One of the main teaching points in all my training workshops is that “First Impressions Count”. In my media training players, managers, administrators need to look the part so as not to create distractions. In my business communication training, senior executives need to inspire their employees, show leadership skills and create a structure for success.
So I thought I would apply this theory to the first two weeks of the season in the Premier League. My bullet points on the big 7 so far look like this:
Jose Mourinho and Man Utd: Looks like this is his team now, appears confident in this second season which is always so successful for him, but the team have still to prove they are not just bullies of lesser teams. Romelu Lukaku looks like he could be a missing link being fed by all that talent behind him.
Pep Guardiola and Man City: The pre-season favourites remain the favourites but still don’t look to be a cohesive unit and Pep’s uncomfortable relationship with the media in press conferences, in one-to-one interviews suggests he knows the team is not complete despite the millions spent. Should they still be chasing Jonny Evans in the last week of the transfer window?
Arsene Wenger and Arsenal: Lacazette looks to be a solid signing and should have two goals in two after having a perfectly good goal ruled out against Stoke. And yet the muddled thinking of previous campaigns is still evident and that Patrick Vieira type player in midfield is not there. Lack of leadership on the pitch.
Mauricio Pochettino and Spurs: Despite the defeat to Chelsea, he always appears confident, in control and there will be no panicking from the Spurs fans as a result. He has said the right things about playing at Wembley and while the bigger pitch may yet undermine another title bid, I still see a young squad which has togetherness, spirit and bags of talent.
Antonio Conte and Chelsea: A masterclass of media management when he got the giggles in response to another question about Diego Costa. It was a left field way of dealing with a thorny issue but had its effect and got the media coverage he wanted. To follow that up with the win over Spurs at Wembley strengthened his image and the champions will be galvanised after losing on the opening day.
Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool: The German’s ease with the media and his ability to charm whoever he is talking to is probably Liverpool’s biggest asset right now. They are without their best two players, Adam Lallana and Phillippe Coutinho and Klopp may yet lose the Brazilian before the week is out. He has clearly not sorted out his defensive frailties in the summer but Moreno’s replacement with Robertson is a step in the right direction and giving home-grown wonder boy Trent Alexander-Arnold two starts shows the Academy players have a chance to shine. TAA is one of the best strikers of a dead ball I’ve seen.
Ronald Koeman and Everton: Koeman is impressing everyone with his calmness, his refusal to get carried away and make wild predictions. He’s the first manager in some time to get the best out of Wayne Rooney in a position he likes most and the signing of Gylffi Sigurdsson looks inspired. The draw at City last night was so nearly a win and they look pretty solid in defence with Michael Keane at its heart.
First impressions are often wrong. The key to great communication is to get it right from the start and on that basis, should we give United the title now? In this fickle business of football fans have short memories, so for the big 7 this season, there is lots of time to get it right.