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What is Mourinho’s message to his players?
Was very disappointed with Man United on Saturday, not so much at the performance but at the tactics they employed. At all big away matches Jose seems to only think about not losing. Statistically I am not sure it makes sense, and with the quality of players United have now it makes even less sense.
In the mini league of the ‘big six’, Jose is trying to get five points with his tactics. Now apart from maybe against Man City (who are looking too bloody good for my liking), surely this United team can show more attacking intent, especially against the defenders that Liverpool and Arsenal have at their disposal. Two wins, a draw and two defeats would get him seven points.
Finally there is the psychology of it all. The message he is unintentionally giving to his players, and to the opposition for that matter, is that he does not think they are good enough to win at their biggest challengers home stadiums. Even Alberto Moreno looked composed for much of the match for goodness sake.
I can only hope that when he gets all the players fit again, he changes it up, but I won’t be putting any of my own money on it.
Ged (hoping De Gea never leaves) Biglin
Pragmatism is not enough
Two weeks ago City went to Stamford bridge and dominated from first whistle to last. No sit in and feed off scraps, no take a point at one of the fellow big boys and move on. On Saturday United went to Anfield and defended from start to finish, took their point and moved on. This will be the difference in the title race. Mourinho spoke in the week that it was just another game. Well he didn’t treat it like one. If anything Guardiola treats every single game the same, find a formula to win. Pragmatism wont be enough this season unfortunately Josè.
Dean (got up at 4 30 AM for that sh**e) Vancouver
Look at the ‘goals scored’ column before you blame Jose…
Rather than wring your hands and blame Jose for the death of football why not actually look at the players on the pitch? United had plenty of attacking talent on display yet they were sluggish and lethargic with wayward passes and being caught on the ball countless times. All the people deriding United and Jose for getting a draw at Anfield should take a look at how Chelsea and Arsenal did this weekend playing away at winless Palace and Watford. For all the negativity this was always going to be a hard game, without sounding too condescending this is always Liverpool’s cup final, beating United means more to them than anything no matter how bad they are playing they will always raise their game, Stoke City are the same up for it against United rolled over to get their belly tickled against a high-flying City. We are still unbeaten and all the Liverpool fans who are calling Jose ‘The football killer’ should take a look at the goals scored column and tell me again how United are killing football.
Paul Murphy, Manchester
Four conclusions from weekend’s action
Had a rare pleasure of having all Saturday for football. Sadly we don’t get Sky Sports here in Finland but a local provider which means Finnish commentary and it is no match for Sky.
Especially miss Neville and Carragher analysis, but oh well, can’t have it all I suppose.
Anyway, watched three matches Saturday, Liverpool vs Man United, Crystal Palace vs Chelsea and Atletico vs Barca. Some lazy observations:
– There was lot of discussion about favourite team for neutrals earlier last spring. Spurs have a strong shout, developing very good team with smaller budget than other top teams. There is also a decent shout for Manchester City (or even Liverpool). While City has spent a lot, they are damn exciting to watch (as is often Liverpool as well) and was gutted they didn’t show City match here. But surely now is time to consider the opposite – which team neutrals don’t want to win PL? For me and many others I know watching PL here, it is Man United. I am old enough to remember United when they had Giggs, Scholes, Beckham and Keane in midfield and how they struck fear of god in opposition when they poured forward. I also remember Rooney, Ronaldo and Tevez doing the same some years later. Even after Ronaldo left, they had Rooney and Van Persie. And now? They have spent hundreds of millions and every time they play another top team, they are absolutely tedious. Who knows, maybe they will win the league, but there is no excitement watching them, especially against good teams when they are parking the bus. To me, football is entertainment and while results naturally matter, surely it should be, you know, actually fun to watch the games? Read an article in Guardian this morning where Mourinho was praising PSG. Hopefully it was come and get me plea from him. Sounded like one.
– About Liverpool. Much have been talked about their defence, but if they would convert even some of the chances they create, they would win most of the games by some margin. Naturally when you play ‘heavy metal’, you will concede some as your defence haven’t got enough cover but to me their main problem is poor finishing. Genuine question: How much do they practice shooting in general? Surely extra 30 minutes per day for all of them could do wonders? Or is it mental problem like pressure and confidence? Their front line is technically quite good so it shouldn’t be that.
– How it is possible that Crystal Palace had zero points and goals before Chelsea game? They were battering Chelsea especially in the first 30 minutes and could have scored many with bit better finishing. More dominant at times than City week earlier. Surely one player, Zaha, can’t make that big difference? On a side note, their home fans brought a smile on my face, such a good support for the struggling team right from the beginning.
– Messi is always brilliant but he doesn’t seem to be enjoying it as much as before. Suarez scored but seems like a shadow of himself yesteryear. Iniesta is still brilliant but will be gone soon. I like the new manager, but as there are some dark clouds ahead, he will be steering the ship in dark waters.
Matti Katara, (We all have favourites, nobody is really neutral) Helsinki
What about Klopp?
No doubt Jose reverted back to type and parked the bus. But Liverpool finished the game with Coutinho, Salah and Firminho on the bench. Not exactly what you’d expect from a team who wanted all 3 points at home. And yet, no one questioned Klopp’s ambitions.
This was like one of the boxing matches you hate watching. One guy came with a game plan to just hug, the other hug just hugged back. Both were just as bad.
Keeps, East Of Mancunia
It is Klopp’s fault
Klopp only has one way to set up Liverpool, regardless of the opposition. Knowing this, Mourinho sets up his teams to maximise the potential of three points while reducing the risk.
If that game was played 10 times it would be a draw six times, United would win three and Liverpool one.
This is just a case of taking the best and most logical approach to a game. It’s not Mourinho’s fault Klopp is such a one-note tactician.
Rating the managers
I have tried my hand at rating the managers in the Premier League, leaving aside the tedious arguments between managers of the top six teams (not the current top 6, but the so-called Big 6). So here are my opinions on the best managers in the league for the remaining 14 teams.
#1 Rafa Benitez – Just look at that CV. Managed two of the Big Six clubs and has won numerous titles in multiple countries. Treated as a demi-god by some of his fans. Shoo-in.
#2 Tony Pulis – Solid and versatile; never been relegated which given the teams that he has managed is borderline genius.
#3 Chris Hughton – Underrated is the word that comes to mind; broke various records in the Championship with Newcastle; if he can keep Brighton up this year might edge out Pulis for #2 on this list.
#4 Marco Silva – Exciting young manager with experience of managing top clubs in Portugal and Greece; almost worked wonders with Hull; currently working wonders at Watford.
#5 Ronald Koeman – Great great player winning almost everything; Up and down managerial career so far with Everton dragging his stock down considerably; still, the Southampton stint was quite brilliant.
#6 Sean Dyche – Solid comes to mind; can really organize a defence; still young enough that he can move either further up or down this list.
#7 Mark Hughes – The only other manager (aside from Benitez and Hodgson) on this list to have managed one of the so called Big 6. Was a great player, and although not a great manager, a very decent one who’s teams churn out half decent football sometimes; really should have done more with his Man City opportunity.
#8 Eddie Howe – Young, up and coming; team plays attractive football and really do have a set philosophy; this could be his most challenging year yet; chequered transfer record.
#9 Roy Hodgson – massively experienced; just “out-tacticked” Antonio Conte; Led Fulham to 7th place once and also beat Juventus with them which sounds weird to write; unfortunate about that Liverpool stint and that loss to Iceland; still I hope the old man does well with his boyhood club.
#10 David Wagner – Young manager whose best days are clearly ahead of him; legend status at Huddersfield.
#11 Slaven Bilic – Great player and manager of the Croatian national team for 6 years which is a lot; good attractive start with West Ham before meandering towards an inevitable sacking.
#12 Paul Clement – Ancelotti’s protégé; can organize a defence well; hardly any evidence of performance as first team manager.
#13 Mauricio Pelligrino – Benitez’s protégé; no evidence of a philosophy or of performance as first team manager.
#14 Craig Shakespeare – Should never have got the role on a full-time basis in the first place.
Rohit, Chicago, LFC
On the terrible refereeing at Brighton…
At what point does Mike Riley step up and do his job – namely addressing the incompetence of his employees on a weekly basis? It seems no matter how bad you are there are no repercussions for underperforming.
Michael Oliver had a terrible game yesterday when it came to giving the big decisions until the elbow on DCL was so blatant it forced his hand.
The tackle on Gana was a red card, no ifs not buts. So much for protecting players safety.
Gylfi almost had his shirt stripped off him, nothing given. So much for clamping down on shirt pulling.
Not sure how an elbow that bad in the face is only a yellow, but I guess seeing as Martin Atkinson didn’t even give a foul when Rooney had his forehead split open it shouldn’t surprise me.
Sure this won’t get the feedback it deserves as it was only on TV in India. Not in the country where both teams are based.
Ian (football is slowly losing its grip on me) EFC
It was terrible football from Everton
Two week ago I went to Goodison Park and I was bored.
I’ve seen some awful players down the years, I’ve seen tactically inept managers and charlatan chairmen, I’ve seen 0-0 draws against Aston Villa without a single shot on target and I’ve seen capitulations to lower league opposition. I’ve seen Brett Angell and Stuart Barlow and Aiden Mcgeady and Earl Barrett.
But amongst all that there was always something to quicken the pulse, a little touch, a lung busting full back run, a high hanging ball in to the box which caused the Gwladys Street end to breath in as one.
I saw nothing that day. For 90 minutes I sat as disinterested as I do when half paying attention to a rerun of Friends on Comedy Central.
I thought that the International break would have prompted some soul searching, a chance for the manager and his back room team to reassess their tactics and find a way to get the club out of the rut it currently finds itself in. What did we get? 4-2-3-1 again. A side playing with no width and as much pace as a ketamine addled snail.
It is becoming increasingly obvious that Koeman does not have a “plan B”, Evertonians can only hope that Moshiri does.
Chris Roach, Liverpool
Peter G’s weekend thoughts
* In his article on Everton, Daniel Storey listed Ashley Williams, Idrissa Gana, and Morgan Schneiderlin as players who have declined since last season. I think Williams has been going downhill for a while, beginning in his last year at Swansea: same take-charge attitude as ever, but mistakes growing every season. Gana is a bit off form, but not too much, and I’m guessing he’ll rebound soon. The one I don’t get is Schneiderlin — he’s simply dropped off a cliff. Maybe the whole experience at Man United left him without confidence. At this point, he probably shouldn’t be starting unless you absolutely need two DMs.
* Scott Malone was excellent last year as an attacking left-back for Fulham, but that’s attacking with a capital A. He’s not much of a defender, and when he got his first start for Huddersfield he struggled badly against Luciano Narsingh, the first player in the Premier League to do so. Another trouble spot for the Terriers is goal, where Jonas Lössl has now had his second straight poor match.
* Burnley-West Ham was a classic in its own way, with the Clarets in the unfamiliar spot of having to break down a packed defence. They should unquestionably have had a penalty when Joe Hart brought down Chris Wood, but Stewart Atwell didn’t call it, and at halftime they were still down a goal. So Sean Dyche went back to old habits, yanking a midfielder for a second target man, and it paid dividends 40 minutes later with an old-fashioned cross and header for the equaliser.
* The best thing about Crystal Palace 2-1 Chelsea was that instead of parking the bus, Palace went at the champs from the first minute and kept at it almost for the full 90. But what else would you expect from wild man Roy Hodgson?
* There’s been a lot of love on here recently for Nacho Monreal, but I can’t join in. He’s a good left-back, but seems an ordinary outside centre-half. For one thing, his natural weaknesses (not particularly strong, not much aerial prowess) get magnified there. Also, his judgment is wildly variable; he makes a fair number of tackles and interceptions but gets beat a lot. Roberto Pereyra made him look foolish several times. That said, he probably needs some time to learn the position, and since he’s a smart player he’ll probably get there.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA
Love for Richarlison
I thought it would be interesting to start a discussion on players not in the big six sides, players that have not been singled out for praise, that have stood out with their performances.
The player I have really been impressed with is Watford’s Richarlison. Football365 have mentioned Doucoure as one of their standout performers under Marco Silva, but whenever I have seen Watford play Richarlison has stood out for me.
Coming in from Brazil he seems to have taken to the PL like a duck to water. On his debut vs Liverpool he came on and caused the defense problems and was able to get the equalizing goal, the importance of a start like that can not be stated enough. He was also able to earn the penalty (in dubious circumstances) that earned Watford another important victory.
He seems to combine the good ol’ Brazilian flair with some solid tenacity and physicality which is making him a tough player to contain. He could very well go on to become one of the top performers for Watford this season. Marco Silva seems to have unearthed another gem in this player.
Yash, MUFC (eight games in, sitting pretty at 4th, who would’ve thought!)
A new fan writes…
A friend (I hope you have such friends in life) recently introduced to this amazing site. As a football fan my life has never been the same ever since. Mediawatch is always a blast.
Concerning our 1-1 draw versus Atleti, I felt we deserved a win. I don’t understand why Denis Suarez didn’t get minutes though, but what do I know?
Ian (Surely naming my first born son, Nelson Semedo) Nairobi