Remember Thursday, when Neil Custis of The Sun wrote that ‘Manchester United’s is certainly a defence that gives nothing away no matter who is in it’? That seems an awful long time ago now…
Why won’t anybody talk to me?
Mediawatch opened its copy of The Sun with some eagerness, excited to read which way Neil Ashton’s hyperbole-meter was swinging at Chelsea and whether Neil Custis had watched his beloved Jose Mourinho’s desperate efforts at Huddersfield Town. We were disconcerted to see that Charlie Wyett was on duty at Stamford Bridge, but not disappointed at all in Custis; he delivered. And then some.
Of course we knew that he would absolve Mourinho of blame. Of course we knew that it would all be the players’ fault. We may even have guessed that he would go down the ‘this would never happen in Roy Keane’s day’ route.
(As an aside, the idea that ‘West Brom, Southampton and Sunderland were always taken on with the same vigour as Liverpool. Chelsea and Arsenal’ in Keane’s day is a tad misleading; remind us again who was in United’s midfield when they were embarrassed 6-3 by Southampton).
But we were not quite prepared for the depth of Custis’ ire at the Manchester United players. FOR NOT SPEAKING TO HIM. Yes, they were awful against Huddersfield Town. Yes, several players made several errors. But their real crime was not stopping to talk to the little Geordie man from The Sun. And he is seething…
‘ROY KEANE was never afraid to front up in times of adversity.
‘The Irishman may have been one of Manchester United’s greatest ever players but he never felt speaking to the media was beneath him.
‘Sadly, the same cannot be said for the majority of the current crop – win or lose.
‘Only Ander Herrera fronted up to the TV cameras after Saturday’s shock loss to Huddersfield and said what we all knew – that this display was not good enough.
‘No one stopped to speak with the written press.
‘As long as you were polite and said, ‘Please, Roy’, Keane would always stop in a stadium’s mixed zone and answer the media’s questions.
‘He was not alone in doing that during United’s glory years.’
Mediawatch can only imagine a forlorn Custis saying ‘Please, David’, ‘Please, Chris’, ‘Please, Marcus’, ‘Please, Anthony’, ‘Please, Romelu’…
Tip: If you want players to stop and talk to you, maybe don’t write that the centre-forward who created Manchester United’s only goal of the game with trickery on the wing followed by a phenomenal cross that he was ‘static’ and ‘waiting for the game to come to him’. Especially if your own newspaper publishes statistics saying said centre-forward was recorded running at the third-fastest speed in the Premier League this weekend. Can you sprint statically?
Tom Tom club
Neil Custis was clearly so busy begging various Manchester United players for a word, that he missed the real story – Huddersfield’s Tom Ince telling the Daily Mirror, among others, that Manchester United lack the fluidity of Manchester City or Tottenham and “build up the game slowly”.
Not quite fitting your narrative, Neil?
Now Mediawatch is never quick to defend Jose Mourinho but this from the Daily Mirror website is wilfully misleading…
‘Despite his recent struggles, one of Jurgen Klopp’s record isn’t the worst among his Premier League rivals. He has a 53.19 percent win ratio in the 47 games since the start of the 2016-17 season, putting him fifth among the big six.
‘The one manager below him? Jose Mourinho.
‘Manchester United may have started this season well (before Saturday) but Mourinho’s win percentage is just 51.06 from the 47 games played. That leaves the Portuguese well adrift of Antonio Conte, Mauricio Pochettino, Pep Guardiola and – whisper it quietly – Arsene Wenger.’
Yes, but only if the only statistic used is ‘win percentage’. Annoyingly, the Premier League insist on using ‘points’ as a measure, and on that basis Jose Mourinho is dead even with Klopp and just two points shy of Wenger. He is getting dicked by the other three, mind.
Obviously the biggest story in football at 12pm on Monday was not Tottenham’s dismantling of Liverpool, but this, according to the Daily Mirror at least…
‘What pressure? Under-fire Koeman enjoys night out with friends hours after Everton’s thrashing by Arsenal’
When oh when will football managers and players realise that they are absolutely not allowed to enjoy themselves after a defeat? Go home and put on a hair shirt, Ronald, you daft Dutchie.
But then when you stop smiling, you get accused of arriving for training ‘stony-faced’ (thanks MailOnline).
Tactics with John Cross
The Daily Mirror’s John Cross hates all talk of tactics (it’s for hipsters) and it’s little wonder.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain coming on for Dejan Lovren at Wembley confused him…
Liverpool looking much more secure with a three and Milner and Ox at wing backs.
— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) October 22, 2017
That never happened. A few people pointed out his error so minutes later…
Liverpool looked like they were going to a three after Lovren sub, then quickly reverted to a 4-3-3. Slightly tighter, but still vulnerable
— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) October 22, 2017
But by Monday morning, he has it sorted…
‘There were gasps in the ground when Lovren’s number went up, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain came on and a reshuffle saw Emre Can go to right-back and Joe Gomez into the middle. They looked slightly more secure…’
Conclusion: They only ‘looked like they were going to a three’ to one befuddled man who happens to be the Chief Football Writer of a national newspaper.
The Kane gang
Mediawatch understands why Garth Crooks chose Hugo Lloris in his BBC Team of the Week despite eye-catching performances from Lukasz Fabianski, Jordan Pickford and Jonas Lossl elsewhere. After all, how else was he going to discuss Simon Mignolet?
But try and guess under whose name these words appeared?
‘As for Liverpool, let us be frank with each other. They are a great club with amazing history and they deserve a manager to reflect those points. There are few managers in the world who can take the title to Anfield but I believe former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich boss Carlo Ancelotti is one of those.
‘The blind spot causing current Reds boss Jurgen Klopp not to see the deficiencies in his defence is becoming seriously embarrassing and must be affecting players like Philippe Coutinho, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.
‘I said at the beginning of the season that it was madness to turn down the £100m-plus offer from Barcelona for Coutinho and not use that money to build a defence worthy of challenging for the title. Having rejected that extraordinary offer, Liverpool executives are now forced to rethink the club’s strategy and fix what is an obvious problem. The man that can do that is Ancelotti and they must get him now while he’s available.’
Make yourself an extra frothy coffee if you guessed ‘Harry Kane’. Maybe stir it with a crowbar…
Headline of the day
‘Hey, did you happen to see the Boufal goal in the world?’ – The Daily Mirror.
Only works if you’re over 40.
Recommended reading of the day
Paul Doyle on David Wagner.
George Caulkin with Billy Kee.
Nico Morales on Maurizio Sarri.