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Super fun Sunday
That was sh*te.
Bring on Liverpool
I am currently at half time in the Man Utd game and I can’t help but feel like I’m watching an FA Cup match, with Utd being the lower league team who lack quality and believe they have already lost.
There is a lack of effort, confidence and belief in every player currently on the field and the best player of the first half is Phil bloody Jones!
At what point does one of the players think “hell no, I’m taking this game by the scruff of the neck and going at them!”? I am not even half the player of the worst player on that pitch (Fred, Rojo or Lukaku) yet I seem to go at players more then anyone in this team.
Unless Mourinho changes something at half time, this will not be getting any better.
Joe (hoping this improves)
Team is worse with best players
The ridiculous truth is, every time we play our most expensive players (Pogba, Lukaku, Fred), we’re a worse team for it. Throw in the incompetent Jones and Valencia and last night kind of makes you empathise with Mourinho a little, especially when you look at those players at the back. There’s no legislating for that kind of f*ck-wittery, is there?
And as predicted, after 4 or 5 games of promise, we take another giant step backwards. Next up, Liverpool.
Jose is finished…and other United problems
There are many reasons why United are crap. The focus is wrong in the boardroom, to start. Madrid and Bayern are driven by ego and a superiority complex owing to their incredibly succesful history on the pitch. Management realise that the prestige attached to their names comes from their actions on the pitch and so the ultimate goal behind all their operational decision making is mainting dominance on the pitch. Not uncoincidentally, both of those clubs are owned by their fans. Manchester United, however, are owned by speculators and run by a former accountant and investment banker. The ultimate goal behind United’s operational decision making is maximising profit. That usually leads to marketing based decisions as opposed to trying to increase quality; you’re not going to give the customer a better product but you’ll try to trick them into thinking you are with an advertising campaign. Alexis Sanchez is an example of this. ‘Look, we beat City to a player because we’re still a big deal. Don’t mind those shitty games we’re putting on’. There’s still talk about a sporting director and you would think this could go some way to bringing a coherent vision to football operations but until it happens, I’m worried it’s going to be like Arsenal’s annual ‘warchest’ leaks to the press around the time season tickets went on sale.
Another reason, and one that is a direct result of the terrible ‘strategy’ behind recruitment over the past few years is the fact that most of the players just aren’t very good. Herrera, Mata, Lingard, Fellaini, Matic. These are 7 out of 10 players at best. Not a single defender in the squad is reliable which is just crazy for the world’s richest club. We might also have to face up to the possibility that Pogba is never going to realise his potential. He looked like a superstar at Juve but the Italian league was in the doldrums until the last couple of years. He has the odd brilliant game here and there but so did Nani. He’s been at the club two and a half years now. If he’s not showing consistency yet, when will he?
Despite all of that though, I keep coming back to how well an Argentinian manager is doing with a kid from MK Dons, someone from Championship Leicester’s bench, a kid from Ajax and a awkward looking French guy from Newcastle. I also wonder if Liverpool are maybe stronger than the sum of their parts and try to imagine how individual players would do in other teams, especially ones coached by miserable Portugese careerists.
Mourinho is finished. His football is dated and so is his man management. He has now publicly spoken numerous times about the difference in attitudes in players today compared to ten years ago. Ignoring the fact that people have complained about ‘kids today’ since time began, even if it’s true, he needs to stop complaining about it and learn to adapt to it. There’s no point making decisions based on what you think people should do. You have to accept what people are going to do and act accordingly. Mourinho’s constant complaints suggest he’s not able to accept it. He exudes negativity. There is no way that won’t affect his staff, both coaching and playing. Maybe Marcus Rashford feels very relaxed playing for England and is full of doubt and anxiety playing for United at this why you actually wouldn’t bet on him in a one on one with the keeper while he’s got a red shirt on.
There are plenty of problems with United PLC but really the majority of the issues on the football pitch are down to one Jose Mourinho. A football focused Bayern and Real would have sacked him by now. A profit driven United will wait until a contract clause lowers his severance package. This is going to be a horrible season.
1) Good grief, that was just awful. I’m going to be honest now – I switched off the game when Lingard came on, so these conclusions are only about the first 70 or so minutes. I only stayed with it for that long hoping that Mason Greenwood or James Garner might get on, alas it was not to be. But those first 70 minutes were some of the most wretched football I’ve ever seen. Ever.
2) Not a single player comes out of that game with any credibility, never mind credit. I know it was almost a dead rubber game but I’ve seen snails move with more urgency than our lot did last night. It was so bad that I’m actually struggling to put together a list of players that I would want us to keep, as opposed to the usual list of who I want us to sell. Of the players to actually take part, I think I would only definitely keep Rashford, Lingard, Bailly and Mata, Fred because he’s new, and I guess Young is a useful backup. But the rest I’m really not bothered about at all, so much so that I actually think we would be better off without them. Even Lukaku and Pogba – the only reason I would keep either is the vain hope that they might improve with a change of manager, but even that’s doubtful now.
3) Pogba was painfully anonymous most of the time, I actually found myself looking for him because he was conspicuously absent in most attacks. But the one time when he actually was in a position to do something good he managed to miss a chance so easy that even I couldn’t screw it up. Sure, the referee wrongly deemed it offside, but that really isn’t the point. If he was surprised at his frequent omission from the team, then that should shed some light on the reason why.
4) And what the hell, Phil? Has there ever been a more calamitous player? When he’s not injuring himself, gurning like a moron, or clattering into an opponent with reckless abandon, he’s scoring comedy own goals. He’s more of a threat to our goal than the opposition strikers. Now I come to think of it, he’s actually a pretty good personification of the club itself.
5) I did feel a little sorry for Bailly and Rojo; neither have played much football in recent months, and playing next to calamity Jones can’t be easy. Neither player performed particularly well, but I’m willing to be more forgiving of those two because of who they were playing next to.
6) I also felt sorry for Fred and Pereira. They really tried to make something happen a number of times last night but it just didn’t work for them. It really doesn’t help when they are barely playing, and the players in front of and around them didn’t really do them any favours either. It makes them look like bad footballers, which I don’t believe to be the case, so it would be unfair to judge them too harshly on last night.
7) Don’t get me wrong, the players weren’t entirely to blame – Jose takes his fair share. I would criticise the tactics but I genuinely don’t think there were any.
8) Last night would have been the perfect opportunity to blood some of the youngsters that many fans are dying to see get a go. Where were Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong? Why did Mason Greenwood and James Garner stay on the bench all night? We could have played all four last night and I guarantee that the performance would have been at least as “good” (totally the wrong word to use) as what we actually got. Moreover, we would have been giving valuable first team experience to four players who, if you believe Nicky Butt, are capable of playing for us in the long term. Instead, we put out a group of players, most of whom, in all likelihood, won’t be at the club by the end of next season.
9) No, last night felt more like Jose trying to make a point to the board: I need more money to spend. To a degree, he’s right – there is obviously a lot of deadwood in this squad – but Ferguson did a lot better with a lot worse. I know it’s an imperfect comparison, but it really is about how you manage the team at your disposal, and last night they didn’t look like they’d been managed at all.
10) But we do obviously need to improve the squad, there’s no questioning that. I think that Jose’s future will all depend on whether the board sanction the signings he wants. If Jose gets the players he wants in then I think we will start to see things pick up; I think his demeanour will improve, I think his tactics will change, and I think the overall performance of the team will probably see an upturn. If he doesn’t get what he wants then I can see him more or less sabotaging the rest of the season, trying to get fired before it’s mathematically impossible to reach next season’s Champions League – that way, he still gets his big payout and he can still blame it on the club.
11) Even the most paranoid Liverpool fan fearing they are going to get Jose’d must surely be rethinking that now, surely. I know that there’s no chance that most of those players from last night will be on the pitch at Anfield, but even if our “best 11” (if we have one) turns up and plays well (for us), Liverpool are still massively the favourites. I am not looking forward to Saturday at all.
Liverpool are the only remaining unbeaten side in the Premier League after 16 games, are top and have made it through to the Champions League knock-out stages.
Manchester United are 16 points behind, are closer to Brighton in 13th than Arsenal in fifth in terms of points, and are, well, sh*t.
I’d usually be fearful of form book-related window mishaps…but Liverpool are going to muller United, aren’t they?
More Hendo bashing
I agree with Danny A and his comments about Hendo. I don’t know how much analysis Klopp can do if he persists with Hendo and Wijno.
Hendo never faces forward, almost never passes forward, he doesn’t tackle and he fouls at the wrong time. It’s like Jim Fixed It for him to play in a top team. I recall a game last year when VVD appeared to refuse to pass to him for 15 minutes or so because it was utterly pointless.
Wijno is slow moving and slow thinking and takes 10 touches – they both conspire to slow down or stop attacks everytime. Neither can shoot or present a goal threat. Neither is the most diligent at tracking back, neither tackles like Milner or Lucas. What is the point of either? It is so obvious it is now a joke.
Ten minutes of Keita shows how much we are giving away – he is quick ,skilfull and positive. and should start any big game.
While I’m moaning , someone needs to wake up TTA, who is becoming poor at getting back whilst his crossing ability seems to have deserted him. This coupled with Gomez’ occasional casual marking leaves a weakness down that side.
Starting Shaq might also liven up Firminho and Mane who seem to lack their former urgency.
Apart from that , it’s a good job everyone else is a bit cr+p.
Sterling and dog whistling
Not sure how to start this email. As a black Liverpool fan with Jamaican parents I have followed Sterling’s career keenly and am happy he is fighting back and triggering what should be big changes in the media. I notice while a lot of people are rightfully siding with Sterling there are still many who say they do not see the racial bias against black players or that the examples Sterling provided do not show racism. I hope to provide some examples of the bias that perhaps go unnoticed to many but most black football fans pick up on. I believe this is called dog whistle tactics? However the guys F365 lcould always see it, so not sure that’s the right term:
Look at the way black players are often described in terms of physicality or compared to animals:
Pogba/ Yaya “Powerful midfielder”
Kante “Great engine”
Henry “Like a Gazelle”
Sterling/ Wright-Phillips/ Walcott/ Lennon/ Any fast black winger “Like a whippet/ headless chicken”
Never a mention about their technique, tactical nous or football brain.
Look at how a few years back Ashley Young was the face for of diving in the premier league – at the same time Bale, Gerrard, Rooney and Suarez were all still plying their trade in the prem.
Look at how black players are always compared to other black players, ie lazy ex pro’s and pundits saying Lukaku needs to be more like Drogba. When in reality other than being black and playing for Chelsea they are nothing alike as players. Or how many pundits labelled Keita as Liverpool’s answer to Kante before he arrived when anyone who had watched RBL or even taken a quick look at one of Keita’s YouTube highlight clips would know the only things they have in common are being black short midfielders and they are completely different types of players.
A few years ago when Klopp arrived and everyone said Sturridge would soon be bombed out due to his injury record – of course this was not helped by Klopp saying Sturridge “needs to learn the difference between pain and real pain”. Chris Sutton of all people said Sturridge “had a heart the size of a Pea”. Many questioned his attitude, heart and desire to play. People questioned his stomach and mental resolve for not playing through pain. Have you ever heard such claims about other injury prone players like Jack Wilshere, Phil Jones, Van Persie when he was at Arsenal, Andy Carroll or back in the day Darren Anderton?
Look at how black players like Sturridge, Andy Cole, Sterling and earlier this year Aubameyang are always described as moody and divisive with attitudes when joining big teams but there are NEVER quotes from any former teammates or members of old clubs to back these claims up. Almost like they’ve pulled out of thin air.
Look at how Coutinho and Sterling’s Liverpool exits were handled covered. Sterling to my knowledge was dropped by Rodgers for Liverpool’s last fixture in 2014/2015, didn’t turn up for a training session and eventually got his move. Coutinho refused to play the opening prem fixtures and refused to play CL qualifiers as not to cup-tie him should the transfer go through in August. Then in the winter months begged and pleaded with senior players for them to convince Klopp to sell him. Despite the difference in behaviour Coutinho was described as “still the little magician” who was only doing what his agent and Barcelona had told him and is still revered by many Liverpool fans in forums and comment sections of Liverpool websites. I don’t think I need to say how Sterling is largely perceived.
Look at the reaction to the gun tattoo. But how many articles have people seen about Alberto Moreno’s monkey holding a gun tattoo? Or Pickford’s dagger tattoo?
Of course there’s many more examples I could have included but I hope many of you will start to see and call out the patterns Sterling described.
Finally I want to address the mail yesterday from Tim Harrington (QPR), London. Sterling and Rooney do not have similar “rap sheets”, it seems you are perhaps swayed by Sterling’s media coverage. Rooney legitimately did many misguided things that led to media scandals: High profile infidelity, prostitutes, sending off at World Cup 2006, screaming abuse at England fans during World Cup 2010, drink driving, swearing at West Ham fans in 2011, sending off in Euro 2012 qualifier so he missed the start of the tournament.
The biggest things Sterling has been involved in are the alleged domestic abuse, which he was found not guilty of, the Nitrous Oxide incident, the gun tattoo and… spending too much/ too little on things?
I was also surprised to read about Sterling and a prostitute. Funnily enough I had a quick google and the first two links that came up were for Sun and Daily Mail articles… No other respectable news or sports outlet were in the first few pages. I think this tells us all we need to know about this particular story.
I love me some mediawatch.
What a mug.
Jon (sick, sick burn), Lincoln