Different sources for different courses
‘Manchester United fear Jose Mourinho could resign at the end of the season as boss starts to cut increasingly detached figure at Old Trafford’ – Daily Mail exclusive.
‘Manchester United have held extensive talks with Jose Mourinho over an extension to his contract at Old Trafford’ – Daily Telegraph exclusive.
Not exactly the same lede.
Home is where the heart is
In June 2017, Manchester United were similar odds as Manchester City to win the Premier League title, were closing in on their top transfer targets and all was well in Jose Mourinho’s life.
That life included living in Manchester’s Lowry Hotel, but that was framed as a good thing. In fact, it was proof of how happy he was in Manchester, as the Daily Mail explained at the time.
‘Jose Mourinho is so content with life in Manchester that he has decided to remain living at the Lowry Hotel,’ their piece read.
‘The Manchester United boss has stayed in the five-star hotel since his arrival last summer and Sportsmail understands he is pencilled in for next season.
‘United chiefs have always been unruffled by their manager residing inside a temporary home, claiming it does not impact on his job or suggest his stay will be short-term.’
So there you go. United had always been happy about it, and living in the hotel gave no indication whatsoever that Mourinho’s stay would be shortened.
Roll on seven months, and with Manchester United’s season not quite going to plan, all that has changed. Suddenly, the hotel is an indication of Mourinho’s short-termism. He’s not buying into Manchester life, you see.
‘If results were better and Manchester City were not proving quite so dominant at the summit of the Premier League, Mourinho’s domestic arrangements would not be such an issue,’ reads the piece in Thursday’s Daily Mail.
‘But when life in the shadow of Pep Guardiola looks so uncomfortable for the former Chelsea boss, it starts to be regarded as a symptom of a wider problem. Mourinho does represent an improvement on Louis van Gaal but the Dutchman is credited, at least, with committing to life in Manchester.
‘He and his wife made a home for themselves in Cheshire, often dining out in nearby restaurants and even joining the local tennis club. For the residents of Bowdon and Hale, the Van Gaals were a regular sight, sometimes when enjoying an evening stroll together. By contrast, Mourinho is something of a recluse, and far more likely to be spotted by commuters on the platforms at either Stockport or London Euston.’
So living in the hotel was proof that Mourinho was content when all was well on the pitch, but proof that he is disillusioned when they aren’t. Funny that.
All we want is consistency
‘I also felt Taylor did well by not handing a second caution to Jack Wilshere when he went down under a challenge from Andreas Christiansen (sic). Taylor saw the incident and played on which was the correct thing to do.
‘He didn’t go looking for trouble. It wasn’t simulation or a foul – it was just normal contact. Not every time a player goes down is simulation’ – former referee Mark Halsey in The Sun.
‘Jack Wilshere should have been sent off for an outrageous dive but luckily for him, referee Anthony Taylor’s view was blocked by a number of players. The Arsenal midfielder was right to be cautioned in the first half when he brought down Cesc Fabregas with a reckless tackle.
‘But knowing he was on a yellow card, he was stupid to dive over Andreas Christensen in the second half. Wilshere is a gifted player who has fought back from injury and his defence will be that he wants to protect himself. But with the spotlight on diving, it was a foolish act’ – former referee Graham Poll in the Daily Mail.
Glad we have these columns from former referees to clear things up.
Do as I say, not… #1
“The referees get away with you, the English press. you say nothing. We were first on the scoresheet and after that we again got a farcical decision. You decide what you want. Read the foreign newspapers and what they write about that, and the English newspapers and what they write, and you’ll see the difference” – Arsene Wenger, having not been asked about the penalty.
*Thirty seconds later…*
“What I find terrible is that we have just seen a great football game and we talk only about things nothing to do with football” – still Arsene Wenger.
Do as I say, not… #2
Mediawatch largely agrees with Gary Neville that football managers and pundits are a little “touchy” nowadays. Neville was responding to Jose Mourinho criticising Paul Scholes for suggesting that he wanted more from Paul Pogba. It was hardly an outlandish take.
Yet given that Neville got into a spat with Liverpool’s back-up goalkeeper Loris Karius last year, including posting a sarcastic apology on his Instagram page, it might be worth a quick glance in the mirror.
Ask and you shall receive
‘Does anyone else fear they may soon be hearing a familiar sound after Andy Carroll scored twice against West Brom on Tuesday?
‘A bandwagon starting to roll for him to go to Russia on the grounds that a) it’s always good to have the option of a big man on the bench b) on his day he is unplayable c) England never win a World Cup without a West Ham striker scoring.
‘If you do, please try to stop it’ – Brian Reade, Daily Mirror.
“I certainly think he would be a Plan B or a Plan C, whichever way you want to look at it. I mean aerially he is fantastic. He is still, without a doubt, one of the best headers of the ball in the Premier League.
“If he’s fit he’s got to be worth taking to the World Cup. I think there is certainly room for him in the 23. You need to take players who are on form, or fit, or offer something different. Certainly, he offers something different and if you need to nick a goal, if you need a set piece or need to put a ball into the box aerially, there aren’t too many better headers of the ball in Europe than Andy Carroll” – Danny Mills.
Like night follows day.
‘New Swansea boss Carlos Carvalhal revealed he is getting the best out of his fellow Portuguese Renato Sanches by laying the law down in English’ – The Sun.
Can’t help thinking that Paul Clement might have tried that trick too…
When stats go bad
‘Jesse Lingard is out-performing Lionel Messi right now – how Man United star’s stats compare to the world’s best’ – Talksport.
Hyperbole of the day
‘It is the sort of goal, deep into injury time, that will be talked about down the years at Arsenal’ – Neil Ashton, The Sun.
Presumably ‘talked about’ as in:
“Do you remember that Bellerin goal?”
“Against Chelsea in that 2-2 draw”
“Yeah. Decent goal, to be fair.”
Sports headline of the day
‘Meet Bruna Marquezine – the ‘world’s sexiest woman’ who Neymar just can’t resist’ – The Sun.
‘She’s the gorgeous actress who has got the world’s most expensive footballer and fans worldwide hot under the collar. But who exactly is Neymar’s long-time love interest?’
It’s the question we’re all not asking.
Recommended reading of the day
Amy Lawrence on Arsenal.
Miguel Delaney on Alvaro Morata.
Gabriele Marcotti on 2018.