Man Utd like ‘a fish on a bike’ as Liverpool’s Forest fallout continues…

Editor F365
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag talks to Marcus Rashford; ref Paul Tierney chats with Jurgen Klopp.
Marcus Rashford cops it in the Mailbox while Paul Tierney's dropped balls spark debate.

The Mailbox reacts to the Manchester derby, with most United fans content just to avoid a battering. Also: the debate over Liverpool’s winner at Forest continues. Conspiracy?

Get your views in to theeditor@football365.com

 

Fish with a bicycle
Watching Manchester United attempting to play football is laughable. They look like they have no idea what to do with the ball.

I’ve played teams in the lowest echelons of French football on ploughed fields who play a more attractive game. Whack it long for the fast lad; not a tactic that will succeed,
Dan

 

How the mighty have fallen
I’m a united fan and I’m glad it’s only 2-1 (so far).
Ruben, MUFC, Canada

Read more: 16 Conclusions on Manchester City 3-1 Man Utd: Ten Hag sack, phenomenal Foden, rubbish Rashford

 

We go again
So the most recent Manchester derby is now in the annals of history and I am trying to process my thoughts. I am not overly annoyed, City are still well ahead of us in terms of overall quality, but I am disappointed, as we were solid and defended well for most of the game but, in the end, their quality came to the fore.

Full disclosure, I thought Rashford was clipped before Foden scored his first. None of the replays I saw afterwards changed my mind. But I can’t argue that City deserved their equaliser (and probably their winner). That said, our shape, work-rate and defensive communication seemed to be on point until their first goal. We totally nullified their tried and trusted overlap that they always seem to score against us; you know the one where KDB gives and goes on the outside and pulls back for a tap in (see their second goal for a broad example). To the extent that by the end of the first half it felt as if City had run out of ideas. So the players can hold their heads up as all we, as fans, can ask is to give everything which I felt they did today.

In terms of going forward, in my opinion Ten Hag still gets another season to show if he can work well under the new regime and with an improved/refreshed squad. Let’s regroup, take three points off Everton and then give Liverpool a proper doing in the FA Cup because their current smugness is palpable and hard to stomach.
Garey Vance, MUFC

READ: Who will be the next manager of Manchester United?


The way forward​
It is clear to see the vast difference in quality in the Manchester Derby. A few suggestions I feel I must share:

1) Get rid of players with a suspect injury history. Name another top level side that has had a whole team out for more than a quarter of the season. Not only are some of these players not up for it mentally but physically they are not meeting standards for whatever reason. Manchester United do not have the luxury of waiting for these players to vacate the recovery table. These players include: Shaw, Malacia, Martial (obviously), Varane (due for a good injury), Maguire (more and more I’m seeing him on the injury list), Wan-Bissaka (accumulation), Mount (harsh I know), and dare I saw Martinez if he has another big injury

2) Get rid of the players with poor quality or who have been given a fair chance and won’t cut it going forward. These players include: Martial, Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Malacia, Antony, Lindelof, McTominay, and yes Rashford.

We have a decent revenue stream so the addition of pure profit with the sales of: Rashford (60-70 million), McTominay (30-40 million), and Greenwood (30-40 million) would be life changing for the recruitment mistakes that have plagued us for the last decade. Obviously this money would have to be well invested and this is where the new partial owners must step up. I am not in the Ten Hag out camp yet as this squad is clearly playing to its full potential. If we finished 5th with J. Evans as our first choice center back I would be happy. For those of you who would not be satisfied, please read that last sentence over again. I will be in the Ten Hag/SJR out camp if these issues are not addressed this summer.

A realistic Manchester United fan,
Phil

READ: Man Utd being predictably rotten at Man City suits Sky Sports

 

The City view
City fan here. Some random points in no particular order:

· I’m one of those that just can’t relax when it comes to derby games. I think the only one I’ve ever enjoyed was the 6-1 at OT in 2011. And even then, I didn’t start to chill until the fifth went in! So, as a family event had been planned for today, I went along vowing to switch my phone off and pretend to be nonchalant about the whole thing and convince myself that enjoying time with my kids was more important than any stupid football game. (In truth though, I’d have been in more sh*t with the Mrs than Flash Gordon and Dan Dare put together if I’d tried to weasel out of it).

· That plan lasted all of seven minutes when my phone went mad. (Yes, I know what I said but, you know.) Which brings me to Marcus Rashford. Seeing the goal afterwards, my first thought was “Wow. Just wow.” And I think that that strike has got to be in the top three goals of the season. Personally, if that had ended up as the winning goal, my own view would’ve been that a proper thunderb*stard like that would have had no shame in the loss. Also, can you imagine him doing something like that alongside Kane in an England shirt? I don’t know what, if anything, scoring a super goal like that adds to the recent debate around the kid, but that remains United’s problem. Nobody else’s. Ten Hag said he was subbed because he was injured. I do hope it’s not serious and maybe a silver lining in that particular cloud will be (a little) time out of the spotlight.

· And so, from an England pov, onto Phil Foden. Southgate was watching on and, whilst I’m certain he’ll pick Foden (He’d bloody well better given his form this season) I’m convinced he won’t start him in a competitive match. Even if he does, it’s a pound to a pinch of sh*t that it’ll be alongside Henderson as I just cannot see Southgate playing Foden and Bellingham together and certainly not with the kind of freedom both enjoy at their respective clubs. He’s too rigid and he’s too defensive. In short, it will be Henderson, barring injury, picked first and any other of our young, attacking talent second. If I’m wrong, I promise this mailbox I’ll donate £100 to the Bobby Moore foundation.

· That match was, for City, the very definition of a must-win game. Given the form of both teams, the smart money must be on Arsenal taking all three points from The Blades on Monday night. On top of that was, on Saturday, the jammiest goal in the PL since Fergie retired when, to paraphrase Viz, ‘I was so disgusted I put my foot through my radio and sent the bill to Liverpool FC.’ The spawny gets! (Sigh).

· Haaland’s comedy miss. The football phrase ‘He had to work harder to miss that than to score’ could’ve been invented for that very incident, couldn’t it? The thing is, I think an awful lot of people, wilfully or not, miss the point about Haaland, especially when commenting on his lack of touches or that ‘he wasn’t even in the game.’ Here’s what he does. The opposition HAVE to put two, or sometimes three, players to mark just him. Because, if you don’t, and like the Goat* before him, he will get fed and he WILL score. But then, if you do, you have the problem of the likes of Messrs Silva B, De Bruyne K, Foden P, Alvarez J, Doku J, and Rodrigo et al who have the rather annoying habit of exploiting the spaces that that creates and scoring lots of goals themselves. On top of that, it should be noted that he’s gradually getting his mojo back and getting match fit after a lengthy injury and also having to deal with the loss of his Gran recently. In short, be afraid. Be very afraid.

· Although we were all back just after the start of the second half, I couldn’t watch it because I was ‘forced’ by my boys to watch the previous night’s episode of ‘Gladiators.’ Now, unlike the rest of you bottom-feeders, I was watching purely to foster the spirit of competitiveness in my lads and to show them how you can achieve your goals in a sporting environment. I absolutely did NOT watch it in case either Diamond or Sabre featured. A bit like my middle-aged dad who, back in the day, watched Top of The Pops (Google it kids) because he was into contemporary music and not because Debbie Harry would be on. Anyhoo, I caught the post-match stuff on Sky and my only real moan about United was Ten Hag’s whines that Rashford was ‘fouled’ by Walker and that Ederson’s tackle ‘could’ve’ been a penalty and both incidents ‘transformed the game.’ Note to Eric. I think City’s twenty-seven shots on goal compared to United’s three whilst enjoying 73% of possession probably had more to do with it. On the former, Ten Hag kept saying ‘There was contact.’ Addendum to Eric’s note. Contact does not, necessarily, a foul make. Although, and tbf to him, he did concede that said contact was ‘soft’ (His words). In addition, neither Roy Keane nor G Nev thought it was a foul either. On the latter, G Nev made the very good point (Eurgh, I’ve got a little sick in my mouth) that, had an outfield player made Ederson’s tackle, they would probably have been booked. But hey, that’s the ‘funny old game’ that makes us happy and drives us mad in equal measure.

· Overall, glad I didn’t see it live as I would’ve been hiding behind the sofa for much of it, but SO glad we beat United. That fact doesn’t mean you’re still ‘relevant’ United fans because, to be blunt, you are not ‘our’ noisy neighbours and haven’t been for ten years. Further, and I promise you this is no kind of ‘dig,’ but it’s unlikely you will be for quite a few years yet and even that will depend on whether your new ‘saviour’ can back up his silky words with meaningful actions. Liverpool have been very worthy holders of that particular moniker (Because of their club structure, playing ethos and outstanding manager) and Arsenal, in a post-Klopp era, may very well succeed them in it. Take it as a compliment that I enjoyed it so much for all the Fergie years you invariably battered us whilst we struggled just to stay in the top flight. And not, in any way, because my own red brother has not hesitated to lay on the abuse, with the biggest and thickest trowel he could find at every possible opportunity, since the nineties. No Siree.

· * For all you Gen Z types out there, that’s Shaun Goater not, you know, Messi or that other one. What’s-his-name?

Mark (Can you imagine what Klopp or Guardiola would do at the Euros with the astonishing English talent available for selection for the Euros? Trick question. They’d smash it. Despite having the same players to pick from, guess who won’t smash it?) MCFC.

 

One rule for one
If Casemiro makes that challenge that Ederson just did it’s a yellow card.
Larus Gudmundsson


Rash judgement​
Rashford, what a player… I’m still so confused by him yet not surprised at all. He had our only three chances. Missed them all. Scored a thunderbastard. Had a poor game. Wow. He just cannot be given time to think at all.

My brother mentioned during the game that Erickson should come on. I had almost forgot about him, seriously, he was immense last year.

What happened Ten Hag? May be not for every game, or even for the full game, but Casemiro and Erickson is our only pairing proven to work, play them.
Zdravko (not City)

Read more: Marcus Rashford from Man Utd hero back to (near) zero as quality questioned over ‘commitment’

 

Move on from Marcus​
Much like Pogba and Lingard before him, Rashford is part of the problem, not the solution. That he is United’s poster boy is a big part of the reason the team is where it is.

He has a biannual purple patch when people compare him to f*cking Mbappe but he never keeps it up long enough for a team that wants to be among the elite.

I often hear talk about how great he was last season but he did fuck all before December and scored about 5 goals from February to the end of the season. It was just another purple patch.

I’m a fan of a football team, specifically his one, and part of that is experiencing irrational hope so I let myself get excited about his little run last season. I carried some of the hope generated from that period into this season. Then he put out that letter.

Lingard had a clothing line, Pogba constantly linked himself to Madrid and Barca, Maguire did a sit down interview with the BBC after he made a fool of himself on holiday. Mata had had his stupid blog. Self serving acts by players with massive egos who seemed to think they were among the world’s elite despite achieving very little on the pitch. Being a United player was enough to blow their heads up. A dressing room full of people only out for themselves.

Everyone, myself included, assumed Rashford was being hampered by these ego maniacs but he’s every but as bad as them. An open letter? What the f*ck is that? Can you imagine if every player who gets criticised (which is every player) did that?

The letter was fairly shit as well. He alluded to racist press coverage and if that was the focus of the letter, I would have said fair enough, but it was a one line throw away remark that didn’t actually call it out, just hinted at it. That reminded me of how he never once criticised the Tories when he was out doing their job. I had a letter here before where I said he came across like a TV presenter on twitter and that I got the sense he was setting himself up for a career in the public eye after football. I’m more convinced of that than ever now.

I feel like an elite level athlete would put their head down and train as hard as they could if they wanted to see themselves in the headlines again. Marcus Rashford writes a Facebook status update to address the haters. “if you doubt me even better”. F*cking dork.

Back to the football. Arguments are made in his favour that he’s not a natural goalscorer and he’s best off the left. Ok, so how many assists does he get? This season, in the league, he’s had 2. Last season, his league total was 5. He has scored 17 goals in the league twice. His most after that is 11. Then it’s all single digits. What is he actually good at?

But he’s United’s best forward. And that’s (partly) why United are sh*t. If Ratcliffe wants to get the club back to the top, they need to move on from Marcus Rashford.
Eamonn, Dublin


Back door into the Champions League​
Although I enjoy the utter mess that United are Chelsea are in, I’m here to offer a ray of hope to supporters of both teams. It’s possible that sixth place in the league could qualify for the Champions League.

Hear me out…

As is commonly known, there’s an extra place up for grabs this year, and the country with the highest coefficient will get it. Therefore, if Arsenal and City continue to progress, it’s likely that place with go to an English team. Hence fifth place will qualify for the CL.

This is where it gets interesting. City and Girona are owned by the same group, and UEFA rules prohibit teams with the same owners from competing in the same tournament. If both teams qualify for the CL the highest of the two will take their place, the other will not.

Girona and City are both second and though unlikely it’s not impossible Girona could finish second and City third. In which case, City’s forfeited place would go to the team in sixth.

Ok, I know it’s a long shot, but it would be hilarious.
Rob

Read more: How Premier League teams qualify for Champions League and Europa competitions for 24/25

 

Conspiracy?
Just to check, is there a grand conspiracy against Liverpool this week or not?

Is there any way F365 could show the latest live updates on the front page, maybe some kind of traffic light system for the rest of us?

Thanks
Gav, Edinburgh

 

Forest fallout
It’s a foul on Konate in the box. Shouldn’t have been a drop ball at all, should have been a Liverpool free kick. Simple.
Sam, Leeds

 

…I agree wholeheartedly with Match Of The Day’s assessment that there was a shocking decision at Forest on Saturday.

Unfortunately, the clowns were referring to the wrong one.

I am, of course, referring to Yates launching a Kung Fu kick at Konate’s head at the corner leading up to Paul Tierney’s so-called “mistake”.

So what *should* have happened, is when the game was stopped, the VAR *should* have called Tierney to come across and conduct a red card review and sent Yates off for dangerous play, with the award of a free kick to Liverpool.

So, in many ways, you mighy say that Tierney actually arrived at the correct decision, just in the wrong way.

Forest should be thanking the officials, not berating them. They’ve saved them going down to 10 men and losing a player for 3 matches.

If they’ve got any sense of dignity, they’ll tell Mark Clattenburg to shut his mouth, keep quiet and apologise to Tierney for the post-match abuse.

Oh, and MOTD’s editor? Perhaps earn your money pal?
Andy H, Swansea

 

…I’ve read quite an amount of “if my aunt had balls she’d be my uncle” reasons why Paul Tierneys mistake made no difference to the result.
All of them irrelevant.

It was a mistake. It shouldn’t have happened.

For all the Liverpool fans offering up reasons why it wasn’t a mistake, you’re wasting your time and everyone elses by making us read them.

Refereeing mistakes don’t carry any consequences or hope of repeal so why so defensive? You got your three points and may have even gained some respect from other fanbases by acknowledgement of the cockup instead of the usual blind loyalty.
Eoin (each team should have three VAR/umpire challenges per half for contentious stuff like this) Ireland

Mark Clattenburg in the stands.

…Mike Dean says it was a “Monumental error”.

Alan Shearer says Paul Tierney “Dropped a big clanger…He’s got it totally wrong”.

Jermain Jenas says it was a “Shocking decision” and Forest could’ve got another shot in.

Gladiator’s Mark Clattenburg is threatening to use his contacts inside PGMOL to do…well…something. Probably

The Nottingham Forest owner reportedly ‘chased’ the referee down the tunnel.

Dermot Gallagher says it was a simple “incorrect restart in law…(that) doesn’t directly attribute to a goal”.

Meanwhile, fans are arguing online.

Forest fans are pointing out they should’ve gotten the ball back under the rules. Liverpool fans are claiming a free kick should’ve been given for Yates’s high foot on Konate in the incident that saw him go down with a ‘head injury’ and that Tierney did the same thing earlier in the game in Forest’s favour. Other Forest fans are saying they should’ve had a penalty for a foul on Omobamidele by Gomez while Liverpool fans are arguing they should’ve had a penalty 20 minutes before that for the same foul on Danns. Arsenal and City fans are asking why a goal was scored in the 99th minute of a game with 8 extra minutes of added time and suggesting it’s play until Liverpool scores as part of the Klopp Farewell Tour. Everton fans are simultaneously claiming it’s all part of the ongoing conspiracy by all powers that be to keep them down and Liverpool up while also secretly crying about the prevalence of Liverpool ‘miracles’. Newcastle fans somehow think they are relevant here and are claiming that a legal challenge should be taken by Forest for a ‘clear and deliberate ploy’ by the PGMOL and Premier League.

So let’s summarise.

Paul Tierney is an awful referee like so many others but one who is most hated by Liverpool fans due to the frequency with which he is appointed to referee them and a litany of awful errors as well as a perceived vendetta against Klopp personally.
Paul Tierney made a mistake as he is wont to do. That mistake was not the same as the drop-ball decision he gave in favour of Forest earlier which he called correctly (ball still in the penalty area = Forest’s ball. vs. Forest player’s last touch and ball outside the penalty area should’ve = Forest’s ball).

Konate went down easily with a head knock to stop the play. It happens in every game. Referees are left to judge with no experience or training what is a legitimately concerning head injury and decide whether to stop play. Players increasingly take advantage of that putting themselves and their teammates/opponents at risk of serious injury if referees start to decide not to stop the play and miss an actually serious head injury. It’s appalling but difficult to stop safely.

Konate went down due to contact with Kelleher, not Yates, however, a free kick could’ve still been given against Yates as his foot was head height and clearly dangerous.

The grapple with Omabamidele was subjectively a penalty and I wouldn’t have complained much given that Gomez had a good hold on him but Omabamidele also collapsed his legs to hit the ground to make it more obvious.

Danns was bear-hugged by the Forest player with no intention of looking for the ball but wasn’t ‘experienced’ enough to make it obvious by trying to make a run and falling rather than standing still and hugging.

Arsenal and City fans and anyone else making the point can take comfort that the initial 8 minutes included a significant stoppage for an injury and was then extended because Forest was time wasting so badly in added time – two players were booked inside a minute for doing so. Also added time is a ‘minimum of’ not an exact measurement, but then you know that, don’t you? Tierney then played an extra minute after Liverpool scored just to prove the point.

Everton fans – I can’t help you. Perhaps no one can.

Newcastle fans – don’t you have other things to be worrying about?

Most importantly of all the winning goal was scored 1 minute and 50 seconds after Liverpool was given the ball back. A period in which Forest had the ball three times – clearing the ball into Liverpool’s half for a throw-in, clearing the ball for a corner and winning the ball from said corner with two Forest players trying to dribble the ball out of their box. All before McAllister crossed for Nunez to win it. I’ve heard of the Butterfly Effect and Chaos Theory but as corrupt conspiracies go Tierney has played an absolute blinder to create a Liverpool winner from an incorrect drop-ball inside their own penalty area with the opponent repeatedly touching the ball. Also if Butterfly Effect is the argument then maybe Liverpool would’ve scored from the corner they were incorrectly not awarded earlier in the game – at least the ball would’ve been closer to Forest’s goal so it’s surely at least as likely.

In short – everyone is wrong and knows little or nothing about the rules of the game including referees, players, pundits, owners, and fans and football discourse is a toxic cesspit of one-eyed partisanship.

Regards,
Lindsay, Dublin.

Misquoting Shanks​
Rob might have a point, if he weren’t misquoting Bill Shankly to excuse Liverpool’s “this means more” marketing tag. In fact, Shankly said, “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.” Rob wouldn’t be ignoring something to justify faux ignorance, would he?
Chris C, Toon Army DC