Neil Custis of The Sun has a back-page exclusive (via quotes from a Manchester United ‘source’) that Jose Mourinho has told his squad that he…wait for it…wants to win the Premier League and FA Cup. Boom.
As ever: if the opposite is a bigger story, it isn’t big news.
‘As Sunsport today reveals,’ is our favourite line. Mediawatch doesn’t have any inside contacts at Manchester United and yet we had an idea they were targeting trophies. Maybe it was when Ander Herrera said it in June, or Jesse Lingard said it July, Michael Carrick said it in August or every other bugger said it all the time.
Hand them the title
After Martin Samuel wrote that ‘YOU CAN’T CATCH JOSE WHEN HE’S AHEAD’, rather ignoring that Manchester United were in precisely the same position after two games last season, Custis takes that baton from Samuel’s palm and runs with it in hand:
‘His second season is always the one. It is not just coincidence, as his CV testifies. Already you can see the marked improvement in the team with the 4-0 wins over West Ham and Swansea. In the meantime, all his main rivals for the title have dropped points.’
That is all true. Mourinho has enjoyed success in his second seasons, United do look better and other teams have dropped points. Yet that is not where Custis ends.
‘Early doors, yes, but once a Mourinho team hits the front there is never a Devon Loch calamity moment near the finish.’
But Manchester United are nowhere ‘near the finish’; they have played two league matches. Devon Loch’s leg didn’t fall off in the first furlong. So why does it matter that United have ‘hit the front’ now.
Still, if failing to win the title after ‘hitting the front’ would be a ‘Devon Loch moment’, then Mourinho’s United did precisely that last season, when they also won their first two matches.
Mourinho also did the same in 2013/14, when Chelsea were top after three matches and finished third.
And what about 2010/11, when his Real Madrid team took 32 of a possible 36 points from their first 12 La Liga games and were top of the table. They finished second that season too.
And what about 2006/07, when Mourinho’s Chelsea team were leading after six games? They finished second that season too, failing to win any of their last five matches and losing the title by six points. Does that count as Devon Loch-esque?
Still, apart from those four times when Mourinho ‘hit the front’ and was caught, he never has been. Hand out the medals.
The easy explanation
‘Have no doubts that he wanted to win the title too. But as the draws mounted up, Mourinho had to change tack to ensure last season was still viewed as a success’ – Custis on Mourinho.
Like the draws just ‘happened’ to Mourinho; what could he possibly do? Mediawatch is just worried those pesky draws might decide to mount up again this season.
Slight difference of opinion
‘Liverpool have won their battle with Barcelona over Philippe Coutinho with the Spanish giants admitting defeat in their bid to prise him away. Barca’s deadline to the Anfield giants, of 7pm this past Sunday, to accept their £118million offer for Coutinho passed with them still insisting the Brazilian midfielder is not for sale.
‘After three failed bids and with time rapidly running out in a transfer window that closes a week on Thursday to spend their £199m Neymar windfall, Barca have finally accepted that Liverpool won’t sell Coutinho to them this month’ – Daily Mirror, August 22.
‘BARCELONA are to launch a final £136million bid for Philippe Coutinho. The Catalan giants, who have failed with three attempts, believe Liverpool’s Samba ace still wants to leave for the Nou Camp. And they are ready with a fourth offer of £100m up front with add-ons of £36m’ – The Sun, August 23.
That’s that cleared up.
Stop. Look. Listen.
Tweet from Daily Telegraph football correspondent Matt Law, August 23 8.52am:
‘Chelsea have no succession plan for Conte and Tuchel is not a name on their radar’
Prominent headline (second top story) on Daily Telegraph football home page, August 23, 11.15am:
‘Football transfer news and rumours: Former Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel to replace Antonio Conte at Chelsea’
They do value you and your contacts at Chelsea, Matt. Just not when there is web traffic to be greedily guzzled in ignoring you.
I’m just so Inter you
‘Exclusive: Italian giants make shock bid for Arsenal defender’ – Daily Mirror, August 23, 10.42am.
Not exclusive for anyone who looked at Tuttosport’s back page on Wednesday morning, it isn’t.
A change will do you good
Writes Chris Sutton in the Daily Mail under the headlines ‘sending-off could be just what Jack needs’:
‘It does not get much lower than being sent off in an Under-23 match – but it may take something like this for Jack Wilshere to realise he must get his act together.’
Mediawatch admires Sutton for his optimism, but given that Wilshere has failed to realise that the other time he was sent off, the times he was pictured smoking, the time he was arrested outside a nightclub and the time he spat at a taxi driver who refused to take him home because he was too drunk, we’re not convinced that this will be the catalyst for change.
Against Modern Football quote of the day
‘Tracey Hughes, the chief executive of Silicon Valley Sports Ventures, said she saw parallels in consumer relationships with other brands. “It is an ongoing conversation between customer and brand. We want to be in the know as to what they are wearing, what their day is like. We want to see a picture of what they are eating. It makes us feel close to them, more connected. Access has been redefined’ – From Rory’s Smith’s excellent New York Times piece on Manchester City.
Recommended reading of the day
Rory Smith on Manchester City’s tunnel club.
Paul Wilson on simulation clampdown.
Jack Lang on PSG and Neymar.