Mourinho is an analogue manager, Liverpool fluke and more mails…

Date published: Friday 5th February 2021 2:26 - Joe Williams

Jose Mourinho Jurgen Klopp Spurs Liverpool

Thanks for your mails on Liverpool, Jose Mourinho and more. Send your views to theeditor@football365.com

 

Jose, the analogue manager in a digital age
Alot of people seem to forget that Jose leaves clubs in total ruins after 3 years maximum, leaving players as shells of themselves and taking no blame whatsoever for any of the issues on the pitch.

This was never more apparent after he left Utd. He joined Spurs and tried to repaint himself as a happy go lucky character, smiling and saying he has learnt from his mistakes. That mask never lasted long. He started with potshots at Utd when he joined Spurs about how he now has a better squad, and said 4th was a guarantee. That worked out well!

Now it’s getting into the Jose Toxic phase, it is time to once again ask, is Jose from a bygone era in football? How many clubs can he really leave and keep painting himself as a victim to the owners and players not implementing his style?

Like Wenger, Jose fell behind the modern game. He is an analogue manager in a digital age with no ability to adapt. I feel sorry for Spurs fans having experienced the toxic grease monger, but like Utd, you’s fell in the trap and are yielding the results.
Gary B (He is going to get a big job in Italy again isnt he?)

 

The cost of Mourinho
I agree with Glen from this mornings mailbox. Mourinho must go. His tedious dont-make-mistakes-football is soulchrushing to watch. Glen made the point that he doesn’t think Levy would sack Mourinho mid-season and I have heard other fellow Spurs fans make claims that it would cost too much to pay out his contract etc. However I would like to point out that while Mourinho is handsomely paid it is not a whole lot of money in the grand scheme of things (why yes, I have multiple peacocks in my back yard and my toilet seat is solid gold). By this I mean we need to consider the costs of keeping Mourinho on – keeping the status quo. By now players are truly afraid to take any risks those 5 or 6 times per game we actually win possession and this leads to joyless, neutered football. Why should Harry Kane want to play for this Tottenham side. Why should Son? Or anyone for that matter? The cost of having a joyless team which nobody wants to play for is far greater than the “measly” sum needed to get rid of Mou and bring in a Coach who actually likes football. Get rid now, let Ledley King be care-taker for the rest of the season while the squad gets its mojo back and get Brendan in the summer please.
Sibbi, the Icelandic-Spur

 

Fred London…really?
I know Spurs fans are like Zombies after watching Jose for 14 months but is Fred for real??

Last season Liverpool were lucky because they beat Burnley away with a deflected goal??
They beat Burnley 3-0 that day.
Son should have put Spurs 2 up but conveniently forgets the chances Liverpool missed in that game before the Son goal.
It was from the left edge of the box,20 yards from goal so hardly an “open goal” as you claim.
No mention of season 18/19 when Liverpool got 97 points and won the CL either.

Comparing them to Leicester in 2016.
Leicester won it with 81 points.
Liverpool had 82 points when the league went into lockdown with 9 games to play.
Leicester won it with 2 games to go.
Liverpool won it with 7(a record).
Leicester scored 68 goals.
Liverpool scored 85 goals.
Ranieiri was sacked the following season with Leicester in a relegation dog fight.
Liverpool are currently 4th whilst enduring  an insane injury crisis.
The spine of VVD,Gomez,Fabinho,Henderson Salah,Mane,Firmino have played 4 games together.
Not to mention the injury to new signing Jota who started like a house on fire.

You aren’t exactly comparing like with like.
They are also competing with a City team that have spent £550m more net.
To put that into context,if Klopp spent £1.1bn in the next 3 years and Pep bought/sold nobody,Klopp would be in the same position Pep is in now.
If that happened and if Laporte,Dias,Stones, were out for the season would City be anywhere near Liverpool.
They missed Laporte for 6 months and finished 18 behind Liverpool(a lucky Liverpool apparently) & couldn’t win the CL even though the games were one off affairs.
Ferg,Cork

 

Let’s all quell the hysteria about Liverpool for a second shall we?

Yes Liverpool have a problem but like all problems let’s define what the problem actually is before trying  to solve it (eg sell all our best players, bring back stevie G, declare everything Klopp and FSG as a fluke – welcome back Fred London – still holding onto that bitterness I see!).

Liverpool have a problem breaking down lower level teams in the premier league that but 8-9 men behind the ball and then score on the break or from a set piece. That’s it. That is their main problem at present. They can still successfully defeat most teams that don’t follow this tactic to the last letter, ie who try to play us. No hard luck stories here ala Wenger for years (why oh why don’t they try to play football against us?!) they don’t have to try and play football against us, in fact that is a very good decision for these teams, it’s Klopp and his teams job to figure our how to beat them.

This is where I think some of the current criticism is valid. Even Fred is right in a way (just puked a bit in my mouth sorry) Liverpool have been struggling to break down deep lying teams for around two seasons now. We shouldn’t have to rely on running these teams to exhaustion or being last minute mentality monsters to beat the bottom dwelling teams of the league. And yet Klopp keeps on using plan A with lessening effect over and over again, it’s just getting easier for these teams to set up against us and beat us. As was noted by this website we didn’t even look like scoring against Brighton the last night, why?

Klopp said the players looked mentally exhausted, and as most people noted this was nonsense. They looked full of energy against Spurs and West Ham, then suddenly exhausted, nah mate not buying it.

So what is Klopp saying, is this just standard Mourinho deflection? I actually don’t think so. With a lot of things in life Klopp is saying something about himself, I’m mentally exhausted by this situation. He is missing the fans, the emotion, the energy of football. We know this is one of his greatest strengths, it stands to reason he would miss it, but there is more I feel.

Klopp is exhausted by this problem. What he is doing isn’t working. So called lesser teams have figured him out and he can’t solve the riddle. Why is this?

For me Klopp is wedded to his principles of how the game should be played on this one, and in particular his beloved counter press. But as the whole world can see you can’t counter press a wall, and trying plays into the hands of opponents.

Klopp needs to step it up. This is the biggest challenge of his Liverpool career. And if he doesn’t he will surely not win another premier league as Nostrafreddus has forseen in his crystal ball of misery.

So what can he do. Klopp in order to clove his problem needs to abandon his beloved plan A. Like Wenger couldn’t he needs to find another way to win. At the moment he is no doubt surrounded by yes men telling him how great he is after recent triumphs and having fairy dust blown up his arse by all and sundry. He needs to throw this away and find another way.

I’m no football expert but if something isn’t working try something else. I wrote a few weeks back about un-inverting Salah and Mane to open up opposition defences and get some high percentages lower balls into the box for late runners from midfield, not rocket science. Even more simple would be to take the American idea of special teams from American football. Cant break down the castle walls with sabres, then get out the battering ram. We have some of the best crossers in the league but no one to head the ball. Buy an expert header for these games as special teams and sit Firmino on the bench for a rest. Suddenly centre backs have a job to do and have to defend again. Expert high balls start to work and can be alternated with braking balls and our usual game in the spaces that appear, again not rocket science.

The problem with these approaches are that Klopp might think they are below him. The his is his challenge. Can he get over himself and ditch the principles the ego and the self image in order to win?

Liverpool only need one mentality monster to become an unstoppable force and that is Klopp himself, no wonder he feels exhausted, this is the biggest challenge of his career, himself.
Dave LFC 

 

Stijn and particularly Fred, what the actual f*** are you smoking?  Whilst this may not yet indicate a dynasty (and write this team off at your peril because there’s plenty more to come) it’s indisputable to anyone but the most one-eyed moron that a twice finalist of the CL winning one of them and a PL runner up (by 1 point) with a record points tally followed by a PL winner with a points tally only ever beaten once is anything but flukey.  Let me give you a rundown of the past 3 seasons:

2018 PL

4th Place 75 points

 

2018 CL

1st in group

Beat Porto 5-0

Beat Man City 5-1

Beat Roma 7-6

Losing finalist to 12 times winners Real Madrid

 

2019 PL

2nd Place 97 points (a points tally that would’ve won every league in history bar 2 including that season)

 

2019 CL

2nd in Group

Beat Bayern Munich 3-1

Beat Porto 6-1

Beat Barcelona (coming from 3-0 down in first leg) 4-3

Won final against Spurs

 

2020 PL

1st Place 99 points (second highest ever points tally ever having been 27 points clear in February)

 

2020 CL

1st in Group

Lost to A. Madrid 4-2

 

95% of me thinks that you’re on a wind up but there are some deluded supporters out there who refuse to believe what’s in front of their eyes so there’s still a chance that you’re that way inclined.  That Fred has cited 2 or 3 examples of good fortune across a season (as if no other team benefits from deflected goals or player mistakes) as some kind of justification of his assertion that Liverpool were ‘the luckiest team in PL history’ is so laughably weak as to surely indicate a wind up.  But, as I said, you never know.  Some supporters are that blinded by hatred that they will concoct all sorts of weird fantasies to insulate themselves from the reality of a team they dislike performing well.  Those ones deserve to be ridiculed.
James Outram, Wirral

 

Finances and football…
As it’s Friday and I have next week off I’m coasting through work today and came across an article from the Financial Times about transfer budgets from last year. Last summer the value of international transfers in the mens game fell by about 30% from over $5 billion to $3.9 billion. They blame the double whammy of Covid and Brexit causing market instability. There were also 25% less paid transfers occurring, with clubs opting instead to sign out of contract players to save money on upfront costs. This suggests that clubs are banking on markets returning to normal as they will still commit to paying long contracts, but the lack of instant funds is definitely impacting transfer fees.
I wonder whether this is good or bad for clubs just outside the financial elite such as Leicester, West Ham, Everton etc. It seems to me that these clubs will be more likely to resist the big boys coming and taking their shiniest assets (players like Rice, Maddison, Richarlison) by holding out for huge fees that no one can currently afford. This seems like a benefit, but surely the people running these clubs have made plans on the assumption that they will at some point be receiving upwards of 70 million for these players. Are they relying on that windfall to maintain their current spending, or to use to reinvest in the squad? For example, perhaps West Ham would have signed a striker this past window if they were confident of selling Rice in the summer.

Will be interesting to see if this has any effect on these clubs, hopefully it will allow them to keep their best players a little longer and start cracking that glass ceiling a bit more.
Dave, Brighton

 

 

To suggest a Liverpool fluke is absurd…
I don’t often write in to the mailbox daily anymore but I do read daily, and to be honest, the froth and reactionism grows a bit tiresome these days.

I just wanted to give my hopefully measured two cents on the how Liverpool’s struggles have manifested because some of the mails published this morning, and most days it seem are ridiculous.

Liverpool are struggling at the moment, that much is clear for all to see. The invincibility has gone, the home record has gone, the title has gone. Mailboxers and F365 writers have written a lot about it trying to find reasons, or worse still, ignoring mitigating factors.

If you remember last season, Liverpool romped to the title, with City a distant 2nd. Why did City struggle so much last season? They’d lost Kompany then then Laporte crocked himself for most of the season. They lost their central defence, and never recovered. Sound familiar? Liverpool have lost their entire senior central defence unit, have had their best two central midfielders filling in. This has resulted in a balance shift with knock on effects elsewhere. The high press has gone, the relentlessness has gone, the results have suffered.  Is this the ONLY reason for the downturn in form? Of course not, but it’s a pretty big factor in it. Throw in no real pre-season, three games a week give or take for most of the season, with little room for rotation, the team’s exciting new forward being injured for the best part of three months after playing in a dead rubber (which was a big mistake from Jurgen in hindsight) and you begin to see how all these factors have played a part. Does this mean the team’s put out against Burnley, Brighton, WBA and Newcastle shouldn’t have still won? Nope… all those performances were really poor no matter what the other circumstances. We’ve just been really sh*t at times, pure and simple.

Some of the players just look knackered. Most of this team have been together, and have played relentlessly for 3 or 4 years with little break. Two champions league finals in a row, winning that competition the year they fluked their way to finishing 2nd on 97 points, and then coming back the year after and winning it at a canter. Maybe mix all these things in together and it tells a story about what we’re seeing. No team stays relentless forever, and ignoring factors around the XI that go on the field is wilful ignorance.

Would this team have retained the title if key players had stayed fit and covid hadn’t f*cked up the schedule etc?… we’ll never know. But to suggest what they achieved over the last 3 years was a fluke or in some way lucky is lazy, ignorant and absurd.

Oh and ps… Getting rid of Klopp now and getting Gerrard in? Jesus, get a grip
Rick

 

A sense of perspective…
I do become irritated with the childishness that perpetuates the Football 365 mailbox almost daily and also the psychological ‘herding’ of a collective that shares one attribute, mainly supporting a football team. When people berate Liverpool fans for having a sense of entitlement and for over-reacting for example, is that all fans? Or just those who’s emotions have driven them to send a nonsensical mail? I’m a Liverpool fan. I have been for thirty five years. I have no sense of entitlement. I appreciate the performance of the team over the last three seasons and have no expectation that success will continue to the same levels years after year. I’m too long in the tooth as a football fan to ‘expect’ that. There is no surprise that after two herculean seasons and coming into a season with no pre-season that fatigue may play a factor as the playing style relies on intensity.

When the heart of the defence was ripped out the knock on effect to the midfield has been palpable. All these calls for major overhauls are pathetic. If most of the key players were to be available and them squad had a rest followed by a proper pre-season then I’m pretty sure they will come back stronger next season. This season is bonkers for obvious reasons so comparisons to previous title defenders are silly. To my fellow Liverpool fans, suck it up. Get used to the fact that following a football team is like a rollercoaster. Not everything will go your way, all the time. Develop a sense of perspective and look at the bigger picture. Develop some humility for goodness sake. By reacting to every knockback with hyperbole, you are feeding those who think all Liverpool fans are entitled clowns. We are not. There are many of us who respect other teams and accept that we will not always be on the top of the tree.
Dave

 

Football bugbears
Strikes me that in the current Covid climate, football has a great opportunity correct some of the ills in the game. My biggest personal bugbears are:

  1. Simulation (diving/cheating), we seem to have gone through a phase we’re this has crept back into the game. This is the tendency for players defending to flop at the slightest contact to relieve the pressure they are under and players attacking who very deliberately accelerate and then start to dive and leave a dangling leg to initiate some contact. This is all pretty odious behaviour but the frustration is that the referees seem to fall for it (pardon the pun) pretty much every time. Diving (cheating) needs to result in suspensions and fines. The scary bit about this was Graham Scott who VAR’ed Southampton’s 9-0 defeat. Having looked at the replays, slo-mo’s, etc,  he actually upheld Bednareks sending off. The fact this has subsequently been rescinded means he doesn’t understand the laws. Not having a go at him, but to me, it means the laws are simply wrong.
  2. Time wasting. This is in the form of slowing down play by standing in front of the ball after having conceded a free kick, this should (in my view) be an instant booking. The player knows his team have been penalised and to prevent a quick free kick from being taken the fouled team are penalised for a second time. Simple answer is an automatic booking for any player making no effort to retreat 10 yards and additionally advance the free kick 10 yards. I guarantee you inside a fortnight, this would stop happening.
  3. Agent payments. This again is an extraordinarily simple thing to fix. This murky area could be very simply cleaned up by making it illegal for anyone other than the player being allowed to pay an agent fee. Basically, this would mean instead of clubs and third parties having relationships in transfer and contract dealings, it would be simply up to the player to pay his agent a cut from his income, bonuses, etc. The only issue this presents is the potential for young players to get fleeced. This could be resolved by placing agent contract limitations in place, or the FA’s advising and making standardised contracts available to young players.
  4. VAR. Good old VAR. Where to start, well quite simply we have to accept that it is not going away, however, I think we need to go back to the interim approach, where it was only used for “matter of fact” issues. We need to go back to referees making real time calls on fouls and VAR having a very, very high bar for interventions.

Am I missing something here. All these issues have pretty simple solutions, why are these things not dealt with logically. Seems pretty straightforward to me?
Dale (use lock-down to do something useful) Marlow

 

The return of Eden Hazard, lets be careful
Football 365 featured it in their Gossip column on Friday morning, I read about it on the social media platform that at times can be truly toxic, Twitter, Eden Hazard potentially returning to Chelsea in the summer, a smile lit up my face, not since the days of Gianfranco Zola did Chelsea have a player who could create magical moments, go on a magical run, score a beauty of a strike, perhaps start a run at the halfway line like against West Ham and Arsenal, beat every player on the pitch and place it into the back of the net, he is a luxury player that we all love to watch, but that was the Eden of old, not the Eden of now.

When we let Hazard go to Spain to fulfil his dream, it was with warmth, love and acceptance, we knew his time at the Bridge had come to its natural end, due to his age and his contract it was for the best he moved on, we would get a considerable amount of money for him, he would get his dream move and the world would continue to turn, even if we all did wish he would sign a new 4 year deal, it just was not going to happen.

But his time in Madrid has been nothing close of a dream, more a true never-ending nightmare, he may have a La Liga winners medal in his back pocket, but he only managed to play 16 games in the competition in 2019/20, scoring just the one goal, this season he has managed 8 league appearances, scoring twice, sadly injury has truly hit him hard, injuries were not something any Chelsea fan witnessed with Eden during his time in London, according to TransferMarkt, he only missed a total of 20 games for Chelsea due to injury over the course of 7 years, whilst at Madrid he had already missed in just 18 months a total of 44 games, expected to now by 51 games with his latest injury, then when you hear the Belgian team doctor state his injury problems are chronic you start to think this could be a continuous cycle which may in a worse case scenario end in an early retirement for one of the games most exciting players to watch.

Overall would I want Eden Hazard back at Chelsea? Of course, he is an icon, a special player who fans will always love, but should we bring him back to Chelsea? no, the injury problems are to much of a red flag, it could also tarnish his legacy if he was to come back and not hit the same heights, sometimes an incredible movie no matter how much you would love one, does not need a sequel.
Mikey, CFC

 

Why all the negativity?
Reading through the mailbox (procrastination 101 from work) the last few days and weeks, it struck me how much negativity there is at the moment!

I am absolutely loving this season – I actually have hope when watching Man Utd this year (compare to Mourinho’s years – sorry Spurs fans, get used to feeling apathy when watching your team). Leeds, Villa, Leicester, even West Ham are having quality, watchable matches.

At Man Utd, OGS clearly had a plan to buy a right winger over the summer and when that didn’t happen, he has had to completely shift his tactical plan, which is finally bearing fruit. Surely AWB’s attacking output is so poor because he spends all match doing the job of a fullback and winger! Watch him around 60 mins, he is absolutely knackered. Also all the people saying the 9-0 was nothing special – no way last season that the team would have kicked on to score 9 against another team – shows how OGS is increasing the player’s winning mentality. I am enjoying the team’s evolution – sure, we aren’t going to win the title this season, but to even be up and around it at this stage is progress.

For all the angst over Liverpool, surely the answer is really simple – before VVD came to their club, they were not-quite-title challengers – he is the primary reason why they could play the attacking, heavy pressing that won them the league last year – without him, both full backs have to watch their backs as he isn’t there to clean up any opposing attacks, which affects the whole of Liverpool’s attack.

This has turned out longer than expected, but please….let’s have some more of what people are enjoying about the football! rather than the usual complaining about every single loss as if it means anything in such a topsy-turvy season.
Sagar (which Man Utd will turn up next game?)

 

Red cards
After yesterday’s appeal decisions, I was wondering if anybody has a list of the referees who have had most red cards overturned.  I’d be astonished if Mike Dean wasn’t top – unless it’s Jon Moss.
Peter Moody

 

A more concise defence of Dave Tickner’s article on Thomas Tuchel
I enjoyed it.
Robert, Birmingham

 

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