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You read our minds…
I have no feelings on the subject of Jose, other than to say I wish he hadn’t got the United manager’s job for no other reason than it would have made The Sun sports team look like a bunch of clown shoes wearing chucklef*** a***candles.
Dreading Mourinho at United
I just read the Five Players Who Will Relish Mourinho piece and even I’m not a United fan, my reaction can only be described as ‘ugh’ or, a little more eloquently – for f*ck sake.
And it’s not that I disagree with Matt Stead, quite the opposite. Nor is it the ham-fisted way the club announced the appointment (or not). It’s the knowledge that Mourinho will turn Herrera into Oscar and have him run around a lot but not much else. He’ll probably never play Mata. He’ll build his now -trademark siege mentality which will make United even harder to stomach. Youngsters can probably forget about their first-team ambitions. Rashford et al will have to get used to watching multi-million pound replacements because Mourinho doesn’t play kids.
He will make United even more hard to beat than they are now but he’ll do nothing to improve the style of football at Old Trafford. Will United supporters be happy with stodgy football if Mourinho can deliver a league whilst playing football that’s a million miles from the ‘right way’?
Jose’s United could be most despised team ever…
Hate to disagree with Saladinho in the mails, but whatever nous/history/tactics Mourinho bring with him, there is a serious question given this season and his past history: could a Jose Mourinho ManYoo squad quite possibly be the most despised team in PL history? For a former bartender-turned-journalist, the formula seems fairly simple, and moreover gets worse the better Mourinho does, like a cocktail overshaken but enormous A PFM may love it for the three seconds it takes to drink, but:
1 part – team that dominated for years, making them everyone’s favorite demon, but are now seem on the wa(y)ne. A resurrection would only be resented, failure celebrated.
1 part – manager who cannot help himself but be controversial, lost a Chelsea squad who was his for the taking apparently through a combination of obsessive control and overt sexism.
1 part – the wealthiest PL team in history.
1/2 part – yet another abominable treatment of a departing manager, this time one with a lifetime of accomplishment, having just won team’s first real trophy since the departure of Ferguson.
The historical standard for a cocktail is 3.5oz. Over-shake or -stir it, and that’s five. In other words, a good long gulp for a PFM, followed by an overly hard and long thigh pat.
Iain (CUFC), Seattle
…’Be careful what you wish for.’ I think we Arsenal fans should let United fans borrow this phrase for a few months. They’ll be needing it.
They wanted rid of LVG because of his negative tactics and increasingly demented, bullish, pouty personality – and have been semi-erect at the prospect of JOSE MOURINHO taking over for about six months now. I mean, what is that for logic? Is it meant to make sense?
‘Oh, at least he’ll be fun, at least he’s successful’, they say. Yeah, good one. It’s a bit like finally kicking your p***ed uncle out of the family party, only to usher Keith Richards eagerly into your home as his replacement. Yeah it’ll be an experience, but you’re going to be tidying up the house and mopping up the tears for years to come.
And as I’m not a United fan, I couldn’t be happier for them.
Feeling a bit nauseous about Jose
Jose Mourinho may be a great manager and go on to win things or whatever. Part of me was excited to see what he can do with the club. How others will hate to play United again and general curiosity of having a big name manager.
But now, I feel sick. Don’t you? It’s a desperate, desperate decision for a club that prided itself over ‘the United way’. Van Gaal had to be sacked, of course. It should’ve happened earlier though. The timing and circumstances in which it happened are absolutely the worst.
The club/fans can never say we don’t spend a lot, we can never say we don’t sack our managers, we are patient with them, it’s the United way, that we value style over results. Nothing can be said. Every club essentially does what’s needed and when they have to. There is no sanctimonious ‘United way.’ It’s nonsense.
I’m 22 years old so I guess thinking Ferguson was Man United is the mistake I made. He was exceptional. No one can be that again. They chose Moyes over Mou once thinking he’d be the next Ferguson. That decision looks stupider and stupider every time you think about it.
I feel rudely awakened to reality.
It is a bit bloody exciting though
Allowing for the unedifying way in which the news was broken (by whichever party), Mourinho to United still absurdly exciting.
As has been noted elsewhere, there’s the core of very good team and squad at Old Trafford. De Gea is better than ever. Add a genuine passing centre-back (not Blind or Rojo) to Smalling, Darmian and Shaw, and there’s a strong defence with decent back-ups from the academy and squad. Another central midfielder would be great, but a three of Schneiderlin, Herrera and Rooney would be a decent starting point, and is probably the easiest way to accommodate Rooney into a starting XI without compromising the team in attack.
In attack, Rashford and Martial are scarily talented, and both seem to have impressive tactical discipline for young players. The prototype Mourinho striker is probably Drogba or Eto’o, a model Martial in particular looks close to. Even if Ibra arrives, he won’t play every match, and might actually be good influence on both as they develop. Behind them, I’d dearly love to see Memphis flourish, and there are no downsides to giving him another season, under a different manager, to settle at United. Lingard is a reliable squad player at best, who presumably will be retained on the basis that he’s Mancunian, tactically disciplined, and technically sound (essentially Park with a Warrington accent). Pereira deserves far more game time than van Gaal gave him, and could be an excellent player if given a chance.
And Mourinho, crucially, is a winner. If his football can be astonishingly negative in games where he feels his team is inferior, so could Fergie’s (hence the Reyes hatchet job in 2004). In general, his teams have been based on a solid defence, core of trusted lieutenants, and an attacking style that prioritises mobility and speed. A glance back to most of Fergie’s great teams would see much the same.
The right decision done the wrong way
I think it is the right call to remove Louis van Gaal but the timing and the manner in which it happened is just rotten. I refuse to believe that these media leaks, wherever they came from, were unavoidable; surely a group of professionals – and I use that term very loosely, when describing Ed Woodward et al – could have managed to ensure some confidentiality and dignity for a man who just won our first FA Cup for 12 years. I just can’t help but feel sorry for the bloke. How many other trophy-winning managers are sacked within 48 hours of the fact?
But van Gaal has gone, having seemingly paid the price for a consistently underperforming and massively expensive squad. There is plenty of evidence to endorse his removal, though we fans should be very grateful for both the FA Cup win and the integration of Rashford and Martial at the very least. He did do some good for us and that should be remembered and appreciated, despite the disappointments.
Anyway, it looks like it’s going to be Jose, which is fine, I guess. He probably is the right man for the job right now, but I have the same concerns now as when I first said I thought he should be our next manager:
1. Will he use or lose the promising youth we’ve seen this season? Regularly using Martial and Rashford is non-negotiable, in my opinion, and I’d like to see more of Lingard, Fosu-Mensah and Borthwick-Jackson over the season.
2. What will happen to the senior players? Carrick is out of contract – will he get a new deal? Schweinsteiger earns a fortune and barely featured this year. Will Rooney fit in to Jose’s plans and is he likely to indulge his drop into midfield? Does Mata (my favourite outfield player) have a future with us?
3. Will he be able to get De Gea to stay? Keeping him should be the highest priority, if at all possible, so losing him would be a huge blow at he start of his reign.
4. What kind of players are we going to target and what kind of style are we going to adopt? I do not, do not, do not want Zlatan at all. We have been linked with a wealth of central, hMourinho-type players but, from what I have seen, no wingers. Can we expect a more narrow formation and, if so, what will become of Januzaj, Lingard, Depay etc?
It’s mostly just trepidation and fear of the unfamiliar, but he has proved before that he can be a success – maybe he can replicate that again. He absolutely has to tone down the outrageous behaviour though. As a mailboxer said this morning, United fans dished out plenty of criticism when we was at Chelsea, and I don’t think many would stand for it if he continued those antics at United. Hopefully Giggs will take this opportunity to go and get some actual management experience and, if he proves himself elsewhere, he can be a genuine contender next time round (in three years, ha!).
Louis > press
Just want to say how very disappointing it is that Van Gaal has been consistently maligned by the hacks and proper journalists alike because he turned personal on someone who had consistently written insulting comments in the national press about him.
It is the most transparent leak by an embittered press that I can remember. United didn’t want that news out. Neil Custis and his cronies very likely did. Low-brow blow.
After every moment of success, or respite, the press have deliberately sought to undermine the achievement with questions and headlines about Jose.
As we celebrated at Wembley I picked up my phone and saw the BBC breaking news. Scandalous timing that genuinely soured my day (I’m in the minority, appreciate that.)
Watch his press conference after to witness another session of blatant disrespect. Journalists are not managers. They’ve never won anything, apart from some adulation based on writing nicely and consequently can be irritatingly all knowing. Eloquence shouldn’t provide a sense of superiority. They are almost turning me into a fan of the PFM, which I know is just wrong (see Pardew’s dance.)
LVG, it wasn’t always or often exciting, but thank you for shedding the fat of the squad and introducing promising youth throughout the team. More importantly thanks for being a personality to admire. Fiercely honest, direct and sincere. The opposite of our new smarmy manager who I will have to learn to somehow like. Urgh. As I left Wembley I pleaded with my mates that Mourinho was actually an arsehole. But he’s OUR arsehole now, was the reply. Not sure that makes me feel any better. Perhaps some trophies will. That tends to make everything okay, do appreciate that. Not sure how I’ll handle Liverpool having the most likeable manager in Europe, versus our new man. Hopefully he’ll cement his reputation as the most successful.
PS. Yet again JM has been very canny in taking on a job with a young flourishing squad with probably the best young player in the world present (see, Robben, Hazard, Ronny, Snjeider etc).
Jose must somehow adapt to United…
I would never ever want to blaspheme against SAF, but maybe if he’d given youth a chance at LvG’s rate instead of playing Rafael CM and calling Scholes out of retirement before playing Pogba we might have had the best box to box CM in the world still with us.
I’ve always had a begrudging respect and even admiration for Jose till his last six months at Chelsea, even in comparison to some of his most disgusting behaviour before that, what struck me was how it was all about him at all times, it wasn’t Chelsea vs The World anymore, it was everyone against Jose.
Oh well, now that he’s here there’s no use crying about it, but what I’d call the Utd Traditionalists are right to be concerned, Jose has to adapt to Utd not Utd to Jose. As for the youth thing. LVG loosened the bra, judging from previous experience, you cant blame those who are worried Mourinho might muck up our chance to see some quality boobies.
Cortez (boob man) MUFC, Botswana
Jose is the weak one in this relationship
Well it looks like it’s finally going to happen. It’s difficult not to be excited about one of the best managers in the game coming to manage United, but equally there are plenty of reasons to be wary. Something I have not seen mentioned however is that this is a unique situation for Mourinho – he is the one coming in from a position of weakness.
In all of his previous jobs it was the club who courted him and so were totally forced to bend to his wishes. However the dynamic here is different given that he has been so obviously desperate to land the United job, and I would like to think that there were/will be several conditions of employment outlined to him.
Hopefully the club has told him that youth must be given a chance, non-optional. If you don’t think you can win titles while incorporating and developing youth players then say so now and we will find someone who can. Your call Jose, read it well and sign beneath that line right there please. Maybe also that United is a globally supported and highly respected club so general behaviour must improve. If your arseholery reaches anything approaching the levels seen in the Dr Carneiro situation there will be serious consequences and we have the right to terminate employment.
These are just two of the conditions under which I would be able to get behind a Mourinho appointment, I’m sure there are more if I thought about it. Maybe it is fanciful on my part to think that Edwood WoodWood could play hardball, but we are in the position of strength here so I really hope he has.
Where are the Man United kids since 1992?
With the news of Mourinho’s imminent arrival, the mailbox is full of united fans and ‘fans’ (mainly ‘fans’) harking on about United’s many fabled principles and traditions. The one that sticks out to me though, is one also championed by the press, about united’s commitment to youth.
Now, I’m not suggesting that united don’t give youth a chance, but given the way the academy is talked up, together with Ferguson’s reputation for creating ‘stars,’ can someone please tell me some of the genuine top quality players that united have produced since (forgive my use of this loathsome term) the class of ’92? Because to my mind, the list is damningly short.
Jose is not just a foreign Pulis
Can we please stop this Mourinho revisionism that Pete B highlighted in today’s mailbox? Yes, Mourinho’s teams are tough, yes Mourinho’s teams bully and harass opposition and yes Mourinho’s teams may be partial to the dark arts from time to time but playing the ‘park the bus’ card is lazy and a well-trodden path, the mailbox equivalent of click bait.
Lest we forget that when Chelsea beat Barcelona it was with Di Matteo, a performance that was dismissed as anti-football at the time. This performance however laid down the blueprint for other teams of how to stifle and beat possession-based football with simple counter-attacking, a blueprint that was followed by Leicester and revered by the masses. If Leicester was such a dream for us all then shouldn’t they be the source of your ire?
Jose has bought success wherever he has been and to paint him as some kind of luxury Tony Pulis undermines the tactical nous that he has shown time and again to outwit his opponents. If he was parking the bus every time surely he’d have been found out in at least one of Europe’s elite leagues or competitions?
Jose is a top-class manager and should be respected for the risks he has taken in his career for success. Anyone can sit in a job for 10+ years and keep things ticking over but reaching for the top and constantly testing yourself is the sign of a true great and true ambition. If that’s what parking a bus is classed as these days then I’m happy to have been a passenger even if it is a bit bumpy at times.
Conte: The invisible man
I asked my Chelsea-supporting friend how they felt about Jose to United. He felt it would be really positive for Chelsea on the basis that the press aren’t going to take the blindest bit of notice to Conte as he starts his work. They’ll all be too obsessed with Mourinho vs Guardiola. I think this actually makes Chelsea dangerous next year. conte can go about his business as he sees fit without the press over-scrutinizing every aspect of what they do. Even if they drop some early points the focus won’t be too much on them.
Adds to my feeling that next year is impossible to predict.
Why not play one winger?
There’s been very little in the way of new formations in recent years, and tactically when something new comes up, it tends to catch everyone out for a while, think Barça’s 4-3-3 that dominated possession before everyone adopted it, or when 4-2-3-1 first swept the Premier League. One tactic that has been barely been touched upon is a system with one winger only.
Every other system either goes for two or ditches them completely like the 4-4-2 diamond.
When it comes to the diamond, width either comes from the full-backs, who inevitably get caught up the pitch from time to time, meaning no wide defence or one of the centre forwards hits the channels, essentially defeating the object of the formation.
So why not a system with one winger? Either sticking to one wing or playing whichever suits better as the game progresses? Would require more intelligence and unsuitable for some players, but those who relish a free role, like C Ronaldo, could find space to exploit alongside a number 10. This means you get two out and out centre forwards, a number 10 to link midfield and attack, and also a winger to stretch the play. On the other side one of the full backs gets as much licence as needed to bomb forwards, giving five full attacking players, in positions ideally suited to their talents. It also leaves enough back for defence.
Take the Liverpool side for example.
Moreno bombs forwards from wing-back, Ibe/Markovic/actual winger on the other side, Coutinho plays in his natural position, and you get Firmino and Sturridge up top together. Behind this five, you still get one of Milner/Can supporting whilst the other helps out the three-man defence. With four players staying back, the defence can split for attacks down the wing or press, without exposing the rest of the defensive line.
So why aren’t any teams trying this? I know AVB’s Porto side had something along these lines, but there’s many teams it would suit as well, particular those with one attacking and one defending full back, along with one talented winger. Seems to fit the current England set-up, allowing Kane, Vardy, Sterling & Rooney to play together in their (supposed) best positions, although probably doesn’t squeeze in Alli too, as he wouldn’t be defensive enough to sit.
Somebody explain why it’s not successfully taken off.
KC (know it’s rubbish, but don’t know why)
Dele needs to grow up
Surprised this was not mentioned in the Mailbox this morning but someone, be it Roy, Cahill as captain, the whole squad conducting an intervention, I don’t care. But someone needs to tell Dele Alli that he can’t continue to square up to opposition players or take them out with wild challenges at the Euros as he did during the Turkey game.
If he was being nibbled at over 90mins then maybe his reaction to every slight would be understood, but that’s never the case. So if England are to produce this summer, let’s at least try to do so with 11 on the pitch.
James F, BCFC KRO
I took exception with Dan Cunnington, Greenwich email on what Sterling has to offer.
First, Raheem Sterling IS England’s quickest attacker and hence potentially most dangerous. Mr. (swan dive) Vardy might have something to say about that, but I don’t know how dangerous throwing yourself to the ground when you’re through on goal is.
I was encouraged by Sterling’s performance yesterday though his final ball was lacking. This has always been the biggest issue in Sterling’s game and if I can be honest his move to Manchester City has not helped his development in this department, which is a bit shocking. From what I observed yesterday, it seems Roy has allowed Sterling a bit more freedom than what he is used to in his role at City and that means only good things for England.
Three more weeks on the training ground with the England team and I think we will see a more swashbuckling Sterling, the foundation on which he has built his name.
I expect Sterling to score two goals and chip in with another two assists. While Raheem is out on the pitch he will not offer much defensively, but that’s ok because he is an attacking player. He will cleverly find space in which to receive the ball, turn, and start a devastating counter attack. His job will not be to track back, chasing every ball because that’s not his game.
England is more direct with Sterling in the team which can only be a good thing. So let’s not judge him on one friendly. We haven’t seen him link up with Sturridge, with whom he developed a great understanding with at Liverpool.
Mark these words; Sterling will have a breakout tournament.
Brian (If Liverpool manages to sign Gotze it will represent one of the biggest coups in Premier League history) LFC
Backing Coq against the crack
Great Back, Sack and…erm, Crack today on Arsenal. I can’t say I disagree with much of it except possibly Coquelin who I would have in the Back section. I think even Kante would struggle if he had to play with Ramsay in the middle. If you look at Coquelin’s performances alongside Elneny or Cazorla earlier in the season, he was very good.
This is a minor point really on a generally excellent assessment of our squad.
The best part though was the sentence on Flamini. What a guy!
Adonis Stevenson, AFC
Sick of the gamesmanship
What a miserable affair last night’s Copa del Rey final was. Yet another gleaming monument to modern day football’s cynicism. Call it ‘clever play’ or ‘gamesmanship’ all you like, in reality it’s deliberate acts of deceit to gain an advantage on your opponent. I prefer the term: cheating.
For all Barcelona’s obvious talent and skill they consistently embarrass themselves with their pathetic antics. In fact implementing their natural abilities at football don’t really seem to be top of the list of tactics when it comes to a game of football. Their main priorities seem to be:
1) Get as many opponents booked or sent off as possible. Do this through diving, feigning injury, harassing the match officials, inciting opponents.
2) Win as many penalties as possible. More diving, throw yourselves into opponents then fall over, kick the ball towards defenders arms etc.
3) Attempt to combine 1 and 2. Jackpot!
4) Maybe kick the ball a bit and try and score some goals I guess?
This attitude seems especially prevalent in the Spanish game, Atletico Madrid make Barcelona look like the good guys. Real Madrid are usually just as bad to the extent where I can’t watch El Classico any more for fear of uncontrollably hurling large objects at my TV.
Although the Spanish sides are the masters of this approach it’s a tactic that’s becoming widespread in all countries. The English game is far from immune as perfectly illustrated by Jamie Vardy yet again throwing himself in front of a defender who had no choice in the ‘tackle’ he was about to make.
I’m pretty sick of watching it and it’s rapidly turning me off top-level football. What’s worse is that precious few pundits seem to call players out, opting instead to praise them for their ‘gamesmanship’ and ‘clever play’ (Lineker yesterday). I hope the trend is one day reversed because I really don’t want to have to learn the rules of rugby.
How dull is football in Europe right now?
I realise this will get swamped by LVG sacking/ Mourinho hiring mails but I wanted to comment on the various cup finals across Europe this weekend.
All of the ‘big five’ leagues had their cup finals this weekend. We are all aware of the result in this country where plucky little Man Utd overcame the odds to deliver their first silverware of the post-Fergie era. However, elsewhere in Europe romance was in short supply.
· France – PSG won their second successive quadruple (with Zlatan hammering 50 goals)
· Spain – Barcelona won their second successive double (with Suarez nailing 59 goals)
· Italy – Juventus won their second successive double
· Germany – Bayern Munich won their third double in four years (with Lewandowski wanging 42 goals)
I just don’t see the sustainability of football in these leagues over the coming years. PSG have won five league titles in a row in France. In Italy it is five in a row for Juventus also. Barcelona have won six of the last eight in Spain and in Germany Bayern Munich have the last four.
At least in Spain they get the excitement of the world’s best players, progression by other sides in Europe and the two Madrid clubs make it interesting. In France, Italy and Germany domestic football must be shockingly dull. PSG won the league by 31 points with a +83 goal difference over 38 games. No-one will be watching these leagues in five years’ time.
In contrast the Premier League has just crowned its fourth different winner in four years (with the FA Cup seeing five different winners in the last six years). If either of the teams in second or third can step up next season it will be five in five. Realistically the winner next season could come from any of Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs or Leicester with even outside bets for Liverpool not being ridiculous now they don’t have Europe. And that is not mentioning West Ham or Southampton who will both rightly fancy a dig at top four.
In Germany the winner could come from any of Bayern Munich, in France they are perming any one from PSG, in Italy the winner is likely to come from Juventus and in Spain the bookies say it is an open fight between Barcelona. I think the tag of the Premier League as ‘bestest-league-in-the-world’ was never meant to be quality but just excitement, unpredictability and enjoyment. It would appear to be well earned at the moment.