This made us laugh more than it should
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) March 7, 2016
From an interview on UEFA.com with Nani and Robin van Persie:
‘Best player you played with at Manchester United?
Van Persie: “Let’s choose each other, Nani. Nani! Nani!”
Nani: “So many good players. Ronaldo, the best player in the world right now but at that time Scholesy was great. I learned a lot from him in training. There were others, too, but he was the highlight during the time.”‘
Make your minds up
‘Jose Mourinho to agree Manchester United move: The secrets behind the next manager’s deal’ – Daily Mirror, February 11.
‘Man United to appoint Jose Mourinho before end of season?’ – Daily Mirror, February 14.
‘Jose Mourinho has already decided which areas of Manchester United’s team he needs to strengthen, according to reports. The Portuguese boss is widely expected to replace Louis van Gaal as Old Trafford boss at the end of the season’ Daily Mirror, March 5.
‘Sunday Mirror Sport understands the former Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid boss Mourinho has resigned himself to the fact that United are sticking with a succession plan that will see Ryan Giggs take over from Van Gaal’ – Daily Mirror, March 6.
‘Jose Mourinho reportedly wants to sign Mauro Icardi from his former club Inter Milan IF he gets the gig at Old Trafford’ – Daily Mirror, March 7.
‘Jose Mourinho’s move to Manchester United could hinge on outcome of Eva Carneiro tribunal’ – Daily Mirror, March 8.
‘Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United job is SAFE for next season — even if he misses top 4’ – Daily Mirror, March 9.
Go one better
Mediawatch can’t think why the man sacked to make way for Jurgen Klopp would want to put pressure on Jurgen Klopp, but Brendan Rodgers has done exactly that.
“The expectancy of course is to win the league, we went very close in my time and obviously Jurgen will go in and feel that he can improve on that and that’s why the owners made the change. They felt they wanted to improve and to improve on runners-up would be to win the league.”
Oh Brendan, Liverpool didn’t sack you because you didn’t win the league. They sacked you because you had them tenth in the Premier League in October after a significant summer spend, and the club were clearly on the decline.
Finishing second was Rodgers’ high point; taking 20 points from his last 17 league games in charge wasn’t.
On the same page
The following three headlines are based on exactly the same quotes from England manager Roy Hodgson:
‘Roy Hodgson: Wayne Rooney will be part of England’s Euro 2016 squad’ – Daily Mail.
‘Wayne Rooney will go to Euro 2016 regardless, insists Roy Hodgson’ – Sky Sports.
‘Roy’s Roo Euro Fear’ – The Sun.
Glad that’s clear.
A new era
‘Arsenal hero (not Vieira) made shock favourite to replace Wenger as manager,’ reads the headline on the Metro Football homepage. We were aware it was (not Vieira) because there’s a sodding picture of Dennis Bergkamp.
‘Dennis Bergkamp has emerged as the favourite with the bookies to replace Arsene Wenger as Arsenal manager,’ the piece claims.
Couple of things:
1) Bergkamp is not the favourite with ‘the bookies’, but ‘a bookie’. He is also fifth favourite – behind Patrick Vieira, Roberto Martinez, Ronald Koeman and Thierry Henry – with another.
2) Bergkamp was also favourite with that bookmaker on February 12 and January 2, the two dates on which Mediawatch has an archive of that webpage. This isn’t news.
3) Jurgen Klinsmann is the joint favourite to be the next Tottenham manager. We look forward to reading ‘SHOCK: Foreign club legend in line to replace Pochettino’ in the next few days.
Learn the hard way
From John Cross’ five things ‘learned’ at the KC Stadium as Arsenal beat Hull City 4-0 in the Daily Mirror:
‘Steve Bruce kept his job after relegation, kept the majority of the squad together and the KC is a Premier League stadium in all but name.’
Erm, it had the same name in the Premier League.
‘Hull seem destined for the Premier League. They have proved again over the course of two games against top class opposition they can compete in the Premier League.’
Erm, they just lost 4-0 at home.
‘When Per Mertesacker went off with a head injury, he gave the armband to Theo Walcott. A surprising choice, but Walcott also captained the team earlier this season to mark ten years at the club. If you thought that was a token gesture, think again. Walcott is clearly viewed as something of an elder statesman by Arsene Wenger.’
Mediawatch remembers Mertesacker handing Walcott the armband before the defeat to Chelsea; it was the dictionary definition of a ‘token gesture’.
Or, as Cross himself wrote at the time: ‘It is to mark his ten years at the club. It’s a touch sentimental, granted. But it probably made Walcott feel proud. But can you really afford sentiment in such a big game? And does it make a difference? The answer is probably no to both.’
And that’s the real quiz
“It’s a signal that the Premier League is strong because several clubs are still playing in the Europa League” – Louis van Gaal.
Yes, PSV and Wolfsburg are so jealous of Manchester United right now.
A running theme
‘Arsenal suffered three further injuries during their FA Cup replay with Hull. Here is their injury list. #SSNHQ’ – @SkySportsNewsHQ, 10.10pm, March 8.
‘Despite last night’s result, there was bad news for Wenger concerning injuries. More here’ – @SkySportsNewsHQ, 7.04am, March 9.
‘How will @Arsenal cope with their injuries? Let us know using #SSNHQ’ – @SkySportsNewsHQ, 9.06am, March 9.
‘Here’s a look at @Arsenal’s worsening injury crisis. How will they cope? #SSNHQ’ – @SkySportsNewsHQ, 10.12am, March 9.
‘Arsenal have far more injuries than title rivals. Here’s the Premier League injury table’ – @SkyFootball, 10.51am, March 9.
A ‘no smoking’ sign on your cigarette break
‘It is ironic that the downfall of Margaret Byrne, the £700,000-a-year Sunderland chief executive, stemmed from her keeping quiet. Byrne, who resigned before she was sacked for not revealing to the rest of the board crucial evidence she knew about the Adam Johnson case, has been tight-lipped since becoming CEO in 2011’ – Charlie Sale, Daily Mail.
It looks very much like Sale has confused the word ‘ironic’ with ‘entirely predictable’.
Ask a simple question
‘Did Guus Hiddink have one eye on tonight against Stoke City?’ – Sky Sports News HQ.
Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: They rested Diego Costa completely, started Cesc Fabregas on the bench, brought Eden Hazard off after an hour and gave Loic Remy 23 minutes. Yes.
Headline of the day
‘Third degree Byrne’ – The Sun. Absolutely excellent.
Recommended reading of the day
Sid Lowe on Las Palmas
Toke Moller Theilade on Daniel Agger and Brondby
Gavin Cleaver on Watford