Mails: Manchester derby and much more…

Date published: Sunday 11th September 2016 12:02

Let’s hear your thoughts on non-Manchester derby stuff for the Monday Mailboxes. Send them to…


Good and bad things from the Manchester derby
Things to praise:
– The tactical duel between Mourinho and Pep.
– Sterling looking like he’s getting back on track with his development.
– Antonio Valencia showing us how good he can be.
– Rashford never giving up.

Things not to praise:
– Claudio Bravo’s catching.
– Claudio Bravo’s two footed sliding challenge.
– Pep holding on to the ball.
– Mark Clattenburg’s refereeing standards.
– Paul Pogba’s absenteeism.
– Mourinho’s selection and tactics.
– Wayne Rooney except for his cross.
– Zlatan’s love for the Zlatan/Cantona moment.
Ben, Cheltenhamshire


A seriously good game for the neutral
Not a City or United fan but that game was much more enjoyable than I thought it’d be and probably a fair result too. Some points;

As shaky as Bravo looked after the United goal, I have to say it looked more like Stones getting in his way. The keeper shouted too. That one cock up changed the complexion of the game.

City have some serious players, KDB, Silva, Fernandinho. All contenders for man of the match. Silva makes very difficult things look so normal they actually go unnoticed.

Pogba can look immense on the ball but in that 2nd half, when United were in control, he should have been seen more.

Rashford – gots to love that kid. Looks like a proper talent. And when comparing him to Sterling you have to say he’s ahead right now? I’m in the F365 camp, I’m against the treatment of Sterling but I also don’t think he was much use today.

I’m sure you wonderful people are providing some great analysis as I type and there’ll be far more emotional emails. But from a neutrals point what a great game. All without Aguero! City’s title I think.


…That was flipping fantastic.

Or at least it would be if I wasn’t a Man United fan. For a neutral, that must have been one of the most exciting games of football for a long time, and it was for me too. Except that, as a United fan, our fairly inept performance in the first half meant we paid the price. Lingard was totally anonymous, and Mkhitaryan made more of a case for being a super sub than a starter, but Ibra’s brilliant finish brought hope going in to half time.

Rashford looked like a brilliant introduction, and must surely be pushing for a starting place on the left wing (even if it’s not his most favoured position), and Rooney looked capable on the wing. In general, you wouldn’t have begrudged United an equaliser after they pushed the pace in the second half, but fair play to City for holding on.

I think the fact that it’s so early in the season means that this result won’t have as much of an effect on the final standings as some think, as it gives both managers a good yard stick to work with. But for now, I think as a United fan, I’m fairly happy with that performance, if not the result.


Why on earth would you start Lingard?
Imagine being Jesse Lingard, being told you’re starting the Manchester Derby despite Anthony Martial (European Golden boy), Marcus Rashford (Media declared saviour of English football) and Memphis (not great, but still £20m+) either being on the bench or not in the squad altogether.

How does that make you feel? Do you feel good? That you’re better than those players? Superior because you’re the older of the quartet and you’re getting picked? Or does it make you so extremely nervous? Because the 70000 fans about to watch you for (potentially) two hours will expect you to perform better than the aforementioned, in order to justify your place.

I understand picking more limited players in high stakes games, reducing risk, but Lingard is nominally an attacking player anyway, and there will not be many people from either side of Manchester thinking that was United’s strongest line up. Lingard is the obvious fall guy for more attacking impotus (even though it was defending that outdid them).

Mkhitaryan makes sense, but only if you’re trying to compete for possession, but why on earth did Lingard start? Hooked at half time to align the team to how most would have picked it from the start, a mistake from Mourinho has already seen him lose at home after five games when it took over a season at Chelsea.


Football365 is wrong on Lingard. On ‘many occasions’ he has won games ‘almost single handedly’
You have been proved wrong again and again about Jesse Lingard. He has saved United many times this last year. He has provided great goals, assists and boundless energy. He has on many occasions grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and won it almost single handedly. For example, I don’t know, the last 2 games he has played in. Namely the FA Cup final and the charity shield. I like most people have been won over by Lingard this year. However it was obviously risky to put him in after over a month of injury.

Except football365 couldn’t resist using this opportunity as an example of why he is a limited player. Not because he is not match fit and out of practice. No. It’s because he is s**t. This would not rankle as much if you did not then berate the mainstream media for unquestionably using the same tactic on Bravo a few paragraphs later. Yes Bravo had a bad game. He shouldn’t be judged on it. Only… isn’t that what you just did to Jesse?

This kind of hypocrisy is rank on football365 and through life. It makes a mockery of the concept of mediawatch as you are obviously no better. Seriously watch the games and don’t just look for any opportunity to criticise players you don’t like, regardless of their contribution.
(MC – I mean, can we really not write Mediawatch *and* not think that Jesse Lingard isn’t good enough for Manchester United? This isn’t a personal attack, just a doubt as to whether he is of the level required.)


More thoughts
– Felt like Van Gaal had been invited to give a guest pre-game talk. All of United’s players started cagey and nervous, Bailly obviously received the curse of mailbox praise during the week but settled down after his and Blind’s collective clanger for the first goal.

– I didn’t think Rooney played that bad today, I did however think that he blew hot and cold (and even bloody freezing) throughout the game which appears to be his M.O. this season, he was certainly spending too much time being ‘shouty’ and not enough playing. I also thought he was lucky to stay on the field and if Mr Clattenburg had attended the referees meeting regarding dissent Rooney could have been if for an early bath. After making that “tackle” on Bravo which couldn’t even be described as a “Derby challenge” it was that daft (just the sort of leadership you want from your captain), he receives a yellow card and his response to the ref I’m sure was “F*ck off” (my lip reading skills may have mistranslated). His rolling around on the ground after the Brave 50/50 and his screaming at the referee for a Fernando hand ball despite kicking the ball squarely into his chest, didn’t win him any brownie points with me either.

– Special praise for Otamendi and De Bruyne, where ever danger was brewing Otamendi seemed to just appear and immediately take care of it. He wasn’t just intercepting/challenging and leathering the ball into row z, he was playing some great passes (one to De Bruyne in particular) and even carrying the ball himself into the Utd half and is the first center half I have seen so far contain Zlatans physical presence. De Bruyne was running the show in the first half but obviously ran out of steam toward the end of the game and found himself isolated when Fernando was sent on to shut up shop.

– I suspect that could be the last start Lionel Jesse gets for a while. I partly feel it was a mistake on Jose’s part to play him in such an important game when he is just making his return from injury, I don’t think Jose will be to making that same mistake again.

– On the topic of Mourinho mistakes, Paul Pogba. Why play him in what is essentially defensive midfield, I know it was a big game and Jose is always safety first in them but he needs to be allowed to roam, the guy is a freak of nature, he has the physical attributes and the technical skills to play as a box-to-box, all action midfielder and I feel like he isn’t being used to his full potential in his box-to-halfway-line role.

I read the post-game mailbox and I don’t know quite what Guy S is getting at about this penalty, I thought Bravo and Rooney were both entitled to go for it, they both did so with no studs showing and it all seemed fairly routine actually.. I do however agree with Guy (never thought I’d find myself typing that..) on his point about two excellent chequebook managers.

– For United’s goal, I think commentators especially were straight away on the n*rrative “well our Joe wouldn’t have dropped that”, despite that being exactly the sort of thing Hart does. If Bravo has given Stones a shout I think Bravo can absolve himself of a lot of blame because Stones certainly didn’t make it easy for him but if he hasn’t, yep chalk that up as a mistake. Great technique on the finish from Zlatan though.

– All in all a fair result, was a cracking game once United woke up and got into it, they just found themselves too far behind against a side of huge quality.
John (Outstanding mail, I shown real character) Australia, MUFC


…What a riveting game. Here are my 16 conclusions (For a better set of conclusions, read here)

1. Pep won the tactical battle. By not bringing out his full backs inside, United did not have as much space on the flanks as they needed. That coupled with the ball being played out from real deep meant that United did not have an answer to City’s fluidity.

2. Pep calling Bravo as brave was silly. He dropped a clanger and should have conceded a penalty. He will cause City to lose atleast 6 points this season (bold prediction but i am an optimist and a fan) and all the top teams will attack his weakness.

3. Mourinho tried stopping City from playing from the flanks. He was clearly let down by his front three – Ibra wasnt on Stones enough and neither were Lingard and Mikhi.

4. That said, Mikhi and Lingard let the team down big time. I believe unleashing Mikhi on this game must have been Mourinhos plan but Mikhi struggled. Struggled big time. Lingad gave an impression of an amatuer who couldnt control the ball. They both will do better and must be played with the smaller teams to gain some confidence.

5. Mourinho got his starting line up wrong (I got my tactics wrong with three in the back. Pep did not move his full backs in) but fixed the problem too late. He claimed changing the team would have destroyed the players confidence. However, in Rooney, he had the midfield “stop gap” general that could have done the trick. By moving Rooney alongside Fellaini and Pogba, he could have stifled the city attacks and allowed Fellaini and Pogba to bomb forward and one thing Rooney likes to do is ping balls to marauding full backs which we had two of.

6. Bringing Herrera on and moving Pogba/Fellaini ahead was a masterstroke and Pep dealt with it brilliantly. He responded swiftly. Herrera is one of my favorite players and i wish he played more.

7. De Bruyne was brilliant. Genius vision, skill, effortless and effecient. All the narrative was on Zlatan on Pep. The media missed De Bruyne on Mourinho and he schooled United. What a genius.

8. Playing Pogba was a mistake. I believe a Schneiderlin would have been chomping at the bits and denied De Bruyne any space or allowed him the freedom that we gave them. Pogba with all his pace doesnt seem to close people as much as he should. He is great at holding possession and shrugging players off him and that works better when we are attacking and closer to the opposition box than ours. When we deal with teams that prefer possession like Arsenal and City, we should play a Schneiderlin who is more comfortable anticipating the ball, winning it back than holding it.

9. Rashford was awesome. He did in the first five minutes what Mikhi should have done in 45 minutes. Please start the boy. He is currently on form.

10. I believe Ibra lacked the composure and presence to close one of two chances. Bravo’s second clanger at the end of the first half should have been a goal. Passing it to Stones was uncharacteristic. Similarly, he snatched at a couple of other chances which I would have expected to have scored.

11. Rooney was real good in this game. He was incisive and even better on the wing. However, it was infuriating to see in Blinds position in the last 10 minutes. Blind is even better than Rooney in floating balls in the box, has a better left foot and Rooney in the box would have been a bigger nuisance to City than Rooney in the half way line. Herrera would have been an effective crosser than Rooney from the right. Mou should just take him off corner duties and judge him on goals. He seems to have lost his confidence in front of goal and is more eager to be the provider than the scorer.

12. United defence – How did Bailly not compete with Iheanacho for the ball and how did we give De Bruyne space in the box to take a shot for the second one. School boy errors. The defence was solid in the second half and we must keep faith. They will learn from this and have the pace and the reading of the game to be a strong competent unit.

13. Otamendi, Fernandinho, Silva, De Bruyne – What a spine. What a class act. Fernandinho and Otamendi had blinders. Otamendi got lucky with his handball and deserved his luck for his performance on the night.

14. Mark Clattenburg – He had that kind of a game where both sets of supporters felt that he favored the opposition. He was bad, missed a penalty (aleast one) and should have finished the game 10 on 10.

15. September with its many games give Mou the chance to learn about his squad. I hope he learns more about Schneiderlin, Herrera, Smalling and Mikhi and experiments with Blind in midfield (with Smalling and Bailly in defence). While Fellaini was imperious and Pogba majestic, we did not dominate the midfield battle and definitely need other solutions in the squad.

16. I loved Pep after this game. He was animated and hammered his players time and time again. I remember one moment when the ball went out on play on the right flank because of two United players going after two City players. He looked at the defender and let rip for the bad pass that led to possession being given away. He was smart, tactically alert, passionate and on the money through the game. I wish in a few years from now, we can bring him to United.

I am jealous of City on two counts – De Bruyne and Pep. Congratulations City. You deserved to win. I cannot wait for the return fixture.
Sudarsan Ravi


…What a bloody game eh! Even though we ended up on the losing side i didnt feel the anger and disappointment that usually follows a loss. Instead satisfaction reigned supreme and excitement of what the season (and future derby’s) could bring.

Tactically Jose got it wrong, he gave Fellaini far too much responsibility, Lingard and Miki looked miles off the pace, and once again Rooney as no10 didnt work. City were impressive, De Bruyne and Silva will get the plaudits but I thought Nolito was brilliant. He played his role perfectly and reminded those who might have forgotten that Valencia is not a defender.

United’s goal was a gift but it changed the game. Belief, confidence, mojo… whatever was missing in the first 35 minutes suddenly came back and we got a proper end to end derby. In the second half United were much much better, taking the shackles off Pogba and letting Fellaini be himself helped a great deal and the threat of Rashford put City on the back foot. Pep though being the excellent manager he is made good substitutions, Fernando came on to provide a bit of grit and City tried to hit on the break.

But this is what surprised me the most, Pep changing his tactics to quell the resurgent United. It was necessary and it worked but seeing a Guardiola team go 5 a the back and the manager applauding clearances into the stands (which had enraged him earlier) was odd to say the least. City though were lucky to end with 11 men on the field, both Otamendi and Bravo were deserving of red cards and that neither offence was punished even with a yellow is ridiculous.

In the end, a fantastic derby game. Really enjoyed it and cant wait for the next one.
Dave, Manchester


That Jose is the one that cocked it at Chelsea
Mourinho lost his first home league game after nine years (151 games) of being in management. In total, 107 coaches couldn’t beat him – that was his class and stature – that was Jose at his best. It took Mourinho only 2 home league games at United for his first defeat, let alone the prior abysmal record at Chelsea.

United would have still played as bad in the first half like they did, even if they would have started Martial and Mata instead. The second half was better for United comparatively because City had the lead (and Bravo) and played differently, not because Mourinho made brilliant tactical changes. He was tactically brilliant in February, 2014 when Chelsea beat City 0-1.

City had won 11 out of 11 at home in the league before Chelsea’s visit and Chelsea were largely expected to lose. Instead, Mourinho produced a surprise counter-attacking master-class perfectly designed to take advantage of City’s weaknesses. That was the Mourinho we knew, the one who just never ever lost.

This United performance reminded me of Jose’s last few weeks at Chelsea – sloppy, inconsistent, fearful, anxious, rubbish! He can use his excuse-generating machine to full effect and blame the referees and his players all he wants, but his plan was to attack instead of parking the bus – and that is why he played Mkhitariyan and Lingaard.

In fact, Pep totally outclassed him even in the second half with a perfect display of counter-attacking football. Jose’s plans backfired miserably in both halves and I have now started to believe that he is past his best.
Riwaz Duggal (CFC) Mumbai


You know what? It really does
“What Claudio did today was one of the best performances I’ve ever seen.” Guardiola.

Does this beat the Allardyce quote on Rooney after the Slovakia game?
Naz, Gooner


This made us laugh…
After 18 minutes I have concluded that Lucas is a legitimately excellent CB.
Eamonn (slightly drunk), Istanbul

…After 36 minutes, I retract my previous statement.
Eamonn (slightly drunker), Istanbul


This year is our etc and so on
Yay! We’re gonna win the league again!
Brian (never doubted us for a second) LFC


Hit and miss Liverpool
If Liverpool somehow learn to defend this season then they’d start to look like a tough Champions League side the way they interchange up front.

It’s strange they’re so bad defensively, as the players (Moreno aside) are all clearly talented individuals, Klopp has shown he can organise a defence previously, and the style of play of Liverpool isn’t throw everyone forward and get caught out (Moreno aside).

It’s more a case of repeated individual mistakes, so if the players can just concentrate for 90 minutes and not balls it up, they should start to finally get some consistency (Moreno aside).
KC (seriously though, Moreno)


Mark Hughes: The moaner is struggling
We need to talk about Mark Hughes, because – and I don’t check the F365 everyday so correct me if I’m wrong – people don’t do that a lot.

I reckon if you went back through tapes of post match interviews from the last 2-3 years, Hughes would be head and shoulders above all other managers for the number of times he complains about referees. He may have fronted up to an extent yesterday, but it was barely a foul on Walters, Arnautovic’s dive was a complete joke, and his antics were ludicrously over the top.

Then, yet again, he puts out scandalously unsubstantiated, unevidenced innuendo – spurred on and unchallenged by the MOTD reporter – about some kind of refereeing conspiracy. There’s no conspiracy, Mark. We’re four games in, and the reality is that Stoke have been appalling.

All managers (apart from perhaps Ranieri, that saint) are guilty, at some point, of biased and blinkered views of decisions. But Hughes does it pretty much every week and I don’t see a lot of people calling him on it.

There is a lack of responsibility about Hughes sometimes which takes away from an otherwise likeable manager, and if things carry on like they are, I wouldn’t bet against him being first with his job on the line.
Chris MUFC

More Related Articles