Mailbox: Mythbusting the season, and Conte s***ting in lockers

Date published: Tuesday 1st June 2021 10:38 - Editor F365

Antonio Conte

It’s another rollercoaster of a Mailbox, taking in a bit more Champions League final fallout, scatological Conte content and all the very latest on whether Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is good or fraudulent.

Keep your mails on anything other than OGS being good/fraudulent coming to


I like to think of myself as someone who has a balanced view on things as a whole (minus the unnatural disdain for Marcus Rashford right now) and thought I would put my two pence in on some of the controversial topics of this season.

1. OGS is an awful manager – I can see both sides of this argument, yes he has done a lot better then the last couple of managers but also he has produced some stinkers of his own doing! That final was a disgrace and some of our games/tactics along with it, but I would also like to point out he has improved a number of our players, achieved our best finish since Fergie and at the same time brought some joy back to Utds playing style – Verdict: very close and jury is still out but I’m going with false for this one, but it’s really close.

2. Liverpool are awful champions – again I can see both sides of this but for me one side easily wins out on this. Yes their recruitment this year was not good by any means and yes they had a right mate in the middle for a while, but all in all the ship has been steadied and next year they will be back fighting for the league, plus they are in the CL – Verdict: false but not by much either.

3. Timo Werner is a failure and waste of money – Whilst he hasn’t scored as many goals as he would of liked, every-time I have watched him, he has been an absolute nightmare for defenders! This is his first year in England and I have no doubt at all he will come good and some! If Chelsea were looking to cut their loses I would take him at Utd in a heart beat as I genuinely think he would fit our pattern of play so well. I really don’t understand why people are on his back! Yes his finishing can improve but he’s young and will only get better – Verdict: Easy false!

4. Utd tried to hand Leicester CL to stop Liverpool – this might be the stupidest thing I have read this year! Utd were in a shit position thanks to a bunch of our moron supporters and the premier league being dicks, which gave us very little choice for the Leicester game (which we only just lost). Klopp himself said he would of done the same and that alone speaks for itself. Verdict: false and a small section of Utd fans and the premier league are the massive losers here

5. Pep bottled the final – this is not as easy to answer if I’m honest. City did not play to their level
No, but my god Chelsea were good! Tuchel tactics were spot on and every Chelsea player played out of their skins! I’m not sure I put this on pep, instead I put out my congratulations to Tuchel instead on a masterclass – Verdict: false and Tuchel should have come in earlier for Chelsea!

6. This was a rubbish season – this I massively disagree with! I think considering the circumstances and some of the previous seasons, this was a huge success and massively entertaining to watch! There was so much going on and some utterly mad results! – Verdict: complete false

7. OGS has to go for Utd to advance – whilst I think OGS has done an ok job on the whole I actually think this may be true. OGS for me just doesn’t know how to use his whole squad and seems a little bit to concerned in who does/doesn’t like him within the squad. He really shouldn’t of been in the situation he was in the final where all his bench weren’t match fit due to such little rotation and yet he was and that cost us. For me a top manager doesn’t get to that point and the reason I think he may never quite get us to the summit – verdict: true but I would be more then happy to be proved wrong.

8. Mourinho would of won Tottenham the final – i loved Mourinho at Chelsea, thought he was a breath of fresh air, then he came to Utd and I was so excited to see the special one make our club special again! However what we got was something very different! We got the tired, cynical, grumpy old man version, who just looked bored with life and management and wanted to start fights everywhere her went. When we got rid of him I was happy to admit I was massively wrong, then Spurs took him and I feared for them. They got the same Mourinho we did and yet expected different results! Sacking him came too late IMO and should of happened earlier! There was no way he was going to win anything at all and it’s a blessing he is no longer stinking up our league – massive false for me

9. TAA is rubbish – as a Utd fan I should be diving on this, but it’s simply not true. TAA went through a bad patch (as did the whole squad mind) but he is one hell of a player. His defending at times isn’t great (reminds me of a right back version or Eric Bailly, always relying on his pace to make up for his brain farts and poor positioning) but his attacking play is superb! – false

10. AWB get a nose bleed everytime he ventures into the oppositions half – whilst not everytime this is true to some extent. His attacking play has improved but it’s come at the cost of his defending. For me he’s not close to a £50 mil player and never will be, also his attacking play is always going to be ish ish at best and no matter who Utd buy to play on the right they will have to accept that too.

11. Var is awful – this is both true and false for me. Var has helped clear up some of the mistakes but contributed to others amazingly. I fear it’s being used completely wrongly, for me it should be there to right wrongs, nothing else. Is the player clearly offside? Yes right the wrong, is it too close for the naked eye to see, decision stands, stop with this line drawing crap! And I’m sorry but how the hell does it take so long for Var to pass on the decision? It’s a joke, there should be a light system the ref has (or maybe even in the stadium itself for all to see) stating correct or incorrect decision seconds after the decision is made and at this point the ref can decide to review the footage himself (only in real time, no slow mo options allowed) I’m also starting to think that linesman are staring to become redundant due to this system as their decision is pretty much ignored right now – Verdict: true but only just

I’ve probably missed a few but those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head, what doesn’t everyone else think?


Pep didn’t lose it, Chelsea won it
I’m pretty p***ed off at the coverage the Champions League final has gotten so far.

Most sources are passing the message that Guardiola and Manchester City let us win by their tactics, and that if things had been a bit different, they would have surely won.

But things have been different, on two occasions actually.

In the FA Cup game, they played with not just one, but two DMs. And lost.

In the League, they had a recognized DM, and two strikers in the starting line up, and were only able to score due to an individual mistake by our defender, which further led to his injury.

Guardiola had no other option but to try his last tactic.

Also, previews to the match were of the opinion that the false 9 tactic played by Man City under Pep was a strength. How come it has suddenly become a weakness? Hindsight is a magnificent tool.

Pep has managed to make the game about himself even in defeat. I think that should count as a win in his books.

Chelsea played a perfect game. Balanced throughout the pitch, in all 90 minutes. Lethal in attack (Werner’s (2) and Pulisic’s clear chances coming to mind), impervious in defence. Mendy couldn’t have had a quieter night. Kante man marked all City midfielders, including the usually impressive and hardworking Bernando Silva. James showed England why he should be the starting RB, Rudiger was everywhere, Mount showed that he is more than a Lampard’s boy, again. Tuchel showed the essence of a well drilled team.

All in all, Chelsea outshot and beat Manchester City again, and all the attention should be focused on them, and not on the failings on City.

Champions of Europe.
Chibuikem. CFC. Makurdi

Pep Maths
Really interesting to read the J Nic article and various mails about Pep’s fallibilities in the big games and particularly the idea that he overthinks things, hardly a new idea. But what doesn’t get mentioned is that he seems to be a man unwilling to accept the basics of probability. He manages teams that win 80% of their games because they have the best players and (crucially) a manager who can get the best out of them. But – and this is key when it comes to the crunch knock out games – that means he has less experience than many managers of trying to beat a team with players not fit to lace the boots of his own players. He seems unwilling to accept a 60% chance of winning against the likes of Chelsea, so he has to try something wacky to (in his mind) make it 75%, but ends up making it 40%. If he wasn’t such a pillock in that respect, he’d probably have two CL’s and at least one quadruple at City by now.


On Conte at Spurs…
As an Inter and Spurs fan (don’t ask), I feel able to respond to Charles’ question about the hiring of Antonio Conte for us, and probably others.

Yes, he’s just delivered our first Scudetto in over a decade, yes Inter went from being an exploding clown car of a club to a ruthless machine (dropping of 4 points in 17 games?!?).

You could certainly say a club who was similarly won sod all (and has failed to even score a goal in four finals) could certainly do with some toughening up and a change in mentality.

So yes, all that.

Limited budget? Not so much. Tactically flexible? Can be.

Conte’s problem is, for all the pluses, it’s also like being managed by a 12-year-old girl. He is arguably the world’s most histrionic man.

He did OK with a fixed budget after it was made abundantly clear, Inter had NO money. Plus he’d being given a stack of players he wanted and repeatedly went for ageing player on huge long term salary/contacts refusing to sign younger players. Some of which, Kolarov, Vidal were actively hopeless and even damaging. Ashley Young was OK and Sanchez was quite good when fit. Hardly a ringing endorsement of his signing policy.

So he was forced to adapt, play Eriksen and Perisic, who he’d sulked about for months and refused to play. Excellent Serie A writer Nicky Bandini pointed out once he had to just get on with it, it was all good.(Helped by having a bigger squad than Milan, more experience than Atalanta and an imploding Juventus).

So, of course after we won, but flounced out citing the fact that Inter had financial issues, assuming no other club in World Football doesn’t (apart from the recent two CL finalists perhaps, but there’s no job prospects there)

Now, the mischief maker in me wants to see him at Spurs just because the prospect of him and Levy, the relentless sulk versus the immovable arse, is just too funny.

Conte spends his days off at war with the universe and its perceived slights, and even the Soccer Sauron Mourinho spent the first couple of weeks saying the Spurs squad was pretty decent. Conte would be s***ting in players’ lockers at 7am on his first Monday.

Of course the idea of him going along with Real Madrid’s unending circus could be even funnier. They need a huge rebuild and have zero cash and crippling debts which will make Inter look like Jeff Bezos’ plaything.

So, ultimately Conte believes a club actually exists which gives into his every whim, has a bottomless pit of cash and who’s owner, fans and press will never contradict a single decision he makes.

I’m really not sure that describes any of the club’s Charles had in mind. As for Charles’ toon, perhaps Conte vs Ashley would be the top bout on that ticket?

Still, as off-pitch entertainment goes, I’m in.
Pazza Dom of the San Siro.


One of these things is not like the others
By inviting Gunners, Spurs and United fans’ opinions of Conte taking over as their manager, is Charles Heale seriously lumping those three teams together, or is that some high-level trolling? Arsenal and (especially) Tottenham have been a shambles this season, while United have exceeded anyone’s expectations before the season started. Sir Alex and, more recently, Klopp both needed a couple of seasons to reach the top. United do not need a new manager.Ole has had only two full seasons as gaffer, and the team has finished third and then second (ahead of the last season’s champions), not to mention a quartet of semi-finals, topped by reaching the lesser European final. One senses trophies just ’round the corner
Ebrahim, MUFC, Seattle


You’ll win nothing with fans
Reading all the mails from fans claiming Ole is anything like Busby, Fergie, Klopp, makes me think that 50+1 fan ownership would be an absolute unmitigated disaster.

We may not win anything “but at least we’ll have fun along the way” was a personal favourite. Pretty sure City, Chelsea and Leicester had fun.

But this coming season is where it all clicks right? And if it doesn’t we can hopefully put this to bed, or will we just need another 2/3 key signings the following summer…..
Allen (MUFC)


Who are United?
Comparing top managers without comparing or taking the club structure into account is problematic. For the longest time Utd’s structure was Ferguson. He ran the show, chose the players, managed the players tightly, picked the team and chose the game plan. His success gave him the permission to do these things. Once he left there was a huge vacuum.

After the Moyes mistake, Utd seemed to have understood part of the problem by hiring Van Gaal with the idea he would also create a structure to rebuild the team. Sure he’s an odd cat as many of these successful people are and Utd couldn’t hold the line on long term growth over short term wins, so dumped him in favour of a ‘guaranteed winner’ in Mourinho.  They sold their soul to the man who has a scorched earth policy when things don’t go well and he is ejected. His success at Chelsea was within the confines of a tight club hierarchy managing everything in the background. Being given all

The marbles at Utd was never going to end well or improve things. So we ended up with Ole. The antithesis of Mourinho.

But if the idea is to build something, I just don’t get it. They did okay this year. They’ve spend some big money on one great player and a couple of decent players. Utd win some and lose some. But you don’t see a series of improvements towards some sort of end goal.

But is it Ole or is it the club overall?

IMHO it’s both. Ole doesn’t have the chops of a Tuchel, Conte, Bielsa or even Klopp who have a clear plan. They know what they want to achieve and how to achieve it. Behind them there is a club set up to perform all the analytics, build better facilities, handle the negotiations effectively, have proper nutritionists and therapists etc. All to support the ‘marginal gains’ philosophy we have seen when Clive Woodward won the Rugby WC or Brailsford’s Sky team won everything in cycling.

We never hear about any of that at Utd, while we constantly hear other clubs touting something they have done in that regards. Heck, even Brentford and Danish club Midtjylland, are showing how well run clubs can succeed.

Utd don’t appear to be a club anymore just a collection of names. Until Utd make some serious back office changes we aren’t likely to see any constant success as Ole relies on a ‘galactico’ approach to create sporadic wins.
Paul McDevitt


Assuming Southgate isn’t head-faking with Trent, I will say I am saddened by the decision but completely understand it. He’s a wonderful player, but the things he does brilliantly aren’t that useful, and his weaknesses aren’t things that the rest of the squad can cover.

Hopefully he comes back next season rested and wanting to prove himself all over.
Dan, Plastic LFC

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