Mails: There is one major difference between Pogba and Sanchez

Date published: Friday 17th May 2019 1:27

Paul Pogba Alexis Sanchez Manchester United

Send your thoughts to


The difference between Pogba and Sanchez
Yash, MUFC – I can answer your question (Which club ditches their most talented player and goes on to improve?): It’s happened quite recently – Liverpool. They lost Gerrard, Suarez, Coutinho and Sterling over a few years, all of whom were, at various times, regarded as among their best/their best players, and look at the team now: flourishing. Why? Because they have established a team that works for each other. They bought the right kind of players and moulded them into a team with a shared goal, instead of a collection of individuals with individual agendas.

This is where most Man United fans’ frustrations with Paul Pogba lie. It’s not that he’s not got talent, that he doesn’t score or assist enough, or that he doesn’t track back. And it’s definitely not that he’s black, and I don’t think there has ever been a suggestion that it is, so it’s very unfair to level that accusation at the fans. We are frustrated because he isn’t a team player; he’s only interested in furthering his own cause and brand, usually to the detriment of the team, and it’s something which has clearly rubbed off on his teammates (Lingard being the worst culprit here).

This was clear for all to see when he posted that gloating tweet, post-Mourinho’s sacking. While other players were showing a bit of class in either their silence or offering their thanks to a former manager, he had to make it all about himself. The problem with Pogba, and Sterling at Liverpool to an extent, is that his ego has overtaken his output on the pitch. There’s a sense of entitlement which is irritating in the extreme; entitled to time and space on the ball, entitled to unbridled adulation, entitled to get away without putting in the requisite effort. Again, it’s not to say they’re not talented, it’s that they clearly are very much so but choose (and it is a conscious choice) to serve their own agenda ahead of the team’s.

Evra said recently that Pogba needs to feel loved, and he was walking round after the last league game looking for a hero’s reception, but that’s just the problem; a true hero doesn’t need it and doesn’t seek it. You don’t get extra credit for doing the thing that you’re supposed (and paid) to do. If he wants a hero’s adulation then he needs to start acting like one. For all I used to dislike Roy Keane as a player, his performance in the semi-final against Juventus all those years ago is exactly the sort of performance that you will never, ever see from Pogba. Keane knew he wasn’t going to play in that final if they got there, but he did absolutely everything to ensure his teammates got that chance. Look at Pogba in the first PSG game – instead of trying to drag his teammates back into the tie he gets himself sent off with a ridiculous foul, leaving his teammates without their self-proclaimed best player for the next game.

Maximum effort regardless of the personal reward is the type of attitude that Pogba needs to embrace if he wants to feel as loved as he seems to think he deserves. If he just wants to put in the same amount of effort as his peers then fine, but don’t then come cap in hand looking for lavish praise. The difference between Sanchez and Pogba is that at least Sanchez is showing a modicum of self-awareness and apologised for being so utterly sh*te. Granted, he bloody-well should apologise, given the wages he’s rinsing us for, but it’s not his fault that Woodward was stupid enough to agree to it.

Pogba isn’t the first player to fall into this trap and he certainly won’t be the last, but that doesn’t mean everyone just has to accept it. It’s a really simple solution: change his attitude, change his expectations, change his club. Quite frankly, I don’t care which it is at this point.
Ted, Manchester


Leeds rants
I was shocked to read Bigman’s rant about HIS Leeds.

They finished 13th in the previous champo season and as I understand it the squad was basically unchanged. It is widely regarded as a mid table standard squad.

Bielsa had them TOP of the table as late as March. After 44 minutes the other night they were 2-0 on aggregate. But for the keeper having a subsequent mare (remind anyone else of Kiev 2018?) they would have been favourite in a playoff final.

The real shock is that Bielsa got this shower anywhere near the top in the first place. He surely must be on Brighton’s and several others’ short lists.
Aussie Red


It’s easy to go in on Leeds after failing to secure promotion but actually it was a pretty immense season. Bielsa took a poor lower/mid table team and completely transformed them. The football they play, whilst I admit it makes my bumhole pucker watching Cooper playing out form the back, is fantastic. He has elevated players to a level I did not think they were remotely capable of reaching.

Where it really went wrong for us is the transfer window in my opinion. And that is because of Swansea. We had a bad time with injuries this year, and with Roofe out and the squad looking like it needed an injection of something, Daniel James would have made the difference. Swansea however completely shafted us with that deal and now it looks like an even bigger miss.

I thought Derby played a balls-out game at ER and although we were the better team you could see people losing their heads especially as the game got a bit tetchy. The ref did a pretty terrible job of controlling things. There is clearly some room for improvement in the squad. We need a CB, winger and a striker, Bamford has been disappointing after a promising start and made us miss Roofe quite a lot. Hopefully we get a little money put in then we can go again next year assuming we can keep the core together. Keeping Bielsa is key.
Rich, Leeds


Poch v Solskjaer
I don’t know where to start with Jim from Chichester’s analysis of Poch vs Solskjaer.

How about that Poch has a proven track record now of 4 years in the top 4? Whereas Solskjaer’s history in the Premier League consists of this and a relegated Cardiff side?

How about that Poch was steering his patched up Spurs team to the final of the Champions League while still accomplishing that?

How about that Poch did that with a ridiculously lean squad and massive injury issues?

How about that there are no mutterings of player discontent with the manager coming out of Spurs as there still are at United?

Poch does still have pressure and has felt heat for his end of season – but the fact of the matter is that he has delivered this year and consistently for Spurs.

On one show the other day they asked the question: if all the big 6 except United needed a new manager, how many would even consider to hire Solskjaer? Now imagine that same scenario with Poch – I think he’d at least be on the very short list for all.
James, Singapore


Aleflop Sancheflop…
Admittedly it doesn’t have quite the same ring as my now legendary Dimiflop Berbaflop (hey Marky B; still having therapy over that!) but following the hilarious reports that United are so desperate to offload the Chilean that they’re willing to pay 50% of his wages – some £12M odd big ones – to anyone stupid enough to take him off their hands for one measly season. Even at that I hear Milan are scoffing…

Are we therefore at the point that Alexis has usurped the ‘Wetched Way made him look good for one game’ Bulgarian as United’s biggest flop in living memory? Yes, United fans? Feel free to discuss amongst yourself in the PM mailbox.

And whilst I’m here, what does Fat Man Scouse, EFC know of playing the beautiful game? Unless he’s that pie-munching goalie who got done for insider dealing a few years back? So many questions so little time to check back for the responses but, again, argue amongst yourselves…

Ta muchly!
Gregory Whitehead (not fatist just that in almost all cases it’s self-inflicted), LFC


I’m a football fan, I like playing it more than watching it but I do watch it, I even root for a specific team. I do not, however, hinge my entire personality and purpose on this club. If the team I support were linked to something more important than football, like the persecution and oppression of millions of people, I would absolutely question the leadership. I’m not saying stop following your local team, but don’t blindly defend the owners actions either. It’s not your fault, other clubs are doing it too. It doesn’t matter what club it is, football as a whole should take a stand.

Human rights violations aside, clubs are breaking FFP rules. Rules that are in place to protect the integrity of the game, preserve competitive local rivalry and ultimately enhance your experience. No one wants the gap at the top to widen, we’re already staring down the barrel of predictable seasons and the constant plundering of homegrown players. Yes Liverpool pushed City, but City will always need to be pushed by an exceptional team or else they win. PSG… win. Barca / Madrid… win. Bayern… win. FFP (in theory) is not there to punish, it’s there to prevent. It has to be enforced now or it will never take hold.

We all know clubs are breaking FFP, we know the fees being paid, we know the club in questions annual revenue and expenditure. Can we all just be rational here and accept that this has to stop.. { 1 – 2 ≠ 0 }


A quick, and possibly rambling reply to Cole and his excellent mail on FFP.

Maybe FFP should be run to prevent a monopoly, drafts an wage caps might be a better way of doing it. I read the mail and I agree this is a good argument for what should be, but that isn’t what is in place.

In theory it’s to stop clubs overspending and going bump. But that isn’t happening in City’s case. Big initial investment which is now reaping rewards both on and off the pitch. If you look at the P/L accounts it is now a going concern, and on the latest valuations one of the biggest clubs in the world, returning the investment with profit should the Sheikh so choose. Sound business decisions.

FFP was protectionism of the old boys. Clubs who are where they are at least in part due to historical investment. Clubs listing themselves to generate cash to invest for example, then complaining when the shares get bought by people who are more interested in finance than football, sound familiar?

I’m hanging my hat on the fact that these emails have been illegally obtained and difficult to authenticate, won’t matter to UEFA but will in a Swiss court. And that City have already been punished for this time period, any new punishment will have to take time served into account with the fine and squad restriction already applied.  And that was on fair value sponsorships, all gone quiet on that now as Etihad got a bargain on a ten year deal.

Back to on the pitch, people seem to think it’s a done deal, but Watford are a well organised and dangerous side. I’d have the lads watch the Wigan final on repeat (still not over it), it’s been a long time since Tevez lifted this trophy for us and I’m desperate to see us do it again.

Up the blues!
Matt, MCFC, Brum.


I read Mark, MCFC’s mail this morning with interest and sadly, he is right on the parlous state of the club. Saying this, I would also suggest that a City fan sneering at United for only being able to sign players for the filthy, filthy cash displays a laughable lack of self-awareness. Kun Aguero’s hero was Shaun Goater growing up was it Mark? I’m sure that’s why he joined.

There is a great youtube interview with Henry Winter, who covers a great deal of United’s fixtures and has a decent amount of access, giving a detailed review of the car crash that was our 18/19 season. In it he discusses various causes of the malaise but what is interesting is that he does not pull any punches criticising the board, the Glazers and Woodward in particular. Our executive vice-chairman seems to be the David Moyes of the boardroom, at least on the football side of things. The club’s reluctance to hire appropriate staff and put in place a competitive structure on par with what were once our rivals (we are so far behind Liverpool and City now that it is misleading to call them rivals in anything other than a traditional sense) is baffling and Woodward is ground zero when it comes to why this has not happened. Now he is belatedly doing something about it, but even then it is a half-hearted cursory attempt. The fact that our shortlist for technical director and director of football is comprised solely of ex-players with no experience in the role is so typically Woodward that I’m surprised a picture of the shortlist hasn’t emerged with it looking unshaven and pointing authoritively at something in the distance.

We have had four managers, big name players come and go and 7 years of false dawns whilst one thing has remained constant – the board’s poor decision making. The rot at the top has well and truly seeped its way throughout the club, we sign proven players who should be quality and they turn into mediocre big time charlies as soon as they stick on the famous red. Of course the players have to accept a huge amount of responsibility but when it is clear that the board and the owners aren’t really interested in the actual football part of the football club, the tone that sets is destructive.

Change is needed more at the top than the bottom, Woodward needs to accept his limitations and step back from the football side of things and hire some people who actually know what they are doing. Until that happens, I fear we will be continually suffering the minor peaks and major troughs that have been the signature of post-Fergie Man United.
Smyth, MUFC


The City song
I’m sure you will get a few of these in response to the mail from Gavin MCFC, but I’ll offer my thoughts anyway.
The attack on the City bus was I’m sure a very traumatic experience for the players that day. It was probably mentioned on more than one occasion In the dressing room throughout the season, so after winning the title against the team those fans support they might have wanted to twist the knife. As you say they are only human.

However, for me the controversy isn’t with the players and staff singing that song, as misguided as it may be. It’s with the club’s response afterwards. Instead of giving a simple apology and letting it blow over, City decided to make a pathetic attempt at explaining it away.
They said that the ‘battered in the streets’ line wasn’t in reference to Sean Cox, but to the fans that were attacked in Kiev, as if that’s any better. That the ‘victims’ in the song were not in regards to Hillsborough. Completely ignoring the part of the club captain deliberately injuring/attempting to injure an opposing player.

These are not a minority of fans singing this. This is a group of people who are the face of the club. It was stupid/moronic/thoughtless whatever you want to call it, but for the club to come out and not just not apologize, but to actually condone it, is where this whole thing is extremely offensive.
Thomas, Ireland


To Gavin, MCFC – thanks for taking the time to offer a considered opinion on the potential mindset of City players when they chose to sing that song. I actually hadn’t even considered the impact the bus attack in regards to this incident, and it does bare consideration.

I will say, with regards bottles being thrown at your team’s bus, the vast majority of Liverpool fans were embarrassed and disgusted by this behaviour. I’m not sure the same can be said of City fans with regards the Allez chant which has (in your club’s own words) been a ‘regular chant’ throughout the season, but I fully accept it’s not all City fans.

But all that is beside the point. There will always be behaviour from certain fans that we could do with out, it’s the nature of society and therefore of football. There is, however, a vast difference between fans acting a certain way and players doing so. These are professionals who are celebrating injuring a fellow opponent and singing about innocent fans getting injured or worse. This is also off the back of all Liverpool players, to a man, congratulating Man City on a deserved victory. It’s classless and embarrassing.

As you’ve mentioned the bus incident, please think back to how the coach and club of Liverpool FC responded to that. Jurgen Klopp immediately personally apologised to Pep, again in the post-match press conference and again the following week. The club issued an immediate apology followed by a public plea, voiced by Jurgen, to Liverpool fans to respect other travelling fans.

Which brings me to the most disappointing aspect of the plane incident; the response from your club. To deflect this and say it’s a song about Kiev is choosing to miss the point in the most staggering way. Man City FC should accept that it was wrong and apologise, end of. I believe most Liverpool fans would accept it as a moment of over-excited poor judgement if that were to happen. As it stands it just screams of arrogance or ignorance.

Genuinely, congrats to you on retaining the title. It was an incredible season and I hope and believe we’ll be right back up there May next year.

Honestly, I wish I’d never seen that plane video.
ShaneO’ (LFC, Ireland)


Totally unnecessary response on Manchester United
So Paul, MUFC does have a cogent response on my “relegation is good” email. There’s a couple of missed points here.

One is that when the mighty United were in the second division, it did the club a shock of good. They were lucky that that at the time they didn’t fall out of the top tier when that meant the millions it does today. They still had their stars on *gasp* two hundred pounds a week, and had a season or two to figure out how to get back to where, eventually, SAF led the team to a quite amazing dominance. Match-day revenue back then was pretty much the only income stream, and those fans filled that ground week after week. Club spirit, and amazing to see the travelling fans in my little ol’ Dell. It was obvious they would go back up, it just needed careful management. They did it.

The second point is Paul’s “bog roll sponsor”. He misses the point – sponsoring a team is exposure, and if you’re dragging around in the off-prime-time slots, then you don’t have a lot of pull. I’ll look up the stats, but Chevrolet are not the shirt sponsors so that they never get their logo on US television. NBC now televise only one game each week outside of the subscription service, and the more Manchester United are not selected for the “free” game, the less exposure the the sponsors get. Do you think it’s a surprise that Deloitte assesses United as having dropped to third in the wealth table? I don’t see a bog roll sponsor breaking down the door to be associated with, well, a pile of ordure.

Thirdly. “leveraged buyout” has never ended well. We can’t afford the shiny new thing, so we’ll borrow enough to buy it, place the debt on the acquisition, and place the shiny thing in hock for ever, unless we luck out and make our money back – which includes the debt. Not happening; United are not a winning club.

Finally – as an example, Alexis Sanchez is making 450,000 quid (sorry, my keyboard doesn’t have a pound sign) and United are, roughly, pulling in 2M of those quids each home game. Something is not right about that financial decision-making. I assume he’s paid for the entire year, which comes to a cool 23.4 million. The 19 home games come to 38 mil, so you’ve got to play at least 60% of your games before you stop paying Sanchez, and that’s hoping he stays on the bench. It’s fine to blame Woodward for that, but unless the club is mismanaged to a degree unbelievable, the Glazers signed off on that.

We have “tax paid day” in the US where we stop giving everything we earn to the government and start working for yourself. It’s somewhere in mid-May right now, Manchester United have to play two-thirds of the season before they stop paying Alexis. There’s food for thought.

So get yourselves relegated, reboot and come back stronger.

I like Manchester United, I might not like the current incarnation of a them, but I like the club.
Steve, Los Angeles


More Related Articles