Mails on Mourinho’s new nadir, dropping Alexander-Arnold, and…

Date published: Friday 19th March 2021 9:41 - Editor F365

Jose Mourinho leaves the scene after Spurs' defeat at Dinamo Zagreb

Keep your mails coming to theeditor@football365.com…

 

No Trent?
Generally I like Gareth Southgate, at least as a person and the way he communicates although not sure he truly gets the best out of the talent available with a generally risk averse attitude. More on that later.

His comments regarding TAA were quite funny. ‘He hasn’t been at his best for 2years. His stats for last PL season were 4 goals and 13 assists – actually better than the prior year. But even when he was playing at his best, Southgate didn’t play him. To shore up his lack of confidence in CBs, he was playing 3 at the back and really wanted a wing back anyway. Not that TAA couldn’t be a wingback but it does mean shoehorning players into positions to fit the model – Walker in at CB, for example – than playing players in their best role.

I think we have seen that he has not been at his best this season – but then he has was shorn of his midfield cover (Fabinho centrally, Henderson on right wing) and having to play with a different set of CBs weekly. The team have been playing an even higher line, which puts him and Robertson at risk, only Robertson has the ever reliable Wijnaldum to help out on this side whereas TAA has a variety of players including Thiago, who is always a red card in waiting and not as disciplined in terms of covering back.

But back to Southgate. Here we are in a period where some of the best young talent for a long time – winners in their prior age groups – are available for England and most getting some decent minutes and for teams vying for the top 8 to 10 places in the EPL. (As well as in the Bundesliga.) But does he pick them? Play them regularly or even close to their best position? No.

The best games England have played recently have usually been when Southgate has been forced into using players he would not normally play.

With Stones seemingly in good form, Keane playing reasonably well, and several CBs showing decent form, he should be able to get back to a decent 4-4-3 or 4-2-3-1 scenario that would better suit the midfield and attacking talent at his disposal.

Fortune favours the bold. The teams that always do well and surprise at tournaments are the ones prepared to be bold.
Paul McDevitt


Southgate drops Alexander-Arnold; recalls for Lingard and Stones


…I understand that Trent has been in worse form this season but people have to remember that he was literally the best RB in the world for the year or two previous. He was playing at an exceptionally high level. While he hasn’t been as good this season it’s easy to see why. He has been playing alongside Championship level defenders, and that might be generous. I’m not sure if people actually watch Liverpool games or just ignore Trent when he has the ball but he has been creating very good opportunities nearly every game I’ve seen him. Even in the City game where Trent was quite poor, Liverpools goal game from a great ball from Trent to Salah.

Southgates logic for picking these players is so flawed. He picks James and Trippier because he says they have been in great form. Trent has easily been in better form than those 2 recently. One of them has only played 4 games in 3 months while the other isn’t even a first choice option for his club. The same goes for Walker. Trent is literally a world class full back and has proven this. This myth that Twitter creates that he can’t defend is just ridiculous. He’s just quite simply better at attacking than he is at defending. Did people say this about Alves or Marcelo? I wouldn’t say they’re great defenders. It’s like the whole agenda Twitter has on Mount. People just run with some Bs narrative and you can tell they don’t actually watch the games.

Ive seen that F365 have justified Trent being excluded because he create zero chances in the Nations League games he played. Such a bizzare and specific criteria of judging him. He was undefeated in those games you mentioned. They beat Belgium and drew with Denmark. In the return fixtures they lost to both of those sides and funny enough Trent wasn’t playing. Reece James was also sent off. You see how redundant your stat is and makes zero sense. You can do this with everything. I’m not even saying Trent was the reason England won those games because I wouldn’t be that stupid. I just know that he is the best option they have in this position. This is a player we know can create great chances and is a threat going forward. You say it’s not a good fit…. Well make it a good fit. Let him do what he does best. I don’t understand how you can have one of the best players in the world for his position and not use him to his strengths. It’s going to be an even worse fit if you don’t use him at all. You need to get him in your team. It’s not as if Walker has been impressive for England in recent times either. I can already tell how Southgate is going to approach the Euros now. I had faith that he would be brave and try and play nice attacking football. He has the players for it. But he’s going to put 10 men behind the ball and have his players run like dogs. Kane won’t get service because chance creators like Trent or Grealish won’t be playing.

I understand that Liverpool have been bad and that Trent hasnt been the best right back in the league this season, but his form in 2021 has been good. If you don’t see this then you quite simply don’t watch football. I don’t understand why he’s being punished for Liverpool doing worse. I’d imagine he would play a bit better with players such as Stones and Maguire than he would with the shite hes beside now. Surely people can realise that Trent has had to suffer from playing with 10 different partners in defence with some of them being terrible. I don’t care how much you hate Liverpool but this is just a fact and it does make a difference. I really hope this is just Southgate resting him but that too would be so stupid because he needs to start playing his best 11 together. Regardless, I’m confident when Liverpool get their mojo back that Trent will return to being in the top 3 right backs in world football and I can’t ever see James, Trippier or Walker matching the level he’s played at in the past and will most likely return to.

I would also like to add that I don’t really have a problem with Southgates squads for the most part. I hate this stupid idea that people have that he should pick solely based on form. Form should obviously be considered in some aspects but you can’t just go and keep picking new players every 3 months. Players need to gel together and get used to playing the system. I see people also complain that he won’t pick a player because they play for a small team. He’s called up Coady, Grealish, Rice, Dunk, Tarkowski, Watkins, Mings and many other players from smaller teams. I don’t care if you think Maguire is overrated, he’s still miles better than Ben Mee or Jamal Lacelles or whatever average midtable player you think deserves a call up. These players wouldn’t get a game at a top side. They’re suited specifically for teams who defend and aren’t good with the ball. Hope this helps.
Dion, Arsenal, Ireland.

Jose’s Spurs
Remember when Mourinho said Spurs needed to be a bunch of c*nts? Well, bravo, objective achieved.

Anyone who got sucked in by 3 wins against Palace, Burnley and Fulham can also be chucked into the aforementioned group.

No heart, no desire, no plan, no passion. Nothing. Terrible players or not, these boys do not buy into Mourinho.

Our league run in isn’t great, we’ve been KO’d of Europe in the most brilliant of Spursy ways, have an upcoming whipping in the LC Final on the horizon and could conceivably end up finishing in the bottom half.

Until he is sacked I can’t watch us anymore. I am completely consumed by apathy.
Glen, Apathetic Spur

 

…The words to describe Tottenham after last night’s game will not be kind. Embarrassing, torturous, feeble. Incompetent, petrified, pathetic.

I’d love to say this was a freak result. Unpredictable. One in a million. But it was anything but that. It was utterly foreseeable. Anyone that’s watched our away games against very limited opposition in Europe this season added to our many failed attempts to hold onto leads in the Premier League could have seen it coming no matter what the bookies said.

The only positive to take is that it may hasten the end of the Mourinho. Nay, it must. For it’s with Jose that my full ire lands. He’s the devil and fellow Spurs fans are falling for his trick. Namely that Spurs have bad players. That no coach could get more out of them. That Jose is a winner and one of the world’s best. The fault is in Tottenham’s DNA. But he’s deceiving you. He claimed similar at Man U and now even a man out of his depth like Solskjaer is showing that the players were talented.

Spurs have a very good squad and don’t let Jose tell you otherwise. Kane and Son are two of the best attackers in the league / world. Bale, Lamela, Bergwijn and Lucas are no mugs. Ndombele, Lo Celso and Hojbjerg are midfielders with incredible ability. Lloris has dips in form but is a world cup winning goalkeeper who is not old in keeper terms. Reguilon was La Liga’s best left back last year and Doherty had a great season for Wolves. Of course there are faults. Most of them are called Eric Dier. The defence isn’t as good as the attack. Everyone know this. But they’re also not Sunday league players. This is the 4th or 5th or at worst 6th best squad in the Premier League. They should be capable of not losing 3-0 to Zagreb.

But Mourinho makes them capable of losing 3-0 to Zagreb. He makes them capable of being completely dominated by an inconsistent and rebuilding Arsenal. He makes them capable of getting massively outclassed by Fulham, West Ham and Brighton. The examples are endless.

And he sells himself as one of the best coaches in the world. His wages reflect that claim. On that basis he should be able to take a group of average players and make them good or great. Instead he has taken a group of good players and made them average or terrible. Zagreb didn’t have a coach today and I was so jealous. Does anyone really think we could have done worse with a traffic cone in charge? At least the players would be free to express themselves. They look like they are afraid to play – not wanting the ball, fearing a mistake and then making more, hoping someone else will be caught by Jose’s wrath. Opposing fans are right to laugh at us and some will call it a classic Tottenham bottle job. But believe me, this was no bottle job where we missed a literal and/or figurative open goal to progress. This was just a simple case of being totally outplayed and getting exactly what we deserve.

Levy is unfairly maligned at times. But appointing Mourinho was stupid, vain, and a complete dereliction of duty when options like Ancellotti were available. It is his worst decision in 20 years at Spurs. Witness what Tuchel has done with Chelsea or even Rodgers at Leicester. The only redemption for Levy is to act fast and purge the cancerous mistake he let into our club before any more damage is done.
Jon


F365 Says: Spurs and Mourinho bring the worst out of each other


…Hello to anyone who gives a sh*t to read this,

There’s plenty of Spurs fans like me out there not on Twitter or Facebook who do not typically contribute to these types of email inboxes or bickering message boards, and who really don’t believe we are entitled to success. This is because if anyone knows what it feels like to experience the pain and ridicule that comes with supporting a club which sadistically concocts ever increasingly imaginative ways to lose football matches, it’s Spurs fans like me.

However, even by applying an almost non-existent level of expectation, what happened last night in the Europa League against a team 1/8th the value of our squad is about as nakedly embarrassing as many of us who have followed this banter club over the years have felt for some considerable time. Which, given our long history of enduring bottlejob performances, is quite an achievement.

Forget trophies for a second, and irrespective of which club any of us support: all that most reasonable, disinterested-in-juvenile-online-dick-swinging football fan folk want is to feel some pride in their club. Certainly not to be left haunted by cringeworthy flashbacks, or unable to consume football related content without their beloved club being ridiculed as a laughing stock. We all want to be able feel like the club we love meets a basic level of expectation. Perhaps make our hearts beat faster occasionally with excitement, maybe even – god forbid – provide us with…some joy? Ultimately, we all yearn to feel a connection with our club. Given how football fans are uniquely loyal – to the point that they are willing to endure what would be the equivalent of an emotionally toxic and abusive relationship – suggests it’s not a huge ask.

For Spurs fans, many of us felt that connection under Pochettino. We won nowt, we experienced disappointment, we experienced some ridicule. But that was ok. Because the club still met our basic expectations, and occasionally hit some of the most intoxicating highs. Since then, over the past two seasons, we don’t really need rival fans to gleefully remind us (they will do anyway of course) that we are sinking increasingly further from that fairly basic standard.

Despite the already low expectations, our fans really don’t deserve what we are seeing on the pitch. Our owner, manager, and the players are actually breaking new ground in administering a special kind of torture. We already know we will become the first club in Mourinho’s career who will not win a trophy. While being forced to endure the mind-numbing, gutless football. Stuck at home. In glorious high definition.
Tottenham, ‘til it kills me. Sigh

 

…Mourinho has been an abject failure. Kick him out and we’ll all pretend this never happened. At this point I’d rather have Tim Sherwood back. At least he was fun.
Harry (called it from the start) THFC

 

…Man, I’ve seen some teams spurs it up. But that was the spursiest spurs I’ve ever seen. Only Lloris emerges from that debacle with any credit.

Jose is deep in the brown now. It’s difficult to see a way back for him at white hart lane at this point. The tactics already make fans want to scrub their eyes with bleach, and last two games illustrate clearly that the squad isn’t buying what he’s selling. With no CL football to attract top level signings in the summer, what’s to be gained by Mourinho continuing as manager?

Side note: Harry Kane really f*cked his career signing that 6 year deal didn’t he? The phrase “Golden handcuffs” doesn’t even begin to describe his predicament. Daniel Levy has his bollocks in a bag. Zero leverage available to the player to engineer a move to a team capable of winning silverware. Being a trophyless Spurs folk hero would seem to be the most he can hope for now.
Robert Vard

 

I’ve said it that many times, I sound like a broken record. Jose is as finished in football as Wenger was several years before he left Arsenal. Levy is a shrewd operator, but even at the time, taking on the fraud Jose was his biggest mistake!

Many times in football and in the world in general, people don’t want to accept the inevitable. Jose just got beat by a team who haven’t been to a European Quarter final in 51 years, and their manager was jailed midweek, causing complete chaos for their team pre-match! The man is a busted flush.

I guess he must still be marketable to keep getting these jobs!
Gary B (As I said before, I feel sorry for Spurs fans, the man internally combusted with a broken ego after the Madrid job)

Jose Mourinho watches on during Spurs' defeat at Dinamo Zagreb

Jose Mourinho watches on during Spurs’ defeat at Dinamo Zagreb

…Well, League Cup it is then. Who are we playing again?
Jon (Sanchez is truly terrible), Lincoln

 

Fred – Spurs lost the CL final because Kane was not fully fit, after all you are the ‘Harry Kane team’ (your words not mine). Well he played tonight so what’s the excuse now? I’m assuming you outplayed them so all is well then?
Pete (I’m sure Dinamo’s manager was sent to prison this week), Birmingham

 

…I knew Spurs’ absolutely ridiculous luck had to run out at some point.

Relegation quality team that have just been crazy lucky for several seasons.

Unsustainable.

Thats how this works right?
Dom Littleford

 

…I could rant and rave, but instead only this:

Spurs always, always, always find a way to let us down.
Michael C

 

Orsic’s hat-trick
Many will be talking about how Spurs and Mourinho capitulated last night, which is fair but can we have a moment to stand up and applaud a quite marvellous hat trick from Mislav Orsic, the goal to start and then to conclude his hat trick were quite exceptional, he may be 28 years old but that kind of performance often gets some clubs to start setting eyes on a player for a summer move, after checking his stats at Zagreb his goal scoring record for a midfielder is certainly quite decent.

Which brings me to ask this question to the mailbox, are there any other players who have scored at least two outstanding goals in a hat trick?
Mikey, CFC

 

Pocketing Zlatan
There’s a lad out there that’s pocketed Zlatan and is kinnda on fire?

Why, its Harry Maguire!
N.V.M. (Did ya hear the news? Orsic hat-tricked Mourinho out of a job!)

 

Ole justifying United’s faith
On MM’s mail: First and foremost Man Utd are not the only ‘project’ where winning is instantly demanded.

Bayern, Juve, Real, Barca, PSG, Utd, City, Chelsea, Ajax, Benfica, Porto, Celtic, Rangers and maybe now Liverpool are all clubs where both the fans, board and the rest expect them to be challenging if not winning the title each year. There are of course rebuilding exceptions and clubs in crisis occasions. Financially and structurally you can understand why there is such an expectation.

PSG, Bayern and Juve(this season aside) are the only clubs you can expect to ‘Guarantee’ a title. Every other league has some level of competition that doesn’t ensure a guaranteed winner.( Granted the Ajax’s of this list can be pillaged and thus a changed team year on year)

Would Allegri, Ancelotti, Conte or Zidane choose United? Yes.

The big factors your missing is timing and decision making.

The right manager might exist but the role needs to be available and so do they.

Post fergie I believe he wanted Ancelotti and Mourinho but both had commitments. The biggest disaster was Van Gaal. His transfers still haunt the club. Mourinho came too late but was still effective in winning and acquiring the right type of players. Ole was the right man at the right time. Unfortunately for us he was ‘too right’ and we signed him up. The alternative was a short term deal and go for Pochettino. Allegri was available but they didn’t bite. Zidane was too but they were not sure about his tactics I believe. Was that a right or wrong call?

Well now to the decisions. It finally seems Ed has decided to hire football minds to run the football side of the business. Unfortunately for us when Klopp was available he decided to sell him Disneyland instead of Britain’s football dynasty. United aren’t as ruthless as Chelsea and not as well organized as City. We got tradition and tractor sponsorships and I guess that is what we are sticking with. Ole knows this and is playing it safe with a minor push to risky.

Pochettino absolutely is, unfortunately for him, his side were in England and not Germany.
Taking Tottenham to multiple top 3 finishes and a CL final and now off to PSG. He is tactically adept, can motivate, is an effective trainer and commands respect. He was wanted by PSG, Real, Barca and United. And by your standards, come May he will have ticked the trophy box and thus become ‘elite’.

Finally to Everton and Ancelotti. He went there because they had a plan, finances and freedom to back him and he was available. A trajectory map of his managerial career would show you he peeked (like many do) at Real and is on the decline. He is still a great manager but perhaps not what United were looking for, and also not what was available for them at the time.

To say working with a smaller budget, with a smaller stadium, a less talented squad, less efficient training facilities, less media pressure and less expectations would some how make you more attractive than United to an elite manager makes me wonder. It is kind of attractive to a certain degree but not for ‘elite’ reasons.

It sounds like the decline of the last 9 years has eroded some of your faith in Manchester United and there have been many waves to justify that. However just as Chelsea and City have done, Liverpool have learned and applied, United too are following suit and creating a sustainable plan for success and stability.

Blind faith is turning into justifiable faith.
Calvino

 

Champions League draw
Obviously I don’t know who my team – Liverpool – will get in the draw tomorrow. However, all I ask is that we avoid City and Chelsea.

Not for the reason they’re both in form, but because CL games against other English sides just don’t feel as much like big European games, given we see those fixtures (at least) twice a year anyway. There’s no novelty factor. I’d take Bayern though, as that is a much less common fixture, and does feel like a big European tie. Surely I’m not the only one who thinks this?
Chris Mac, LFC

 

Tuchel and Lampard
Let me preface this by saying I’m a Chelsea fan and a big fan of super Frank but I think it is unfair to judge Tuchel and Lampard the same.

Mediawatch makes fun of the tabloids for referring to Lampards sacking akin to Bambi’s mother being shot but it’s not that far off.

Chelsea fans were promised time for a club legend to build a new team. I, for one, loved Lampards Chelsea’s ™ first season. Bringing in academy players, playing exciting football even though we lost a lot more than we should have , but this is the consequence of blooding new players.
Lampard had the task of creating a young dynamic team that will serve Chelsea well for the next 5-6 years.
Maybe Lampard engaged too much into football manager mode dismissing anyone 28+ immediately.

Tuchel doesn’t have this problem/goal.
He is here in short term to steady the ship.
Bringing the experience of Azpi and Rudiger back and switching to a back 3. Silva is probably his first choice to start with them but haven’t seen much of that due to injuries.
Where will this leave Christensen and Zouma?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m impressed with Tuchel and the team are defending well but he is on a short term contract with different objectives.
I feel if Lampard was told, forget about youth and concentrate on securing champions league things could have been different.

For many of my generation, Bambi’s mother being shot was the first experience of “loss” and the loss of our innocence.
For Chelsea fans we were promised, for the first time, time being afforded to one of our legends to built a new young team with academy prospects and then for that to be taken away abruptly (no Chelsea I know wanted Lampard sacked) is a punch to the gut like Bambi’s mother untimely demise.

I feel a little dirty defending the red tops.
Need a shower.
Aodan (Chelsea )


Thursday’s Mailbox: Sod Man City, Chelsea are the new Sheffield United


Blues and Blades
Comparing this Chelsea to Sheffield United and Tuchel to di Matteo? Check your blood pressure because that’s a lot of salt. Not turning my nose up at Sheffield or di Matteo but it’s just a wrong comparison. Sheffield United innovated with overlapping centrebacks so well that no-one could counter that style. Yes the new manager bounce is true but suddenly conceding 2 goals in 13 games (!!!) is not the same as chucking AVB’s high line out and reinstating the old legends back in the team. From a Chelsea fan who watched many a documentary there were a lot of positive words spoken about di Matteo but it was mainly his man management. He wasn’t exactly an elite coach with title-winning experience. The praise is high because the run of fixtures was ATM (x2), Man U, Liverpool, Everton, Leeds. Zero (0) goals conceded, 2 draws and rest wins. Hmm, they were all having bad days it seems, what about this for expected goals against: ATM (0.81,0.55), ManU(0.4), Liverpool (0.28), Everton (0.34) & Leeds (0.39). I call that keeping the opposition at arm’s length, comfortable games. I love Lampard and the change in manager still hurts emotionally, but practically there is no doubt that each of these games would’ve resulted in nerve-shredding moments and multiple defensive lapses. The reason the Man City analogy is used was because there was always a surprise selection or two in the team (think Tuchel has the most lineup changes since he arrived) – definitely not as good in an attacking sense but with the quality of players up top there is every chance of evolving into Pep’s behemoth. Why time is given to these lazy, salty comparisons is beyond me.
Saaj

 

…Calum is obviously looking for Chelsea fans to bite with his mail so I guess I’m giving him what he wants.

Right now the attack hasn’t fully clicked but we tore Atletico apart last night several times and if not for CHO and pulisic clearly wanting a goal and trying too hard it would easily have been more than 2.

As an overall though I can’t remember sheff United dominating games & possession. We are conceding less shots & less XG than anyone in the league bar man city.

If you look at our squad and attacking options there are clearly goals there, give TT more time and I’m sure we will see them. But honestly when you don’t concede you don’t need to score many to win.
Stuart (Scotsman in the states) NJ, CFC

 

…First of, I would like to caveat my mail by saying that I am a CFC fan. So whatever I say will have a sense of tribalism to it. With that out of the way, here I go.

Chelsea have not been lucky. They have not been great I admit, but all their wins have been deserved(the xg models say so). I would not attribute it to a new manager bounce but I will accept that it is possible. Comparing this CFC to last season SUFC is disingenuous at best and outright trolling at worst (I am inclined to belive it is the former). SUFC had an innovative system which confused some of the teams and thus they were in mid table by the end of the season. CFC do not have any such thing going for them. They are a good bunch of players and are playing well.

Tldr:- Chelsea are where they should be and Sheffield were catching teams unawares last year.
Anurag, CFC, India

 

Ranking pundits
God there’s a lot of absolutely sh*te pundits on TV at the moment. I’ve been trying to think is there any combos that don’t immediately annoy me the second I switch on the TV. Anyway here’s my two cents for what it’s worth.

Actually Insightful: Gary Neville, Carragher, Rob Green (from what I’ve seen)
Entertaining at least: Roy Keane (the anger factor) Michah Richards (hated him at first but the genuine friendship and mellowing of Keane is actually funny) Souness (again anger)
Ok but nothing more: Alex Scott, Lineker, Jenas, Wright, Shearer
Snore Fest: Keown (Jesus he should be used in anaesthesia) Hargreaves, Scholes
Make me want to rip out my eyes/ears: Karen Karney, Robbie Savage (and I can’t emphasise Mr. Savage enough), Rio (absolute plank full of self importance) Michael “no shit Sherlock” Owen, Henry (as an Arsenal fan this one stings).

And last but not least, Mr. Steve Mcmanaman, a pundit who makes Robbie Savage sound like Rudyard Kipling. Anyway there’s my pointless list, what does everyone else think?
Chippy Brady

 

Maths corner
Sam in Stockwell has a good point about injury time being arbitrary but unfortunately his example in the Wolves vs Liverpool match lets him down. Patricio got injured in the 87th minute when there were 3 minutes of the 90 to play plus 4 minutes of allocated injury time. That’s the 7 minutes that was added on. Had he been injured in the 93rd minute and stretchered off 14 minutes later they would’ve played 1 minute extra not 15.
James Outram, Wirral

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