-scoring victories and Klopp felt he didn’t need Philippe Coutinho in his starting 11.

He massively underestimated the importance of a derby in English football.

I understand the need for squad rotation in modern football because it is far more demanding and intense than it used to be, but you do not see Kevin de Bruyne, Paul Pogba, Eden Hazard and Harry Kane getting much rest.

As a player, you always understood the importance of a game by the team the manager would put out.

And if the opposition ‘rested’ players, it would give you a fresh impetus to show they had made a mistake.

At Blackpool, we beat many teams in the Cup and in the League who had not taken us seriously, mainly due to the fact it gave us extra motivation and that’s exactly what happened to Everton.

They soaked up the pressure from Liverpool and promptly followed their game-plan (that was expertly set out by Big Sam), equalising late on to grab a vital point.

The second derby was at Old Trafford and pitted two of the most successful managers of all time together, one with a complete belief in his philosophy of total football, the other a master of outwitting opponents and getting important results.

Total football was the winner on the pitch but it sounded like the entertainment continued into the changing rooms.

The Manchester City players were pictured celebrating ‘enthusiastically’, which obviously riled the always gracious and unassuming Jose.

It’s alleged that he entered the City dressing room and a huge altercation ensued with players and staff that also (strangely) involved milk.

This type of story goes to show the passion in these guys.

It doesn’t matter how much they earn, they all want to win and will celebrate and fight their corner if they have to.

I’ve seen lots of fights in changing rooms between team-mates, I’ve seen managers try to attack players and I’ve even seen angry confrontations between staff members.

These incidents happen because they all care.

In Jose’s defence, there is nothing worse than playing badly and being slumped in the dressing room listening to a party next door.

If his players had shown a bit of that aggression, then they may have been able to get near City on the pitch.

Thankfully, I’ve also experienced it the other way around, like the crazy scenes at the City Ground when we beat Nottingham Forest in the Play-offs or even at Deepdale after ‘Super’ Wes Hoolahan had earned us a 1-0 win on enemy territory.

The worst people in those situations are the players who act tough on the pitch and in the tunnel because they know that they will always have team-mates to split up any possible fights.

From the reports at Old Trafford, Romelu Lukaku appeared to have been one of those players trying to get involved from the back of a melee of people.

If they had let him in, there is a good chance he wouldn’t have been able to hit anyone anyway after the less than impressive 90 minutes he had trudged through.