Manchester United attract the usual levels of absolute guff in the media as everybody pretends that something exciting has happened.
Mediawatch does not often have much sympathy for The Sun man Neil Custis but his story on the back page of the actual newspaper on Monday morning was a perfectly reasonable interpretation of Thomas Tuchel’s reaction to Chelsea’s humbling defeat at Leeds:
‘THOMAS TUCHEL blamed cock-up keeper Edouard Mendy for putting Chelsea on the road to a crashing defeat at Leeds.’
But then The Sun website bod Etienne Fermie got involved and that became…
‘MOANING Thomas Tuchel blamed Chelsea’s thrashing at Leeds on him and his coaches not having to take a long BUS RIDE.’
Apart from it making absolutely no sense at all, it’s total bollocks because MOANING Thomas Tuchel did nothing of the sort. But clicks innit.
What he did do was mention that “everything that can go wrong, did go wrong”, starting with the bus shenanigans, but most of his ire was saved for Mendy and several other defensive mistakes Chelsea made.
But why let the truth get in the way of making a man sound like a lunatic?
Don’t look back in anger
Our sympathy for Neil Custis only lasted as long as it took to read his other back-page story:
‘ERIK TEN HAG wants his flops to take their anger over a cancelled day off out on Liverpool tonight.’
Now he might. But he absolutely didn’t say that.
Sticking with Manchester United, the Mirror website are busy pretending that Wayne Rooney has picked a Manchester United XI to face Liverpool on Monday night and that crucially said Manchester United XI features no Harry Maguire.
Are we just pretending that Wayne Rooney has picked a Manchester United XI now? It really does seem we are… pic.twitter.com/xZO0iDZJ7r
— Football365 (@F365) August 22, 2022
They have even put the XI behind Rooney – making it partially obscured – to make it appear as if on a screen behind the former Manchester United forward, who is pictured in a grainy TV shot. Rooney was not speaking on TV (he was ‘writing’ in The Times) so this can surely only be deliberate obfuscation.
They promise us the ‘Man Utd line-up vs Liverpool with double change demanded by Wayne Rooney’, despite the fact that Rooney did not ‘demand’ a double change, he merely said that if he were Erik ten Hag, he would not play either Cristiano Ronaldo or Marcus Rashford. He did not suggest their replacements and his only mention of Maguire was as part of a trio of players who “will always try”.
Oddly, there is no mention of that particular quote. Because that would spoil the pretence that Rooney has appeared on TV, picked a Manchester United XI and demanded that Maguire should be dropped.
Cody said he didn’t raise the dead
Mediawatch is amused by the idea that Everton want Cody Gakpo but ‘United could have an advantage given PSV’s manager is the club’s former striker Ruud van Nistelrooy’ (Mirror).
No, United could have an advantage because they are Manchester United.
The other Eredivisie forward Manchester United are chasing is of course Antony. And in the true spirit of ‘let’s pretend’, the Express website would like you to think that the club has proposed a swap deal to Ajax.
‘Manchester United have a swap deal that can change everything on Antony transfer deal’
Can you ‘have’ a swap deal that only exists in the fevered imagination of Jack Otway? And we have to applaud/deplore the lovely use of ‘can’ instead of the more accurate ‘could’ to suggest that this is actually A Thing.
‘Manchester United want Antony and, what’s more, the Ajax star wants them as well. The Red Devils are, however, reluctant to considerably improve their £67.9million bid for the Brazil international. And that’s where Donny van de Beek comes in…’
Is it? Does Otway have an inside track? Does he balls. Does he eke this out over hundreds of words that essentially don’t matter because you have already clicked? Damn right he does.
It takes him another ten paragraphs to mention Van de Beek again and once again we are told that Ajax are shrewd negotiators but ‘this is where Van de Beek can come in’.
Does it matter if Van de Beek wants to go, whether Erik Ten Hag wants him to leave or indeed whether Ajax are interested. Frankly no, because this is where he comes in/can come in.
This made us laugh, though:
‘United’s midfield is about to become even more bloated following the arrival of Casemiro from Real Madrid.’
This ‘bloated’ midfield now consists of Casemiro, Fred, Scott McTominay, Van de Beek and Christian Eriksen. They’re basically drowning in central midfielders.
‘And given Van de Beek has made just four Premier League starts for United during his two years in English football, it’s hard to see him getting the regular action he craves.’
Pesky fact: He has made nine Premier League starts.
‘So far this season he’s been left on the bench for defeats against the likes of Brighton and Brentford.’
Pesky fact: He came off the bench in both games.
‘Whether United do consider a swap at this late stage of the transfer window remains to be seen.’
It really does. Forgive us if we think that is an ever-so-slightly-different message to ‘Manchester United have a swap deal that can change everything on Antony transfer deal’.