Can I please speak to the manager?
It has been quite the week for Neil Custis. After actually turning up on time for his flight to Seville – but being charged £2.80 ‘for a cup of hot water’ – he has made the back page of The Sun on Friday. Hurrah.
‘Whose name is on the manager’s door?’ reads the headline, with a picture of Paul Pogba and Jose Mourinho deep in conversation. Custis begins:
‘JOSE MOURINHO told Paul Pogba ‘I’m the boss’ in a furious training-ground showdown.
‘The Manchester United boss asked Pogba to “have a look at the sign on the door on the way out” — after heated talks in his Carrington office.
‘The meeting ended with Mourinho telling the club’s £89million record signing to look at the sign saying “manager” on his door — in case he was in any doubt who the power belongs to at Old Trafford.’
‘Whose name is on the manager’s door?’ No-one’s. Just the word ‘manager’, apparently.
Custis even has an opinion piece on the situation at Manchester United. The article itself is perfectly fine – until he reaches the final paragraphs.
‘Sometimes, however, you need to make a statement for the greater, long-term good.
‘Sir Alex Ferguson always did, with legends like David Beckham not immune from the axe.
‘It would be interesting to know what Fergie would have made of Pogba’s rapidly changing hair colour, social media videos, emojis etc…
‘All this is fine when you are doing it on the pitch. When you are not, it looks like a distraction.’
A few points:
- If you find a footballer using ’emojis etc…’ distracting, you are probably the problem, not them.
- Pogba’s hair colour isn’t ‘rapidly changing’. He dyes it blonde every now and then, and has had it red once or twice. He doesn’t have a f***ing chameleon atop his head.
- His hair colour bears literally no relevance with regards to his form or quality.
We can’t stress that last point enough.
Incey, wincey pundit
Paul Ince is here to set the record straight.
‘On Wednesday, the evidence to me showed that Manchester United were just not good enough against Sevilla,’ Ince writes in his column for Paddy Power. ‘Because it was 0-0, people will say it was a typical Jose Mourinho masterclass, but I don’t think that’s the truth. They were awful.’
All those people declaring it ‘a typical Jose Mourinho masterclass’ sure are quiet now. Thanks, Paul.
‘They had one shot on target, whereas the Spanish side had plenty, and had they have been a little more ruthless in front of goal, the tie probably would already be over. You can’t sit there and say that it was a great performance by United, because it just wasn’t.’
Yep, fair enough Paul. We get the point.
‘United have the advantage heading into the home leg, but the away goal is crucial. If Sevilla come to Old Trafford and get ahead, which is possible when you see some of the defensive errors that were made, then you have to wonder how they’re going to suddenly outscore the Spaniards. They didn’t look like they were capable of even scoring one last night.’
Look Paul, just stop there. We understand what you’re trying to sa…
‘For all of that, what I would say is that if there is one manager that can secure a Champions League win, it’s Jose Mourinho.’
Let’s at least hear Ince out. We’ve got this far, after all.
‘I wonder whether he’s setting United up to be a bit like the German national side, where they’re quiet in the early stages of the competition and when it gets to the quarters, they turn it on.’
Germany beat Portugal 4-0 in their first game of the 2014 World Cup, which they won.
Also, if this truly is a Mourinho tactic, he might have been advised to ‘turn it on’ a little sooner in the Premier League if he wanted to win that.
In the Daily Mail, Martin Samuel is taking aim at fans who declare themselves ‘real’ based purely on the fact that they go to games. ‘There is no such thing as a real fan,’ he writes. ‘If you pay your money and go, it does not make you less real to disagree with the majority.’
Which is fair. But his first paragraph is not.
‘Not the largest group, probably, but there will still be some Newcastle fans who think Mike Ashley is doing a pretty solid job.’
We’ll wait for them to ring in.
Elsewhere in his column, Samuel makes another fair point:
‘If Real Madrid are serious in their pursuit of Thibaut Courtois it can mean only one thing – they have given up trying to buy David de Gea. Courtois is good, but De Gea is great.’
Sure. But calling Courtois ‘higher maintenance’ elsewhere in his column, a claim based entirely on him ‘frequently talking up his links to Madrid,’ is a bit weird.
Surely he’d probably be a bit lower maintenance if he’s actually there?
Elephant in the Roon
David Anderson has a full-length interview with Wayne Rooney in the Daily Mirror. It is an interesting read. It is just a shame that Mediawatch could only make it to the second paragraph before bursting into laughter.
‘Wayne Rooney says he is relishing the pressure of having to prove himself all over again at Everton.
‘The lifelong Blues fan had his pick of clubs after leaving Manchester United this summer.’
You’ve already got the interview. There’s no need for extra lip service.
Remember when Raheem Sterling bought his mum a house, and ‘OBSCENE RAHEEM’ became front-page news in Britain’s best-selling newspaper?
If not, this should jog your memory.
Thankfully, that selfish, pampered boy Sterling has not had the gall to buy any other members of his family a house. Until now.
‘Manchester City star Raheem Sterling surprises sister by buying her new house for 27th birthday,’ reads the headline on The Sun‘s website. It is not until the second paragraph that we are told of Sterling’s wages. Which is longer than usual.
Is it alright to purchase houses for family members now then? Not just ‘extravagant’? We really must update our cribsheet of what ‘certain’ footballers are allowed to spend their money on.
Writes Mike Walters in the Daily Mirror:
‘Javi Gracia has warned Abdoulaye Doucoure to stop daydreaming of a big-money move this summer and focus on helping Watford to safety.’
And here is Javi Gracia:
“I do not know if there are big clubs interested in Doucoure or other players, but if there are clubs interested it is because they are playing well. I am only interested in them playing well.”
Do you think he might drop him this weekend?
Dyche another day
‘Burnley have suffered yet another season-ending injury – to manager Sean Dyche. The Clarets chief “heard something snap” in his thigh as he threw balls to his squad during a training camp in Portugal’ – The Sun.
His ball-throwing technique needs some work. Sorry for the mental image.
Recommended reading of the day
George Caulkin interviews Steve Bruce.
Andy Dunn on Gary Cliffe, Steve Walters and more.
Adam Crafton interviews Lewis Cook.
Manchester United v Chelsea preview: Head to head record, prediction and odds.