It’s hard for many to understand the pressure a manager faces on a daily basis at a big Premier League club, but Brendan Rodgers came close to describing how that pressure, and then the lack of it, manifested itself in his mind.
In an interview with the BBC, the former Liverpool boss revealed he thought he was having a heart attack while on vacation in Dubai, shortly after being sacked as Liverpool manager in October 2015.
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“There was an incident when I left Liverpool and I went to Dubai a fortnight later,” Rodgers told the BBC. “I lay in fear one day thinking I was having a heart attack – maybe my mum’s condition affected me because she died of one. I was rushed to hospital and basically it was a reaction my body and chest was having in starting to condition itself in terms of not having that pressure.”
Since then, Rodgers has taken over at Celtic and guided the club to a treble, admitting that his experience with Liverpool has forced him to adjust how he deals with pressure.
“That made me sit up and ask myself how do you manage pressure, how to regulate it,” Rodgers said, adding that his mother died of a heart attack and his father died of cancer. “I needed to go and address it. I didn’t I think at the time (of managing Liverpool) there was any more or less pressure because you are so ingrained in it.”
“I felt during that seven-month period (break he took) I needed to reflect and then make sure in my next job that I could learn from the experience. You have got to have your health, happiness and energy back in order to succeed.”
It’s an important lesson for both fans of the game and managers that the pressures involved with playing and managing at the top level are very high, and some can’t deal with the weight of the importance.