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Robbie Savage claims Pellegrini 'sat tight' but United never have, Steven Howard dreams of treble gin and tonics and Carlton Palmer talks some absolute toss...

Last Updated: 21/02/14 at 12:29

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Hut Hut Hut
You know it's a slow news day when the Daily Mirror's back-page football splash is Paul Lambert telling Alan Hutton that he needs a loan move because his wages are too high for Aston Villa.

Stop The Press!

Savage Garden
On Tuesday, Manchester City Manuel Pellegrini said the following: "If we only consider this season, there is just one club in Manchester and it's ours but you cannot forget what United has done in the previous years."

We can't stress enough the need to read ALL of those words, because it seems a lot of people are struggling. Namely football 'writers' with papers to sell and columns to fill.

On Wednesday, Mediawatch groaned when Matthew Syed criticised Pellegrini for that quote. 'I hold no particular brief for United, but it feels wrong for a club that have dominated English football for more than 20 years, won three European Cups, and played such a defining role in the journey of English football to be so summarily dismissed because of a thus far poor season,' Syed wrote, handily forgetting that Pellegrini had said "if we only consider this season". See, we told you people had forgotten.

On Thursday, Mediawatch cried when Brian Reade criticised Pellegrini for his words. 'His decree that City were the only team in Manchester... was wrong and cringeful (sic),' Reade claimed, believing Joe Royle would have done a better job.

And so to Friday, four days after Pellegrini's now much-twisted quotes. And who's that coming over the hill with his view on the incident. Oh sh*t, it's Robbie Savage, and he's holding a copy of the Daily Mirror.

'Bigger than Man United?' screams the headline. 'Well they didn't conquer Europe by parking the bus.'

We're actually going to say it one more time. Pellegrini's "If we only consider this season, there is just one club in Manchester" quote didn't claim that City were a bigger club that United.

'I thought Pellegrini was brought in to inject more attacking swagger into City. There were people on Roberto Mancini's case for being too negative, so where does that leave his successor?' asks Savage.

For those that aren't aware (or can't be bothered to count), it leaves his successor on 117 goals this season, with 68 goals in 25 league games and 18 in their six group matches in the Champions League, including four against Bayern Munich. City are the only side in almost three years to score three goals against Bayern at the Allianz, and are now favourites to win three different trophies; they would become the first ever English side to win all three domestic trophies in the same season.

Meanwhile, Mancini's City scored just 66 in 38 league games and seven in their six group games last season. Anyone would think that Savage had waited until this moment to try and vindicate his friend. But perhaps we're just cynics.

'You can't tell me that Alex Ferguson or David Moyes would have ordered everyone behind the ball and sat tight.'

Woah there, Nelly. Rewind a second. David Moyes? David f*cking Moyes? Savage is right that we have no evidence of David Moyes 'ordering everyone behind the ball' against Barcelona, but that's mainly because he has never managed a team against Barcelona. We do, however, remember Untied 'sitting tight' in various parts of matches this season against the likes of Real Sociedad, Shakhtar Donetsk, Chelsea, Everton, Norwich, Arsenal and Cardiff.

Claiming Ferguson never 'parked the bus' is also a little rich given that United did exactly that to get past Barcelona themselves in the Champions League in 2008, having 28% possession and three shots on target throughout the whole tie. They barely left their half during the Old Trafford leg and had a Paul Scholes wonder goal to thank for their place in the final.

Sometimes Mediawatch thinks that Savage is just doing all this to troll us. Perhaps it's a paranoia created as a result of us banging our heads so much into the desk in rage, but that doesn't end the hurt.

Please make it stop.

On The Pulse
Congratulations must at least go to Savage for having his finger on the pulse in his Daily Mirror column today. It consists, in its entirety, of his opinions on five different topics.

They are:
Howard Webb getting a decision wrong - five-day-old news
Pellegrini's comments on United - four-day-old news
Mauricio Pochettino's team selection - six-day-old news
Ben Watson's injury - four-day-old news
Mesut Ozil's performance - two-day-old news.


Trapping The Ball Further Than We Can Kick It Out
We're going to post these quotes from Carlton Palmer's interview on SHOUTsport almost without comment. Almost without comment because we can't physically stop ourselves from screaming at the end.

"If you want to intimidate me about my colour, which has happened loads of times, then I'll just laugh it off," Carlton began. We know, strap in.

"I played at West Ham and they were chucking bananas on the pitch, I ate the bananas. I love them! It doesn't worry me. I'm not interested in that. I'm just interested in winning the football game.

"If someone is on a football pitch or in a boxing ring or whatever, you're in there to win. It is part and parcel of it [to try to put someone off]. You have to grow up and accept that. And anybody who thinks different is lying. It's been going on for years.

"When you say it's not right, if I can intimidate you by saying something that puts you off your game, why isn't that right? That's not racism. Not for me, it's not. On the pitch, the laws are different.

"Some people for me, and some players, some black players, have used this as an excuse. At the end of the day it's an easy excuse for colour. I agree with Blatter 100% [it should be settled by a handshake]."

I think the best thing to say is that, very much like football itself, views on racism have thankfully progressed since Palmer's day. Rather than damning his misguided views, perhaps instead be grateful that he at least appears to be in the minority.

However, Palmer turning the throwing of bananas at black footballers into a joke simply because it didn't effect you as an individual is verging on obscene.

As for his manner of entitlement that makes him feel comfortable with advising other black players on how to deal with racial abuse as if he's in any way a spokesperson or learned luminary, the only thing we can do is offer our own advice: Have some consideration for a sensitive issue, try and step out of your cloud of self-importance and stop talking b*llocks. Cheers.

Howard's End
Really odd stuff from Steven Howard in the Sun today. That's about all we've got to say on it, really odd indeed. Here is his piece on David Moyes, in full:

'Beat Olympiakos and then get another kind draw and Manchester United could be in the Champions league semi-final.

'Then we'll all hail boss David Moyes as the man for the big occasion, Fergie's a genius for appointing him and it's treble gin and tonics all round.'

1. That's two big ifs, there Steven, especially when that 'kind draw' looks likely to be one of Bayern, Barcelona, Real Madrid, PSG, Atletico, Dortmund, Real Madrid and Chelsea. Not that 'favourable' given United's form this season.

2. No we won't 'hail him'. We'll say "Oh United got a favourable draw and are in the semi-finals, but they're still seventh in the Premier League. What a utter clusterf*ck".

3. Why would you drink treble gin and tonics? Just have three gin and tonics if you really want. Or instead, maybe just have one gin and tonic and stop talking tripe.

An Easy Answer
After Mediawatch yesterday answered the burning issue of the day raised by the Daily Mirror asking 'Sweat Or Spit?', we are back today to answer another, this time raised by Jamie Redknapp in the Daily Mail. Remember, we're looking for short, sharp answers.

'Bayern and Barcelona brought English football to its knees... but which team stands as football's current No 1?' asks the headline to Redknapp's column, which aims to discover which of the two teams really is the best.

We'll help you there, Jamie. It's Bayern. They beat the other team in your comparison 7-0 over two games in the Champions League semi-final last season. You're welcome.

Pep Talk
Mediawatch's favourite part about Jamie Redknapp (grow up) is his love of the sweeping statement, without necessarily being totally au fait with the intricacies of his argument. Today's example in the Daily Mail is a belter.

'Pep Guardiola created the modern Barcelona, and he is doing the same with Bayern Munich.'

That does ignore the impact of Johann Cruyff (four consecutive Spanish League championships and the European Cup between 1990 and 1994 and the formation of the La Masia academy) and the Lamporta/Rijkaard axis that won two league titles and the Champions League directly before Guardiola arrived.

Also, suggesting that Guardiola is creating the modern Bayern Munich is also a little harsh on Jupp Heynckes, who shaped a side that last year won the Bundesliga, the Champions League and the German Cup. This gives you a handy list of the German league records that Bayern broke in the season before Guardiola joined.

Note to Jamie - Guardiola is good enough without having to resort to arguable accolades.

Yesterday Mediawatch slightly sniffed at the suggestion from the Sun that Mesut Ozil and Manuel Neuer played together at the same age, on the basis that they have never been the same age. It was story picked up by Eurosport, BBCand our very own Winners and Losers.

Turned out that our spidey senses were right to be a-tingling, because the whole thing was a complete sham, as discovered on social news site Reddit. Let's turn to user vikistormborn to explain:

"I was watching the game and I overheard the commentator saying Ozil and Neuer have known each other for a long time . So I simply googled "Mesut Ozil Childhood" and this article from the Telegraph came up. That's where I got the picture from. I simply circled the other biggest looking guy in the picture and tweeted that it was Neuer. I came to know later that night that Neuer wasn't really that "Big" when he was a Child and that they didn't know each other when they were that little either....And then I wake up to this."

Mediawatch urges you to stop what you are doing, stand up and applaud.

Worst Headline Of The Day
'Lukas: Critics are Ozil the top' - The Metro try and persuade everyone that 'Ozil' sounds like 'over'. Anyone convinced is a fool.

Non-Football Story Of The Day
'A man in the US state of Iowa lost his job after using a forklift to dislodge a chocolate bar from a jammed vending machine, according to state records.

'Robert McKevitt, 27, was working at a warehouse in the city of Milford when the incident occurred last autumn. Mr McKevitt said he deposited a dollar in the machine, but his Twix bar snagged on a spiral hook. He then used an 8,000lb (3,628kg) forklift to shake the machine, according to his employer.

'"That machine was trouble," Mr McKevitt told the Des Moines Register, saying he banged on it with his hands but to no avail.

'"They fired me, and now I hear they have all new vending machines there."' - BBC News

Thanks to Mediawatch spotters @shoutsatcows, Richard Kurt, Tim Alyott and Zubair Timol. If you see anything that belongs on this page, mail us at, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.

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