Eriksson blames media for ruining his reputation
Sven-Goran Eriksson believes media intrusion into his private life during his time as England manager affected his chances of getting other big jobs.
Eriksson, now coaching Guangzhou in China, was in charge of England from 2001 to 2006, leading them to two World Cup quarter-finals and the same stage at the European Championship.
He achieved a degree of infamy during his time in England, becoming a target for the tabloid press, not least when England’s fortunes on the pitch were at a low ebb.
“There were a lot of articles about things other than football,” said Eriksson, who was publicising his autobiography ‘Sven: My Story‘.
“I became a hot potato – a little too hot for many. But the same has happened to many other national team coaches.
“Before I got the (England) job I was seen as a great coach. Then after five-and-a-half years, the offers don’t come. All of a sudden I had become a poor coach.”
No, all of a sudden you became a greedy coach. The perception, heightened when Eriksson accepted a provisional offer to become manager of Manchester United – only to subsequently accept an improved offer from England – was that your motivation had drifted away from tactics and gravitated towards personal enrichment. A perception that has not really altered in the intervening years.
“When I was in England, there were a lot of things said and written – mostly written – about my private life. Some of it was true, but an awful lot of it wasn’t,” the Swede told Reuters.
“So when I decided to write the book, I wanted to correct that part of it. It wouldn’t have been good to write a book and not cover the things that were written about me in England.”
Eriksson denied he had lost his touch as a coach during his time as England boss, and said: “One gets a little burned, especially in my case.
“They (the media) are always searching for something.
“(Former England manager and Eriksson’s successor) Steve McClaren opened an umbrella and there was uproar. They always find something.
“I suppose (current England coach) Roy Hodgson has done OK, but they’re always digging for something.”
They are, but they usually stop digging if England actually deliver results.
After once being considered one of the elite football coaches, Eriksson’s recent appointments have been less-than-stellar. He attributes that to a bad career choice he made in 2008.
“When I left Manchester City I had an offer from Benfica and from Mexico, and I chose Mexico. That was a mistake,” he said.
“If you want to be on the big football stage, that is Europe. Benfica are not the biggest club in Europe, but they are a big club that always play in the Champions League or the Europa League. If you go to Mexico, you’re quickly forgotten.
“There’s nobody in Europe who knows. ‘Svennis went to Mexico, who are they playing against?’ They don’t know.”
After leaving Mexico, Eriksson was involved in a short-lived project as director of football at Notts County before taking over as coach of the Ivory Coast and then at Leicester City.
That was followed by spells at Thai club BEC Tero and Al Nasr in Dubai before he arrived at Guangzhou.