Did Bruno Fernandes ‘ignore’ Ten Hag? Can Newcastle win 7.7 more games?

Editor F365
Bruno Fernandes ignoring Erik ten Hag

Manchester United and Newcastle United spark some headlines after the Carabao Cup final but first…some Garth Crooks.


In a land, VAR, VAR away
It must be one of the great regrets of Garth Crooks’ life that he wants to write a weekly column about VAR, officialdom and referees (but mostly VAR), but has got stuck putting together a BBC team of the week for which he is massively underqualified and frankly under-interested.

This week he includes Tottenham’s Cristian Romero (one paragraph of vague praise) just so he can spend three paragraphs railing against the farce of Hakim Ziyech being sent off only to see the red card changed to a yellow card thanks to VAR, even though he agrees it is eventually the right decision. Classic Crooks.

He also includes Villa forward Emiliano Buendia just so he could disagree with a penalty decision, writing:

‘Awarding penalties are within the gift of the referee and nobody else – even if we disagree with him it his ultimately his opinion.

‘Anthony Taylor’s decision to award Aston Villa a penalty for the tackle by Everton’s Idrissa Gueye on Buendia, were he to look at it again, video evidence would show Gueye made contact with the ball first and minimal contact with the player.’

And were Crooks to look it again, he might see that Gueye actually fouled John McGinn.

And then there’s Julian Alvarez, included because Crooks is seeing his arse about Manchester City being credited with a Chris Mepham own goal rather than a second strike from the Argentine.

‘Having controlled the ball stone dead and volleyed it towards goal, all the Bournemouth defenders could do was try to stop it entering the net – sadly for them they failed.

‘Why that should go down as an own goal is a mystery to me. The defender doesn’t want the goal to be attributed to him and the striker does. Who makes up these rules?’

Pesky fact: It was going wide.

There’s still time to include Leandro Trossard (VAR decision to over-rule his goal) before Crooks turns his attentions to the matter of an independent regulator for football. But that’s so far outside his comfort zone that he can only end it one way:

‘The question now is will it be good for football? Let’s just hope it’s better than VAR.’

Never change, Garth, never change.


Suits you, Sir (Alex)
Mediawatch enjoyed the exclusive from Neil Custis in The Sun about Erik ten Hag ditching plans to wear their Paul Smith suits at Wembley, though pitching it as a sign of the Dutchman’s genius is watered down a little when you note that Newcastle United did not wear suits either.

But it’s a genuinely good exclusive story that Ten Hag rung a club official on the other side of the world and made his case for arriving in tracksuits. And what was his case? Well…

‘Man Utd DITCHED Carabao Cup final suits for incredible reason as Ten Hag proves he has total control like Sir Alex’

This ‘incredible reason’ was – wait for it – that he did not want his players to waste time getting changed. Is that ‘incredible’ or just, well, sensible? It’s basically the same as primary schools having PE kit days.

And where one leads, others follow, so…

‘Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag ‘was unhappy and ruled against sponsors’ before Newcastle win’ – Express.

‘The reason why Erik ten Hag banned Man United players from wearing sponsored suits for Carabao Cup final’ – Sportbible.



Ignorance is blissful clicks
On seeing the headline of ‘Bruno Fernandes immediately ignores Erik ten Hag demand after Carabao Cup win’ on the Mirror website, our first thought was that the Portuguese midfielder had slipped on his Paul Smith suit after the final whistle, keen to be rebelliously smart for the photographs.

But of course not, Fernandes had ‘immediately ignored Erik ten Hag demand’ by suggesting that Manchester United should win more trophies to add to the Carabao Cup.

And when did Ten Hag demand anything different? What instruction did Bruno Fernandes ‘ignore’?

Well on January 6, Ten Hag said: “I know Man United are always aiming for trophies and we are going for that. [But] we cannot force this and have to focus on the next game, not focus on trophies; that is far away. We have to work on the team and development.”

It literally was ‘far away’ then; Manchester United have played an incredible 14 games since.

Can you ‘immediately ignore’ something said almost two months ago in entirely different circumstances? Well you can if you have click targets.


Will Eamonn Holmes get a medal? What about Davina McCall?
But the most important question to arise from the Carabao Cup final is not whether any Manchester United players defied the ‘ban’ on sponsored suits but this from the Mirror website, adhering to the clickbait rule that no headline cannot be improved without a mention of Ronaldo…

‘Will Cristiano Ronaldo get a Carabao Cup medal after Man Utd win at Wembley?’

Will Mediawatch? We played exactly as many minutes in the Carabao Cup.


(Slowly) rising power
Luke Edwards, Daily Telegraph, February 17, before Newcastle United lost to Liverpool and Manchester United to lose their top-four place and then the Carabao Cup final as he invented a ‘toxic rivalry’ with the former:

‘Newcastle are no longer irrelevant in Liverpool’s trophy-challenging, Champions League-competing world…what it really shows is that Newcastle is a rising power. They are a threat to Liverpool in a way they have not been for more than half a century.’

Luke Edwards, Daily Telegraph, February 27, after Newcastle United lost to Liverpool and Manchester United to lose their top-four place and then the Carabao Cup final:

‘Newcastle have a good squad, but it lacks the key ingredients of sustained success, depth and competition. This must be addressed – and it will be. This group have exceeded their limitations for a while, thanks to a steel-like team spirit and Eddie Howe’s astute management. They have outperformed where they are probably good enough to be.

‘There is a reason they have slipped out of the top four and have won just four of their past 12 games. It is mid-table form and they are sliding back in that direction. It was predictable. This is why they lost to Manchester United, too. This time last year, Newcastle were fighting relegation.

‘To have even talked about them playing in a cup final 12 months later would have provoked the sort of sympathetic looks reserved for someone who has lost their grip on reality. It was a sharp reminder of how much further they still have to travel until they are good enough to consistently compete for honours.’

And some people really did need a ‘sharp reminder’.


Computer says 5.5

Also, Mediawatch has been looking at the fixtures, and we really don’t know where Newcastle are going to get another 7.7 wins to finish fourth.