Manchester United get green light needed to make Ten Hag call but ‘audition’ fails miserably

Editor F365
Jose Mourinho, Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Gareth Southgate with the Manchester United badge
Gareth Southgate to Manchester United is pretty much done

Sir Jim Ratcliffe finally has the clearance needed to make one huge decision at Manchester United; that Jose Mourinho green light couldn’t come soon enough.

 

Performance art
After the distinct lack of shame displayed in earnestly urging people to watch his interview with Paul Gascoigne and ‘make up your own minds’ instead of focusing on the subsequent clips or headlines – for the small price of £6.99, of course – Jake Humphrey and the High Performance Podcast team might be thrilled to see Ian Ladyman’s ‘true story behind Paul Gascoigne’s problems’ stuck behind a similarly ghoulish Mail Plus paywall.

Just for one second can we not monetise an unwell addict?

 

Sexy football
Perhaps The Sun should start charging for the premium content they offer; this is the headline atop their website as of the peak traffic hours of Friday lunchtime:

‘Brazil football legend Romario, 58, dating mystery beauty 24 years his junior after split from influencer ex-girlfriend’

More updates on ‘the randy 58-year-old dad-of-six’ will presumably follow.

 

Ru the day
The Daily Mirror have the right idea with their website deciding that this weekend’s massive game between first and second in the Premier League, with all the requisite title ramifications and the potential of it being a last-ever meeting between Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola, might be worth some attention.

They do, however, see an open goal and skew their finish wide of the post with this headline:

Dias backs Haaland in Alexander-Arnold row as Liverpool and Man City stars in war of words ahead of title showdown

This just in: Manchester City player agrees with Manchester City teammate instead of the Liverpool player who said Manchester City’s trophies are worth less than Liverpool’s.

Whatever next? Jurgen Klopp says Alexander-Arnold might have had a point? There’ll be fist fights on Sunday at Anfield if we’re not careful.

 

Journey South
The same outlet brings a huge development in Manchester United’s ongoing managerial situation.

Erik ten Hag seems to be stumbling through to the end of the season but it is expected by many that Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his team will replace him with their own man at the earliest suitable opportunity.

And the brilliant news is that ‘Jose Mourinho has already approved Man Utd candidate to replace Erik ten Hag’.

Mediawatch was about to ask why Manchester United need the ‘approval’ of a manager they sacked five and a bit years ago before realising that Manchester United still seek the approval of a manager who left more than a decade ago, but the point stands: why do Mourinho’s thoughts on the matter need to be taken into consideration?

That much is not made clear because Senior Sports Reporter Dan Marsh is too busy recalling something Gareth Southgate said in December:

I was 35 years old when I managed in the Premier League and we finished 12th and 13th. I knew nothing like what I know now. There isn’t a job in world football that would intimidate or daunt you, having lived this one.

I remember talking to Jose (Mourinho) when he was at Man United and he said to me: ‘When you’ve done the role you’re in now you’ll be able to do anything really’. I thought that was probably right, but seven years into it it’s definitely right. I’m confident in this role and whatever might be in the future.

And that is how ‘Jose Mourinho has already approved Man Utd candidate to replace Erik ten Hag’. Without actually talking about Manchester United. And former England manager Jose Mourinho should know how the England job is preparation for ‘anything really’. Even when it comes to someone whose only previous managerial experience in the Premier League resulted in relegation and being sacked about 15 years ago.

READ MOREFive reasons Gareth Southgate would *actually* be good for Manchester United

Southgate Manchester United
Gareth Southgate is among the managers being ‘assessed’ by Manchester United.

 

Blind audition
The Manchester Evening News also weighed in with their thoughts on Thursday afternoon with a rundown of the candidates, culminating in these two final paragraphs of an article which remains prominently placed on the website:

Maybe it’s the Europa League where De Zerbi can truly press his claims for an elite job this summer. Beating a Roma side that has been rejuvenated under Daniele De Rossi will be an impressive achievement and there is the possibility of bigger games to come, with Liverpool, Leverkusen, Benfica and AC Milan among the big European names still in the competition.

The next couple of months in Europe could act as De Zerbi’s audition for the United job, or indeed any big job available this summer. Winning the Europa League would surely guarantee a top club comes calling this summer, but even a run to the semi-finals and a couple of big scalps might push him to the front of the queue for some, including the one that might be available at Old Trafford.

Oh.

Who will be the next manager of Manchester United? Because De Zerbi’s audition didn’t go all that well.

 

That’s my goals
‘ROMELU LUKAKU helped Roma’s demolition of Brighton as he continues to taunt Chelsea. The on-loan Blues striker hit his seventh in eight Europa League games while Mauricio Pochettino’s men remain in dire need of goals’ – Isabelle Barker, The Sun.

Chelsea ‘remain in dire need’ of many things, but goals are not among them. They have scored 26 of them in 13 games this calendar year, and three goals or more in 11 different games this season.

 

Hokey-cokey
The Sun
headline: ‘Klopp’s side have one foot in the quarters after Darwin Nunez stunners’

Charlie Wyett: ‘By then, Liverpool had effectively put both feet in the Europa League quarter-finals with a penalty from Alexis Mac Allister, a Darwin Nunez double and the fourth from Luis Diaz.’

 

Bizarre headline of the day
‘Former Liverpool star wakes up unemployed after having contract ripped up by Championship strugglers’ – The Sun website.

Leaving aside the questionable ‘former Liverpool star’ status of a player who started two of his five career appearances for the Reds about a decade and a half ago under Rafa Benitez, Daniel Ayala’s Rotherham contract was terminated by mutual consent so it is more than a bit weird to imply the news would have caught him by surprise when he checked his phone in the morning.

 

Bizarre headline of the day: the runner-up
‘Ajax 0-0 Aston Villa: Jordan Henderson’s hopes of collecting a ninth major trophy are kept alive after goalless draw in Amsterdam… as both sides finish the match with 10-men after late dismissals in last-16 tie’ – MailOnline.

A match between two former European champions, so the focus is obviously on the status of Jordan Henderson’s hopes of adding to his Community Shield and Super Cup.