Erik ten Hag ‘sh*t the bed’ amid Man Utd collapse. And Jude Bellingham is going nowhere…

Editor F365
Erik ten Hag on the touchline during Manchester United's Europa League draw with Sevilla.

The Mailbox pins the blame on Erik ten Hag after Man Utd caved in to Europa sorcerers Sevilla, while there are doubts that Liverpool really have missed out on Jude Bellingham…

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United disaster
Oh… my… days… Ten Hag sh*t the bed there. What a complete disaster. 2-0 up and seemingly cruising. In complete control. So what does he do? Brings on Wout bloody Weghorst that’s what. (Amongst others). Took off Bruno (who was already suspended for the second leg by the way); took off Tony 1 and Tony 2 and left us with 2 kids and a donkey up front. Then wonders why we instantly concede the initiative, invite a load of pressure and all of a sudden instead of looking for a 3rd (probably match winning goal) make it almost inevitable that we concede at least once and as it turned out twice.

Now we have an almighty cup tie next week when we could have been plain sailing into the sunset getting ready for Brighton in the FA cup semi final.

First time I have questioned Ten Hag but that was his worst decision so far by a country mile.

I now make us second favourites against Sevilla who will probably knock us out AGAIN.

Then we have to play Brighton who will smell blood and probably knock us out of the FA Cup too. All of a sudden we have no defenders left and are under massive pressure just to get top 4.

God I hope I am wrong
Phil, MUFC Salford


…Erik Ten Hag should accept full responsibility for Manchester United’s demise against Sevilla. His unwarranted substitutions were duly responsible for Sevilla’s comeback. His substitutions were incongruent to the performance of the team and completely wrong for its timing, quality of the initial substitutes and disrruption to United’s control of the game prior to that. In particular, Martial and Sancho were contributing strongly and should not have been subbed.
Professor (Dr) David Achanfuo Yeboah


…Imagine being 2-0 up at home against a struggling Spanish side and then throwing it away in the last few minutes with two own goals. How, what’s the word…..Spursy?

Maybe United want Harry Kane even more than we know.
Scott, COYS


Sevilla’s spell
I’m obviously not privy to what or whom was sacrificed and when by Sevilla, but I am genuinely curious what shaman-like magic they’ve done with the Europa league. They were utterly unthreatening, spent more time diving and complaining then attacking and somehow come out of what should have been a 4-0 drubbing level after two own goals, and United’s entire first choice defence is now injured for who knows how long.

Plus Bruno got probably the most-ridiculous yellow card in history to also be missing.

Impressive stuff from a team that genuinely didn’t appear to know how to play football.
Ryan, Bermuda


Bellingham going nowhere?
Longtime reader and first time attempt at contributing to the mailbox. As a Liverpool fan, I’m not surprised the Bellingham ship seems to be sailing away. I always thought that would be the case with the money being touted for him and the finances at Liverpool.

But here is my bet – I don’t think Bellingham is going anywhere this summer. There is no science behind this, just a gut feeling. Only Man City, United and PSG can realistically afford him (Chelsea could but FFP has ruined that). Of these three I imagine only City will be of interest to him but I don’t think they’ll bid unless their forces to. United need another 3 top quality players to be challenging for the league and i cant see them spending upwards of 110 million on one player when they need to spend another 100million plus on other 2-3 other players, especially while the Glazers are still in charge. Swapping Dortmund for PSG feels like standing still, better team (debatable) but worse league.

I’m betting that clubs are waiting til 2024 where his price should come down significantly when he only has a year remaining on his contract. But I have been wrong before as my wife likes to keep reminding me


…So other fans have asked some questions about the Bellingham pursuit I want to throw my 5p in there.

Firstly if y’all recall we also “pulled out” and “ended our interest” in van dijk, naby keita and Allison … And signed all of them. All those were reported by sky and the usual tabloids as well. So don’t take the media at their unreliable face value.

Assuming we have ended our interest in Bellingham it would definitely make us look very inept since we put off buying midfielders for two years almost because we were planning for Bellingham in the same way we did for van dijk. So it would mean we are now just ‘winging it’ which is not how the club was run prior to two years ago in which succession and transfers were planned well in advance.

The reasoning is also strange – he’s too expensive ? Well the replacements (caicedo and rice) are equally as expensive in fact Brighton turned down a big money transfer for caicedo already. So if the problem is not enough money then we won’t be signing anyone we’ve been linked with because they will all be too expensive, we have 5 midfielders to replace pretty much.

A lower cost option (for me) would be to sign a high energy tackling midfielder similar to what mascherano used to do and move Trent to deep lying playmaker. A RB will be cheaper than a midfielder to replace, we could even move fabinho there since he can’t do DM anymore.
And then ahead of Trent and “new guy” Harvey and carvalho can get some game time in a position which is closer to the front three and has more creative freedom.

Anywho the whole Bellingham thing, if we have stopped wooing him, seems like a very silly waste of time when we could have replaced this midfield last season but didn’t because were were standing with a fist of roses at the airport waiting for “the one”

Read more: Mac Allister and Chelsea duo feature in Liverpool’s ten best alternatives to Jude Bellingham

Go Joe
Joe Willock absolutely deserves an England callup. He was a goal machine at Newcastle when we needed him to be, and when we needed it, he’s been part of the machine. I reckon he deserves as much credit for the Mags’ success as most of the squad. That kind of versatility deserves the big stage.
Chris C, Toon Army DC

Jude Bellingham reacts
Hit Robertson with a ban
Constantine Hatzidakis has now been cleared for any wrong doing, as it was accepted that he accidentally hit Robertson in the throat when shaking off Robertson’s arm pulling him back and harranging him.

Surely Robertson will now face a retrospective, multi week ban.

To make an example of Mitrovic, and not follow it up on the next high profile case, undoes any good work and makes a mockery of the whole show.
Conor, London


Dicky Keys
Just saw the article on Key’s Lampard Tweets.

‘I fail to see what Julian Nagelsmann knows that Frank Lampard doesn’t,’

I’d suggest ‘Being a competent football manager’ as just one thing.
Will CFC. Lampard out. Boehly out. F**k it, everyone out.


Get the badge in
In most North American sports the home team crest is painted right on the playing surface. In NFL football, NBA basketball and NHL hockey the crest is typically painted right in the middle of the field, court, or rink. I think it would be immensely entertaining to see the players attempting to play around the crest in an attempt to avoid showing disrespect.
Andrew (harping on about other sports again) – Canada


Max effect
Will keep this one short and sweet, but having seen Max (Keyboard warriors of the World fill yer boots) post on saying Arsenal haven’t ‘earnt’ being title contenders, I would just like to say Boo-hoo & cry us a river mate.

If your team has 70 odd points in early April, I think this goes to show Arsenal deserve to be in the title race. If anything, Arteta has done it the hard way by using younger players, so if he does win the title, it will certainly be more impressive than when Liverpool won in 2020. I can see where Max is coming from having only won the league once in the last 5 years while challenging City, but the only time I would say Liverpool were genienely unlucky not to win it was the 2018/19 season when they only lost once that season. But all the other seasons, get over it, City were simply the better team.

So don’t be a wet wipe Max, just because Liverpool are bang average currently. Oh and the fact you’re calling Mourinho a cheat is gold, he won more Premier League titles in two years between 2004-2006 than Liverpool did in the last 30 years.
Rami, Manchester


…Oof. For a Liverpool fan to suggest that his own team don’t employ the dark arts… wow. It’s like Jacob Rees Mogg saying he’s not an Edwardian nightmare figure.

The countless times during the Klopp era we’ve seen a sly Mané elbow, or Jota dive from the mildest gust of wind, or Salah making the most of any and all contact… it beggars belief that he has the stones to throw within his very own glass house.

Still, I suppose we all have our own biases and rose-tinted spectacles to sport don’t we?

Trust me, as Arsenal fans, we know we’re not perfect. But I think the transition from being one of the most entitled clubs/fanbases in the world, to being united and hungry for success after nearly 20 years without a league title means we’ve been on our own journey. We may have not ‘earned’ a title the way Liverpool earned it (with incredible 2nd place football for years), but we have earned the right to be involved in a way that hasn’t been seen in a very long time – going through our very own extreme makeover. Exciting times.
Will, Arsenal fan (definitely taking it one game at a time).


Vested interest
Why can’t we use technology for offside where you put sensors in the GPS vests that all the players wear nowadays, essentially in the middle of their chests, and if an attacker’s sensor is ahead of the defender’s sensor, then it is offside, and if it is not, it is not.

That way, decisions are not predicated on subjectively drawing silly lines about if the attacker’s toe is in front of the defender’s elbow or not, it just bleeps that one sensor is further forward than the other, regardless of arms, elbows and toes, and the decision is instant, objective, and non-negotiable.



Three fixes for VAR
I figured out how to fix VAR in three simple moves:
1 – Finite number of goal related VAR calls – basically give each team 2 maybe 3 VAR calls. So if a player scores and the defender thinks it might have brushed the scorers arm or there’s an offside, appeals and then it’s sent to VAR, but only a limited number so it cant be abused(in case they need later in the game). They attacker can do the same to prove no infraction took place. By only having a finite number of calls, they won’t be used frivolously, especially in a tight game.
2 – Time limits – decisions have to be made in 60 secs of less. You may get a few decisions wrong but it speed up the game and is still more accurate than just relying on the Ref
3 – VAR only gets to overrule on pitch refs decisions in the case of violent conduct or off the ball incidents. Everything else is the refs decision.

VAR was brought in to fix refereeing but had made it too complicated and is taking the joy out of football. It is however a brilliant tool and absolutely has it place in football. I think these 3 ideas might just help get the balance right.

Also, stop apologising for mistakes, it’s serve no purpose and undermines the process. Just fix it or bin it.
David in Galway


Hands across VAR
Nick: Understood.. But… no plan to penalise every hand ball just the ones the change the balls trajectory sufficiently to change the outcome of the pass / shot.

Just to make the VAR check soooo much easier

and if you think players are good enough to start setting up pinballs in the hope of hitting a hand.. then I call bullsh*t really..

Chelsea / Brighton xG says they cant even hit the (massive) target let alone any number of hands that may or may not be moveable or near enough to think about hitting.. and if you simply aim at the hand.. then you havent looked for a pass or shot (you have generally aimed directly at the defender…. as thats where their hands are.. attached to the defender) so you havent changed the flight of the ball.. no free kick / penalty

Again if you are crossing / shooting / passing and the hand of the opposition stops that happening, regardless of (alleged) intention or otherwise then it should be a free kick.
maybe should have worded it that way to a start with.. sorry

Surely way easier for VAR?

Especially if we take the 3 people Red button / Green button / 30second option as suggested by Rob.

Yes the ball hits his hand – does it stop it going where it was intended?
Yes – Foul
No – No Foul.. move on

easy (in my head at least)
Al – LFC – trying to find some interest in the end of the season as win or lose makes little difference to this season now. Hoping to avoid Euro Conference!


Vida and Virgil
In response to Alex, South London. Vidic may have been next to the most expensive defender in the world at the time. Hell, Harry Maguire may even be a flop for the price. But what standard has Van Dijk set apart from 2-3 good seasons? If we are being generous!

From what I can see, it was a high action midfield that stopped direct attacks on the defence and now that’s gone, we are finding out what Van Dijk is all about.

For the record, go back and look at the liability Rio Ferdinand was when Vidic wasn’t his central defensive partner..

On my part, I find the comparison stupid. I don’t for a second believe Van Dijk even enjoys defending as Vidic did! If anything, compare him to the most expensive defender in the world (at the time)…How does that work out?

Final note…Nemanja Vidic cost 7 Million pounds…What was Southampton’s finest? I’m assuming half the price of Harry Maguire…right?