Bruno Fernandes was quite good on Tuesday as Manchester United won in Paris. A few of his teammates were certainly better but credit where it’s due: his first game as captain was a success.
It was not, however, further proof that he is the second coming of either a four-time Premier League-winning icon or one of the greatest players ever.
This one’s for you, BT Sport commentator Darren Fletcher.
“He’s the captain, and that could easily be an Eric Cantona or Cristiano Ronaldo, somebody having that belief in themselves that they missed a penalty at the weekend and missed a penalty there. But there was only one person taking that penalty there and that was Bruno Fernandes.”
Deciding not to randomly relinquish your penalty-taking duties in the middle of a game despite missing one a few days prior and having another saved but ordered to be re-taken – and scoring 21 in a row before then – really is astonishing. What a player.
Follow the leader
Martin Blackburn of The Sun was equally impressed with Fernandes, otherwise known as Cristiano Cantona.
‘Leadership is something that comes naturally to the £67million midfielder – even though he is only 26.’
Because there has literally never been a single person to ever exhibit leadership abilities before the age of 30. Wait until he sees 21-year-old Declan Rice captaining West Ham.
The Sun website is also at it with this feature:
‘How Real Madrid could line-up with Man Utd star Bruno Fernandes and No1 transfer target Kylian Mbappe next summer’
Moving quickly past that hyphen, we are told that Real Madrid will…
1) Make absolutely no defensive signings whatsoever, dropping Ferland Mendy and Dani Carvajal for Marcelo and Nacho.
2) Sign both Fernandes and Paul Pogba from a Manchester United side presumably happy to sell their only two creative midfielders in one transfer window.
3) Randomly turn Marco Asensio into a guaranteed first-teamer despite him starting 12 La Liga games since January 2019.
4) Fix Eden Hazard.
That is one busy and definitely viable summer.
Attitude is everything
Quite why Real would even sign Pogba is a mystery, mind. The Daily Mail‘s Martin Samuel describes the Frenchman as someone ‘unprepared to pull his weight’ as an explanation for him starting the game on the bench.
What a strange way to refer to a player who provided the match-winning assist and had been a substitute in the previous game.
But did he take the decision not to start him well? Martin Blackburn of The Sun writes that ‘there was no attitude from Pogba despite him only making the bench again’. That he doesn’t also point out a lack of ‘attitude’ from fellow substitutes Donny van de Beek or Daniel James must simply be an oversight.
No, Ney, Never
Martin Samuel also digs out Neymar in his match report. Not for being a bit rubbish, but for ‘actually walking away from the play as Rashford scored United’s winner’.
How dare a PSG forward not sprint back in the 87th minute to help his teammates prevent an excellent Marcus Rashford finish from 18 yards out?
On that note…
‘Ferdinand tells Rashford what he needs to do to become world class’ – Daily Mirror website.
Is the advice to score more goals? Yes, yes it is.
The Sun seem conflicted as to whether Chelsea drawing at home to Europa League champions Sevilla, who held Barcelona at the Nou Camp earlier this month, beat Wolves, Manchester United and Inter Milan in Europe last season and drew twice with eventual finalists Liverpool in 2017, is a good result or not.
Spoiler: it was.
Dave Kidd admits ‘this would not have been a compelling advert for an expanded European Super League’. But he adds that the result ‘will have been welcome’ to Frank Lampard as Chelsea ‘cured their defensive incontinence’ and ‘looked more solid’, so this ‘should be considered a point gained rather than two lost’.
But Simon Phillips was unimpressed, suggesting they ‘looked afraid’, ‘in fear’ and crippled by ‘a lack of belief’ in an ‘uncomfortable’ formation.
‘These players need to drop the pressure and allow themselves to be creative and expressive,’ he concludes of a team whose Premier League results so far this season include two 3-3 draws, 4-0 and 3-1 wins and a 2-0 defeat.
More creativity and opportunities to be ‘expressive’ is definitely what one of the highest-scoring teams in England – with their poor defensive record – needs.
No prizes for guessing where this headline is from:
‘Frank Lampard heaps praise on ‘quality’ Thiago Silva for starring as Chelsea shut out Sevilla but admits he will have to ‘manage him’ because 36-year-old veteran’s body cannot cope with playing in every game’
Manager ‘admits’ he will ‘manage’ one of his players. Whatever next?
Mersey loves company
The Daily Mirror ignores the two Champions League games featuring English sides on Tuesday evening to instead focus on Liverpool’s clash with Ajax on Wednesday. This story sits atop their website at lunchtime:
‘GOING DUTCH! 5 talking points from Liverpool training as Reds prepare for Amsterdam trip to take on Ajax in Champions League’
These ‘talking points’ – specifically ‘from Liverpool training’, remember – are:
1) Fabinho will play.
2) Joe Gomez will play.
3) Roberto Firmino ‘will be keen to get back amongst the goals’.
4) Nathaniel Phillips should be on the bench because there is literally no-one else.
5) Jake Cain simultaneously has ‘a potential chance’ to play and ‘is unlikely to feature’.
Never have I Evra
‘Watch Evra eat cooked chicken in bizarre ‘upgrade’ to infamous video’ – The Sun website.
‘No’ – Mediawatch and probably everyone else.
F365 shithouse headline of the day
‘Carragher hits back at Klopp over Liverpool transfer comments’
Reiterating agreement with the man is not ‘hitting back’.
Recommended reading of the day
Tom Worville on this nascent Premier League season. (£)