Mails: Has Salah’s success put Mane’s nose out of joint?

Date published: Friday 15th December 2017 2:27 - Ian Watson

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Does Mane resent Salah?
On the back of Winners and Losers and Players Who Have Lost Their Mojo, I can’t quite shake the niggling though that there might be some resentment from Sadio Mane towards Mo Salah, which is leading to the former’s dip in form.

It first started a number of weeks ago when I noticed that Mane didn’t join in the celebrations when Salah scored. Then, a couple of games later this photo popped up on my news feed…

Mo Salah keeps the goals coming! ⚽️

A post shared by Liverpool Football Club (@liverpoolfc) on

Curiously it’s something I’ve begun to notice. Mane is all smiles and present when the likes of Firmino and Coutinho score, but seems to be suspiciously absent when it’s Salah.

Now I’m not saying there is a full blown feud, but could it be that a little resentment is impacting Mane’s performances? A new pacey winger with flair taking their game to the next level and winning the adoration of fans… sound familiar? Could it be that he’s trying too hard to ‘compete’ with his team mate and it’s leading to this dip in form? The miss against Everton a case in point… he could have squared it to Salah (or the Ox), but instead tried to go it alone. Did he feel the need to go it alone to boost his own confidence? Or, would he have squared it if it was Coutinho or Firmino waiting with an open goal?…

I now realise that I sound like a conspiracy theory nut-job, but I just can’t shake the feeling. Anyone one else notice it?
Chris, LFC, London


In’t Premier League brilliant
As a ‘Boro fan, I feel I can view the current state of the Premier League with an element of neutrality. And with that, I can offer only one observation: isn’t it bloody cracking?!

I read endless rants, toing-and-froing, bickering, hubris and agony in the mailbox every day, but isn’t that just a wonderful reflection of the drama in the Premier League? I love it!

Manchester City are playing some fantastic football, impressing on all their potential to move into a period of dominance the Premier League has not witnessed before. The players they have available are performing at the peak of their powers. The coach is giddy when they deliver scintillating attacking football. There’s a pride in their performances and entertaining fans.

Turning to United you have a wonderfully-blended team that is performing well, grinding out results to keep up with a City team that’s blitzing the league. You can keep your arguments about who has achieved greater value-for-money in the transfer window, I just love the fact that you have two teams competing at the top, from the same city, adopting different styles of play. The off-pitch narratives add a comical side to the storyline as well. Tunnel fracas, sour milk and showing bloody respect. Give me more!

You leave those two, and then you’re presented by the irresistible strikeforce of Liverpool, the workmanlike efficiency of the Spurs team, the former champions of Chelsea doing their most to confuse the bejeezus out of us each week, the overachieving Burnley and underachieving Arsenal. Let us not forget a manager rejuvenating a Leicester team on the back of a perceived poor reputation.

Oh, and then you take a brief glance to the bottom of the table. Big spenders, low spenders, newly promoted teams, Premier League stalwarts. All playing different ways and facing different challenges on and off the pitch.

I’m drinking you up Premier League, and I need another bottle…
Phil, London


Glass half-full or half-empty?
A question for the mailbox: what kind of manager would you prefer: an optimist or a pessimist?

It seems to me, this is much more pertinent than his nationality in terms of building a relationship with fans. On the side of the optimists, Brendan Rodgers and Roberto Martinez are surely the ultimate exponents. They inspire teams to surpass themselves -I’m still impressed by the run Wigan went on which kept them in the league- but also provoke some fans’ derision when they’re saying that their team was “outstanding” after a 3-0 defeat. Ranieri at Leicester was a great optimist, saying “Why not?”

Among the pessimists, David Moyes showed his true colours in saying that Sunderland were “probably in a relegation fight” after, was it, one game last season? And he has begun at West Ham saying “it’s going to be much harder than I thought.”

But pessimists can be successful -Benitez, Mourinho and even Dyche tend to see the negatives but spur the team on to achieve more.

Perhaps optimists are better for the short-term because they come in and say “we can do this” -an attitude exemplified by Sam Allardyce at Everton (and previously at Palace). Thoughts?
Paul in Brussels


The mail slating Daniel on how FIFA players will appreciate players like David Silva less misses Daniel’s point, I feel. As someone who watches football whenever I can and plays FIFA when I can’t, I know what Daniel is talking about. Players like David Silva will be uner-appreciated by FIFA players because their in-game attributes make them less impressive in-game. The game famously favours players with good dribbling, acceleration and strength. The downside of this is that players like David Silva become very difficult to play effectively. He isn’t likely to outrun opponents, is good enough to work a shooting angle but due to low-ish pace, is easily blocked or marked, and his shooting stats aren’t good enough to consistently pick out top corners from tight angles, or when marked. I used to try to play Xavi like he does in real-life, then gave up because the AI simply cannot replicate the movement and vision that made Xavi great. Xavi became a technically sound possession recycler, rather than the arch-orchestrator that he is in real-life. In contrast, Lampard had the physicality and shooting stats to be great in FIFA.

So, in summary, FIFA does condition players to favour and be more easily impressed by pace and power, which are not traits that David Silva has in abundance. FIFA players can, of course, grow to appreciate Silva’s beauty, but they’ll need to unlearn a little of what FIFA has taught them about football.
QX, Singapore


Neil: How about this one then?
Jay: Championship manager? Completed it.
Neil: But you can’t complete it.
Jay: err, I know, But I got so good at it they offered me a role in the England set-up.
Neil: Did they?
Jay: I took Woking from the conference to the champions league in 6 seasons, that kind of stuff doesn’t go unnoticed.
Michael, Dublin


…Video games are for children.

Used to love Mario. Then I got girlfriends. He would still ring me up from time to time but the ship had sailed.

Merry Christmas


Edwards a one-off
Lovely piece on Duncan Edwards by Seb, my now passed dad use to wax lyrical about Duncan “he could head the ball harder than Bobby could kick it” He was genuinely devastated after Munich and it took him quite a while to get back into watching football, he was convinced England would of won more than one World Cup with Duncan in the side, he was that good.

He said when the Busby Babes played football you knew you were watching football in it’s purest form, no snide tackles, no diving just a desire to score goals and play football the right way. Anyway sat here all misty eyed thinking about my old man and his story about how my mum stopped him taking me to Wembley to watch the 1968 final (I was 2) she still doesn’t understand why I’m pissed off with her “you were 2 you wouldn’t remember it” FFS
Paul Murphy, Manchester


Derby ding-dong
Well, here goes my first attempt at replying to the clearly antagonistic email sent in by Wayne C this morning. I’ll warn you that this email contains a fair few generalisations, but that doesn’t make them wrong. When a club has anywhere in the hundreds of millions of fans, I reckon it doesn’t matter how many I capture, because I’m only aiming for one.

Since football achievements became relevant in 2007, City fans have suddenly piped up, exponentially increasing the aggressiveness of the abuse and “banter” they handed out to all and sundry, but in particular United fans. Forget good grace, the chip has well and truly been on the shoulder ever since the Premier League started, and has only got worse since City suddenly became competitive. Some fans might have been there since the beginning, and I would wager that many of them probably were the ones handling things with good grace, but an incredible number of the people who “make no apologies” for enjoying the current success weren’t around to take the lumps. “Where were you when you was sh*te?” one might ask.

I work in Manchester city centre with a City fan and up until this season, when Guardiola has managed to implement his style (and done it so well, I admit), he wasn’t interested in the games. He didn’t turn up to the stadium, he didn’t watch on TV, he didn’t even check the scores most of the time, oblivious to what his team had done in matches. All of a sudden, he is watching every game this season, going to the stadium, buying the shirts, and generally crowing about how wonderful City are. If that’s not the definition of a plastic supporter, I don’t know what is. Feel that doesn’t apply to you? Tough. As Wayne so aptly put “When a club has anywhere between 659 Million to 2 Billion supporters, I reckon I’m capturing anywhere between 658 Million and 1.999 Billion of them with these generalisations” so by the same standard, you – yes, you, unassuming City fan – are who I’m talking about. Fair enough, right?

In 2014/15, City’s fanbase grew by 73 million. Just take that in for a second. It’s a staggering increase of 523% on the previous year. And United fans are the ones who are accused of “align[ing] themselves with a successful club in order to bask in that reflective glow to make themselves feel better.” They’ve seen how things are going and jumped straight on the bandwagon so they can say they were part of the winning side. They’re like mini-Brexiteers.

So, City fans say whatever you want to say to make yourself feel better. If you take solace in claiming to be a lifelong supporter of a club you only heard of in 2007, go for it. The millions of people with eyes can see what you’re doing. If you think you didn’t ruin football by paying £22m for Jo, £11m for Wayne Bridge, £39m for Robinho, £25m for Lescott, £19m for Santa Cruz, £26m for Adebayor…then have it. David Silva’s transfer fee isn’t the problem.

Finally, a plea to City fans. Whatever you do…

Don’t stop telling us you were there at Maine road despite never having actually been
Don’t stop telling us that only you are true Mancs, and that anyone else’s claim to be is phony
Don’t stop walking round Manchester city centre in your “classic” shirts that you got off eBay
Don’t stop moaning at the unfairness of being tarred with the same brush you’ve been tarring us with for years
Don’t stop mocking our fans for having the temerity to live in other places
Don’t stop telling us you support City because you’re not a glory hunter
Don’t stop telling us that you’re developing the best home grown players
Don’t stop telling us that your dodgy stadium sponsorship deal is irrelevant
Don’t stop telling us that you have more history than others
Don’t stop doing things you used to call the big teams rotten for

It makes us all warm inside, and makes us thankful that we’re not City fans.
Ted, Manchester (I apologise to the many genuine, classy City fans, this isn’t aimed at you, but tit for tat)


…Good attempt at trolling Wayne C. I’ll give you a few scenarios where your mail would have actually made sense or partially applied to the real world:

Every single City fan has a Manchester accent and not one fan from United has one.

There is no fair weather City fans and no dedicated United fans (who’ve seen United relegated ffs).

You touched upon it slightly yourself but you would have to actually deserve your achievements.

All your fans are articulated and presentable and United’s are knuckle-dragging cavemen.

You went into work on a Monday morning to socialise with fellow football fans rather than, you know, earn money. (You want recognition for turning up to work with a brave face, you f**king two hat.)

No-one went to Old Trafford for the atmosphere or camaraderie. Every single City fan is at the Etihad for the bantz.

No United fan is from Manchester or goes to any of the games. All City’s fans are in the Etihad come 3 o’clock on a Saturday.

Every United fan chooses to support United based on the amount they’ve won and every City fan chooses to support City because their family does.

No City fan disappears after a loss….

In fact, let’s wrap this up: all your last volley of points do not apply to EVERY SINGLE club!

As NONE of these are true you should stay away from generalisations and realise there’s a difference between the King and the pauper.
Beefy, (I’ve certainly never let a result stop me from going into work, very proud of supporting…) United


…The emails from the desperate United fans, (trying) to justify the gap, claiming we were streets ahead of them in terms of squad ability, a whole 18 months and three transfer windows ago, is hilarious. The summer that Pep/Jose arrived, we’d just finished level on points and City had one of the oldest squads in the league. I feel like I’m repeating what’s already been said here but it doesn’t seem to be being absorbed. Bryan (the plural of “you” is “you” btw), we didn’t need an overhaul? Let’s not create a weird fiction in the same way you invent words.

Lets have a look at some of the dross that Pep has had to clear out (or left the summer he arrived), and in some cases had to make do with last season. Some of those players are and were obviously good players, but Pep decided they were either too disruptive, too long in the tooth or just not good enough. And he has been proven so so right. List below of first team squad memebers…all on huge wages (I’ll get to that later).

GK: Joe Hart (twice), Willy Caballero, Richard Wright
DEF: Demichelis, Zabaleta, Clichy, Sagna, Kolarov
MID: Nasri (twice), Fernando, Nolito (granted he bought him first), Navas
FWD: Dzeko, Bony, Jovetic, Ian Nacho

The issue is in the dugout not on the pitch, fellas.

Slight tangent, but addressing the financial side and the arguement that City just spend spend spend. Yes we do, we hit the jackpot and we absolutely loved it. Don’t pretend you wouldn’t either. BUT that spending has been invested wisely, to catch up the established cartel and has since been conducted (mostly, there have been a few shockers over the years – I’m looking at you Bony!) with forsight and planning, it is now sustainable and is done so with ever increasing revenues. Now before you say “oh it’s through the ridiculous sponsorship deals” you couldn’t be more wrong. If anything our shirt/stadium sponsorship and kit manufacturer deals are waaaaaayyy below market value. Look it up. We’ve regenerated a whole area of East Manchester, and are still doing so.

We couldn’t give a flying one about the arguements of “net spend”, financial doping, blah blah blah. Most football fans, and many of the contributors to this very mailbox actually, don’t have the basic understanding of how football finances and transfers work e.g. amortisation and the effect that has on a teams transfers and finances. They open their emails and vent their spleens because they don’t understand. They regurgitate whatever Paddy Power/Sport Bible or the red tops tell them to.

With our ourgoings this summer, and by outgoings I mean clearing the ageing high earners off the wage bill, it allowed us to invest heavily without affecting our bottom line. New signings were brought in on long contracts, dividing the transfer fee over the number of years of the contract. As a result the “£50 million each on a pair of fullbacks” only goes down on our balance sheet as a cost of £10 million per season per player (£50m divided by 5 years = £10 million). And with forward planning and properly rotating squad members in and out of the club we’re able to maintain it. Easily. Factor in original transfer fees being further divisible when a player renews a contract the bottom line is affected even less, see David Silva extending recently until 2020.

Get used to it ladies and gents! If we increase our turnover by another £50 million next financial year (and we will when we ditch Nike for Puma), that’s another £250 million transfer kitty next season…and ever growing!!!
Mark M32 Blue


Noisiest grounds
The Big P questions which stadiums are the most scary to play in. I’ve been to a couple of Istanbul derbies in the home end at Fenerbahce and I would be amazed if there is a more intimidating home atmosphere in world football. I also went to the Champions League QF first leg when Fener beat Chelsea and the away fans were literally cowering in the corner as a wall of noise rained down upon them.

More recently, wunderkind Timo Werner had to be substituted while playing for Leipzig at Besiktas because it was too noisy for him, poor little lamb. As an aside, each Istanbul team claims to hold the world record for the world’s loudest fans. Watch this, wait for it… and try to avoid getting goose pimples:

Jamie Bedwell (Second loudest is of course Whaddon Road), Cheltenhamshire


A theory
Anyone else think the over the top ‘Zlat’s all folks’ by fat man Custis in Mediawatch is a cunning ploy (Baldrick-style) to set up the ever important narrative. Nobody wants zero title drama. Can just imagine Zlatan scoring a winner a couple of months down the road and the Sun doing a massive spread of a creature half Zlatan-half phoenix rising from the ashes to open up the title race again (City’s lead cut to 22).

Nobody? I blame the media for being so crap that I must believe they’re smarter if a little devious.
Saaj (Illuminati infiltrated the Sun) CFC


Christmas XIs
Sensational effort by Jimmy, but surely there has to be a place for Harry Candy Kane in the Christmas XI?
David, Gooner, Sheffield

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