Manchester United ‘aren’t used to controversy’

Date published: Tuesday 29th November 2016 1:04

How quickly he’s forgotten
Says a ‘Manchester United source’, speaking to the Daily Mail:

“There’s no doubt that Mourinho has upset the applecart because he courts controversy in a way others haven’t here. It upsets people at the club because they aren’t used to it.”

No, it’s not as if Manchester United used to have a manager who famously regularly landed himself in hot water and managed many of the current squad.

In his final five months as United manager, Alex Ferguson escaped punishment for entering the pitch to harangue Mike Dean, was fined £12,000 after accusing an assistant referee of favouring the opposition and was charged by UEFA for failing to attend his news conference after Nani’s red card in the Champions League. And that was when things were going well…


C-c-called a U-turn
On September 6, Neil Custis wrote a comment piece in The Sun entitled ‘How Jose Mourinho has turned Manchester United around to become the force of old’, and we wondered if it was a little hasty. One of the sections was ‘new signings’:

‘In his £250m splurge, LVG made two that excited but could not get the best out of either in Angel Di Maria and Memphis Depay.

‘Mourinho has made four and so far Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and Eric Bailly have been immediate hits. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is yet to start.’

On November 29, Neil Custis writes a comment piece in The Sun entitled ‘United state: What’s wrong at Old Trafford.’ One of the sections is ‘new signings struggling’:

‘While Ibrahimovic and Bailly have looked decent acquisitions, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba have not. World-record £89million signing Pogba has been a big letdown so far. While there have been signs of improvement, he still looks like someone playing in his own bubble with not enough awareness of what is going on around him.’

Put your hands up, bend your knees…


Harry Redknapp misremembers: The latest in a series
On Monday, Harry Redknapp realised he hadn’t said anything controversial for a few days and appeared on Talksport to make some headline-grabbing claims.

“I was managing a Tottenham team that I thought could go on and win the title, I genuinely believed that,” said Redknapp. “I took Louis Saha and Ryan Nelsen on free transfers – we were short, we had injuries at centre half and I had no striker. If we had gone out and invested then… Luis Suarez was a player that we were looking at.”

Nice story, Harry. But you signed Louis Saha and Ryan Nelsen in February 2012. By that stage, Luis Suarez has been a Liverpool player for over a year. Oops.

Ignoring that gaffe, it’s interesting that Redknapp now blames Tottenham for not investing in Suarez when he was at Ajax, bearing in mind he said this in May 2011:

“We kept looking at Suárez but people thought he couldn’t play up as a striker. They said he’s like Rafa van der Vaart and you can’t have him and Rafa or you’d have two players who want to drop deep, so that was the problem. We were looking for someone to play up front with Rafa. People said he couldn’t do that, he drifts and comes deep. But he played up front on his own the other night and he was fantastic.”

And who were the mysterious ‘they’ and ‘people’ who were so wrong about Suarez, Harry? Your mate Tim Sherwood, that’s who.

Here’s Ruud Gullit in 2014:

“They came to watch him. I met Sherwood together with Les Ferdinand, they were Harry Redknapp’s assistants at the time and were also his scouts. They asked me all kinds of questions about Suarez, so I just point blank said: ‘You have to snap him up, without any hesitation, in a heartbeat.’ ‘Well, we’re not sure,’ they said whilst they actually watched him play.”

You can’t trust anyone these days.


Diego Costa: A transfer trail
‘Chelsea transfer news: Diego Costa a £50million Inter Milan target as Italian giants plot stunning January move,’ read The Sun headline on Monday evening. The story was published at 7.33pm.

‘INTER MILAN are ready to stun the footballing world with an audacious £50million bid for Diego Costa in January. Reports claim the fallen Italian giants are targeting Chelsea’s rejuvenated striker in a bid to qualify for next season’s Champions League.’

The Sun then quote Talksport, so it’s over to them for more news.

‘Inter Milan are preparing a shock £50 million move for Chelsea striker Diego Costa. The Italian club are ready to go big during the January transfer window thanks to the backing of their new Chinese owners. And, according to Don Balon, Costa is high on the club’s list of transfer targets.’

Right, so now it’s to Don Balon, where Mediawatch made two conclusions:

1) The story doesn’t even feature on Don Balon’s homepage. That’s because it was written on Saturday, not Monday.

2) The story also claims that Diego Simeone will join Inter in January and the Serie A side will use him to tempt Costa, a claim that is a) pretty vital to the story, and b) lost in both the Sun and Talksport’s pieces.


Beat the elite
Mediawatch was interested by Dave Kidd’s fact in The Sun that no top-six team has lost to a team outside the top six for ten weeks, but we can’t quite get on board with his doom-mongering.

‘Yet it has now been more than ten weeks since any of the ‘big six’ have lost a league game to a club outside that elite — Burnley’s victory over Liverpool and Watford’s defeat of Manchester United having been the only such results this season. So the idea that Leicester’s heroics might inspire other ‘lesser’ clubs has failed to transpire. It’s actually more predictable than ever.’

Cheer up, Dave, because we have another way of selling your statistic. In the last eight rounds of Premier League matches alone, top-six sides have dropped league points against Southampton (twice), Middlesbrough (twice), Everton, Leicester, Stoke, West Ham, Burnley, Bournemouth and West Brom.

See, you feel better already.


Budgie smugglers
When Mediawatch opened the Daily Mail’s sport section, it’s fair to say we didn’t expect to see the following question in Charlie Sale’s ‘sports agenda’ column:

‘Could Crystal Palace’s atrocious start to the season have anything to do with manager Alan Pardew moving two white budgies out of his office to other areas of the training ground including the canteen?’

Even Pardew hasn’t scraped that low into his barrel of excuses.


Recovery man
‘Raheem Sterling might have struggled for fitness during Manchester City’s game against Burnley on Sunday, but he also managed to make it to London for the event at the ODEON’ – MailOnline.

It’s a modern-day miracle.


Breaking news

Strap in for the big one.



That’s the forward for Boavista with three league goals in the last 18 months. Naughty.


Insightful paragraphs of the day

‘It takes a brave man to walk into the centre of Manchester when you are one of the most recognisable faces at Liverpool football club. But Henderson showed no fear as he strolled into the city centre to do some Christmas shopping with his wife Rebecca Burnett.

‘The Liverpool captain knows that should he be challenged by any Red Devils fans, he has the high ground with the Reds currently 10 points and four places better off in the Premier League. Clutching a bag of sweets, Henderson and Burnett looked relaxed as they strolled in the late November sunshine’ – MailOnline.

It’s like we’re there with them.


Headline of the day
‘Better latte than never’ – the Daily Mirror do a good thing with Theo Walcott’s coffee machine story.


Recommended reading of the day
Adam Bate interviews Emre Can.
David Squires on Pardew’s Palace.
Tony Evans on Steven Gerrard.
Thanks to Ian Wilson. Spot anything? Send it to…

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