The cheekiest f***ing headline of all time?
‘Man Utd could SACK Jose Mourinho this week after shocking defeat at Liverpool – claim’ – Daily Express website.
(‘That is according to former Ipswich and Leicester striker – and Manchester United fan – James Scowcroft’)
Oh Jesus. We have reached a new low/high.
The big reveals
Being Manchester United’s local newspaper, the Manchester Evening News is of course the place to go for all the big United revelations.
‘Manchester United stance on Jose Mourinho future revealed.’
You will be astounded to learn that ‘Manchester United have no intention of sacking Jose Mourinho’. Somebody needs to tell James Scowcroft. Pronto.
‘Jose Mourinho reveals three Manchester United players kept Paul Pogba out of the team vs Liverpool FC.’
You will be astounded to learn that those three players are those who started ahead of central midfielder Paul Pogba in central midfield. We’re pretty sure he revealed this with his team sheet on Sunday afternoon, fellas.
He said, she said
Mediawatch will never understand the primacy of quotes over actual football or analysis of that football. So when The Sun’s back page leads on the ‘story’ that ‘JOSE MOURINHO risked a fans’ backlash by admitting: Manchester United do not compare to Liverpool’, we just want to scream ‘We’re pretty sure that Jose Mourinho risked a fans’ backlash by managing a really shite Manchester United team to 3-1 defeat at Liverpool’.
Surely at that point – barring a massive ‘f*** you’ to the fans or an actual resignation – what Mourinho actually says is irrelevant. It is not a HORROR ADMISSION, it was a HORROR PERFORMANCE. Call it. Name it.
Against all odds
The Daily Mirror follow a similar tack on their back page with a sub-headline of ‘Jose claims United just can’t compete with Liverpool and blames Moyes & LVG as they slip to 1000/1 to win the title’.
Pesky fact: You could have got 1500/1 on Saturday when Manchester City beat Everton 3-1.
Oh and he didn’t blame David Moyes and Louis van Gaal either…but then you knew that already.
Are you a rather happy Liverpool fan this fine Monday? Well, you are a fool because your club is not winning trophies. Silly you.
Neil Custis of The Sun was obviously not at Anfield on Sunday (he’s not allowed), but he did go on Sky Sports’ Sunday Supplement to indulge in his usual Jose Mourinho cheer-leading, disagreeing with The Times’ Oliver Kay on the subject of whether success can be measured in something other than trophies.
“I think they do matter,” said Custis. “Manchester United have been in chaos for five years and won three trophies; Liverpool have won one since 2006.
“Do fans remember the night in Stockholm or getting into the top four? Do they remember an FA Cup final? Do the kids remember a Wembley FA Cup final or do they remember finishing third and getting in the Champions League, despite it being financially actually better?
“You’re in it to win trophies and he’s [Mourinho] a serial trophy winner. He does it season in season out.”
Well, apart from last season and probably this, yes. But Mediawatch is mostly interested in Custis citing the FA Cup as one of the reasons why Manchester United have been more successful than Liverpool in recent years.
You may remember that the FA Cup was not won by Mourinho but by Louis van Gaal, who famously called Custis a ‘fat man’. Custis told Sunday Supplement in 2016 that the FA Cup should not save Van Gaal’s job. In fact, he said that it should not “mask what we have witnessed over the last 18 months under LVG, which has been pretty poor”. What about the kids, Neil?
He then wrote in The Sun, just after United had won this trophy that now makes their last five years so much better than Liverpool’s: ‘The FA Cup has long since stopped being the trophy of note it was 30 years ago.
‘It is still worth winning and the United supporters lifted the roof when Jesse Lingard swung his right boot and delivered the spectacular extra-time winner.
‘But that cannot make up for two seasons of drudgery on the pitch. Or for finishing outside the top four for only the second time in 25 years.’
File under ‘mixed messages depending on which one paints Jose Mourinho in the better light’.
An insight into the mind of Duncan Castles as Manchester United unravelled at Anfield…
4.25pm: ‘Fabinho has been trying those little chip balls into the area all game. Finally finds a taker in Sadio Mane.
4.34pm: ‘Alisson Becker: ‘Best goalkeeper in the world’.
4.40pm: ‘Clever little adjustment from Jesse Lingard to lift the ball over Alisson in response to the goalkeeper’s error and score.
4.43pm: ‘Clear yellow-card foul from Roberto Firmino to bring down Marcus Rashford on the counterattack. Same intention as the one Diogo Dalot was booked for earlier, but more physical. Referee lets him off.
5.09pm: ‘Sadio Mane dives in studs up on Ashley Young as the full back is making a pass. Referee gives nothing. Three minutes later Herrera fails to reach ball and Salah – as he regularly does – hits the deck. Referee gives a foul in a dangerous area.
5.14pm: ‘Jurgen Klopp has been intelligent in schooling his players to play on the edge of English football’s lenient interpretation of the rules. How often do Liverpool win possession off the back of challenges that would not be accepted elsewhere?
5.25pm: ‘And now Martin Atkinson is gegenpressing for Liverpool.’
5.33pm: ‘Significant amount of good fortune that it found the net via woodwork and a spinning deflection off Ashley Young, but a smart ball from Sadio Mane and a good strike from Xherdan Shaqiri.
5.54pm: ‘At the fifth attempt, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool finally defeats Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United.
They wuz robbed.
Has the ridiculousness of The Sun using WhoScored‘s player ratings – but then rounding them down – ever been better illustrated by Andrew Robertson’s 6.97 and Victor Lindelof’s 7.00 resulting in the Swede being marked a whole point higher than the Scot?
Which goes some way to explaining how United’s starting XI scored 69 points to Liverpool’s 70 despite what we can all agree was an absolute mauling.
Just go back to, you know, using your eyes, maybe?
Recommended reading of the day
Barney Ronay wonders if Jose Mourinho could possibly be enjoying this
Joseph Brennan on Leeds and Marcelo Bielsa
Rory Smith on complacency at Manchester United