I will love my club my whole life (Arsenal 3, Everton 1)

Only one significant story line was still alive on the final day and even this concluded as everyone had expected.

For Wenger it was “A sad day, the first time in 20 years we have not qualified for the Champions League.”

He could not bring himself to say the words “Europa League” and instead praised his players.

In the last 2 months his players had “responded in a strong way”, “they have learned” and “it is important to keep them together.”

Wengerm

Pressed on his own commitment to the club, Wenger said “I will love my club my whole life, even if I wanted I will not be capable to change that.”

His use of a tricolon adds rhetorical weight to his passion.

“My commitment. my loyalty and my love for the club cannot be questioned.”

The speculation about his future “was a big handicap for the team”. The team “played in a very hostile environment and more than ever we needed to stick together and be very strong together – that is why I tell you this group of people are remarkable and they deserve to be supported in a different way”.

Arsenal fans have only the cup final left to show they can support these remarkable people in a different way .

Leadership communication lesson

Pathos is the appeal to emotion and is the most powerful of the persuasive arts. To work its magic however it must be a shared emotion with the audience. Laughter, for example, is so powerful as it is the audience sharing an emotion together. Wenger, though,  is too far down the road with many Arsenal fans for pathos to have much impact and this is likely to become clear after the cup final.

 

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One more game, one more time (West Ham 0, Liverpool 4)

A convincing win for Liverpool in a game they could not afford to lose.

For Klopp the game was “Fantastic, but difficult.”

“The start was not that good – we gave away easy balls.”

Klopp gives a tactical reason for the challenges of the first half.

“With our new system, we played the diamond, so our second post was completely free.”

Klopp

Half-time provides Klopp with the opportunity to show the players “video analysis of 2 to 3 things” so they can understand the need to fill up the centre when playing with two wide strikers.

Klopp does though deflect praise for the impact of this decision, “It is not about the system, it is how the players use it.”

The rest of his interview is dedicated to managing expectation for the Middlesbrough game.

It is “One more game, one more time. We have a normal week. Recovery, preparation, we go against Middlesborough,”

Klopp uses Antithesis, putting together two opposite ideas in a sentence to achieve a contrasting effect:

“Middlesborough have nothing to lose, but we have everything to win”

Klopp’s focus is only on Liverpool.

“Counting points before you have them is really silly.”

“We will prepare ourselves and try to do our best.”

Leadership communication lesson

When to publicly take credit for a result is a challenge for many leaders. Take no credit and you may be unpleasantly surprised that others will take the same view. Take credit too publicly and you risk alienating the team you are dependent on. Klopp’s approach can be usefully adopted. When talking about success, look for a narrative that places your decisions at its heart, but focus on the excellence of your people. This will reassure your stakeholders and flatter your people.

The game was totally under control (Arsenal 2, Man Utd 0)

So this is how the 25 game unbeaten run ended.

A run that had seen the club move from the depths of despair in sixth to the dizzying heights of fifth.

In his post-match interview Mourinho wants to focus our attention on two aspects, the performance and the limitations on his squad.

He does this through braggadocio – elevating his praise for his players.

“I like individual performances and I also like the collective performance.”

“I cannot ask more from players who play not one second of football in the last seven weeks.”

“Jones, Smalling, Mata – amazing.”

“The kid the same – amazing job.”

MUAR

“We were good, well organised, played well, deserved to win and Arsenal were not better than us.”

“The game was totally under control.”

He ends with a joke at Arsenal’s expense and one that reminds every listener of his success as a manager.

“Finally, I leave the stadium with the Arsenal fans happy. It is the first time I see them smile and see them enjoy.”

Leadership communication lesson

Humour is a powerful communication tool. It stimulates emotions and builds on a common set of assumptions or knowledge between you and your audience – in this case Mourinho’s record against Wenger. Get your joke wrong, however, and you will lose the audience. If you are preparing for a speech or presentation and want to use humour, make sure you have tested it in advance. Ask a colleague the question, “Is it funny?” and, if not, cull it.