Football managers who blame the pitch for defeat - Tuchel, Klopp, Enrique and more…

Football pitch maintenance is a multi-million pound business that only goes wrong when teams lose...funny that. Chelsea's Thomas Tuchel is the latest manager who thinks the green stuff is against him.

Chelsea's 4-2 defeat to Arsenal this week was apparently less to do with the players' performances and more to do with the playing surface at Stamford Bridge, according to their boss Thomas Tuchel.

In his post-match interview Tuchel said "the pitch is not in our favour" and "it is a very, very difficult pitch that we have here" seemingly using it as an excuse to sub off Andreas Christensen at half-time after his mishit backpass let Eddie Nketiah score for the Gunners.

This isn't the first time a manager has come out with some crazy reasoning why their team didn't win or weren't at their best, so here at Planet Sport we take a look at some of the best examples of pitch-related moaning that is bound to put all hard-working groundspeople in a foul mood.

Jurgen Klopp

Jurgen Klopp Liverpool Feb22

The King of Excuses. Jurgen Klopp has come out with some gold in the past including the weather being too windy, the TV broadcasters cutting the match short and even his goalkeeper having too cold feet.

Therefore, it is no surprise that the German has made the slightly more boring accusation that the pitch was at fault in the past. When Liverpool blew away a two-goal lead against already relegated West Brom in 2018, Klopp told West Brom to enjoy their dry pitch in the Championship.

He even managed to direct a dig at their opponents style of play: "If you're like West Brom, the ball constantly in the air, you don't need a wet pitch."

We feel like Klopp may have been embarrassed more than anything after a woeful Baggies side managed to come away with a 2-2 draw thanks to goals from Jake Livermore and Salomon Rondon.

Mark Warburton

Mark Warburton QPR boss Mar22

QPR manager Mark Warburton blamed a dry playing surface for their defeat to Birmingham City in February 2021.

The Championship match clash finished 2-1 in the favour of Birmingham, even though Rangers even took a 1-0 lead into half time...when the pitch was probably fine? Goals from Kristian Pedersen and Alen Halilovic gave the home side all three points.

After the game, Warburton went on a rampage, saying "the pitch is dry, rutted and it's a really difficult playing surface for good players."

Luis Enrique

Luis Enrique

In one of the less memorable matches from the delayed Euro 2020 tournament, three times champions Spain opened with a drab 0-0 draw against a stubborn Sweden outfit.

Despite making a record-breaking 419 first half passes and 917 in total over 90 minutes, Spain could not make their 85% possession count and Enrique went to the perfectly cut 25mm blades of grass for his excuse.

"The pitch didn't help us, I saw players of the highest quality struggling to move the ball around and in the dressing room the players were complaining about it too," he said.

Spain did have home advantage after Sevilla's La Cartuja stadium played host to the fixture but it still fell short of Enrique's expectations. La Roja made it to the semi-final stage, only to be knocked out by eventual champions Italy, on penalties.

Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino

Former Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino is responsible for the first instance of pitch size being to blame for a poor result and the abuse was aimed at his team's home ground, White Hart Lane.

At the start of the 2014/15 season, Spurs had lost three of their first five home games and their boss pointed the finger at the tight playing space they had to work with. Tottenham had the third smallest pitch in the Premier League and Poch said that it was affecting his team's results.

"Our style means we need a bigger space to play because we play a positional game," Pochettino said. "It's true that White Hart Lane is a little bit tight and it's better for the opponent when they play deep."

Roy Hodgson

A throwback all the way to 1997 now as then-Blackburn Rovers manager Roy Hodgson launched an attack on the Ewood Park groundsman and said that the state of the pitch cost Rovers a victory.

Ironically the previous season, Steve Patrick, Blackburn's groundsman, won the groundsman of the year award but that meant very little to Hodgson, who was fuming post match.

After drawing 2-2 with Crystal Palace, Hodgson complained a divot had helped the Eagles take a 2-1 after a weak header from former Rover Paul Warhurst was fumbled into the goal by Tim Flowers. "The last time I saw a goal like that was in schoolboy football," he said.

At least he was honest.

David Moyes

West Ham manager David Moyes

The West Ham manager said that the London Stadium pitch was at fault as Crystal Palace twice came back to rescue a draw in the opening weeks of the current Premier League season.

Even though the Hammers had beaten Leicester City impressively 4-1 just five days before on the same pitch, Moyes said that the actual playing surface was completely different.

"I've got to say the pitch is very poor, the pitch at the London Stadium is really, really poor. It's not an excuse because we played very well on it on Monday night. Today in the dry, a bit of heat it is not good."

Those issues seemed to have been ironed out for the Hammers in the months after, with the club reaching the Europa League semi-finals and are still pushing for a European place for a second consecutive season.

Thomas Tuchel (again)

In fairness to Tuchel, Leeds' pitch was flagged up by many players and managers during the 2020/21 season, with the pitch seemingly disintegrating underneath players' feet and being far from an ideal playing surface.

However, Tuchel's rant about the Elland Road pitch came after the surface had been improved and was causing less of an issue for players. This rage could have been because his Chelsea outfit could only manage a 0-0 draw in West Yorkshire, but he still made his views about the underfoot conditions clear in the post-match interview.

"The pitch was poor today…the pitch was very difficult to play, very slippery, very bouncy," he said. This came after his team failed to come up with a goal from 15 shots, in what was far from a vintage display from the Blues.

Tuchel has been known to defend his players at all costs and blaming the pitch seems to be the easy excuse out for the 48-year-old. But with Klopp and Tuchel leading the way with their pitch complaints, maybe they believe German pitches are in a better state than then British ones? 

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