The news broke yesterday that Brazil manager Tite signed a new, four-year contract extension. This was a bit shocking considering Brazil, while making the World Cup quarterfinal, were underwhelming and disappointing in the competition. What the extension and federation said, however, reveals why some managers fail at their primary goal and yet still keep their position. More so, the reasoning explains why some clubs should overlook setbacks to build to long-term gain.
Anyone watching Brazil could see they were not the Brazil we are used to seeing at the World Cup. While generally defensively sound, they lacked the flair and incisive scoring that made them a joy to watch. In a tournament where stars generally shined, Neymar came out of it diminished. In this light, it would be understandable if Brazil moved on to a new manager, despite Tite’s excellent record.
Instead, Brazil is keeping both the manager and sporting director on through the next cycle. In announcing the extension, federation CEO Rogerio Caboclo cited that the two had “shown their alignment to the values we hold dear at the CBF”. He went on to praise their work in building a culture of success that needed to continue.
Brazil, the most successful World Cup nation ever, just dismissed the results of one tournament to establish long-term success. Instead, they recognized that stability from quality management would bring results long-term results. This is almost unheard of in international football but even more so at the club level. Yet national teams now are routinely keeping managers despite failures. This is why Joachim Löw remains manager for Germany despite not progressing from the group stage. At a time of turmoil and finger-pointing, Löw is a presence that creates a culture that’s overall positive for the German national team.
For too long, we fans dismiss the non-statistical factors of why a manager keeps their job. We see the points or results and judge their worthiness based solely on that. Instead, if we look at managers like Tite for Brazil, or Klopp for Borussia Dortmund, or Wenger for Arsenal during the new stadium construction, these managers brought a player-positive stability to the players despite external circumstances. Management in these cases knew these managers created a culture that could handle outside pressures and would eventually succeed. Of course, management has been wrong and stayed too long with managers proven loyal and moderately successful during the low points. However, creating culture players adapt and thrive in can bring long-term success beyond short-term struggles.
In the modern club game, with so much money to be won for winning promotion or gaining a European competition place, it is too easy for management to hire and fire based on the current standings. Patience, however, can achieve glory and even more earnings over a longer time period if management can find the right manager and give them the tools to succeed.