Good night, tough night
Evidently, nobody talks to each other at the Daily Mail.
On the back page we have a headline of ‘TOUGH NIGHT, LADS’ as Chris Wheeler writes that it ‘wasn’t the best of nights for Manchester United’s two superstars’ Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez. He writes that the ‘real star’ was David De Gea.
On the inside back page we have Jack Gaughan’s player ratings in which De Gea is given a 9, Sanchez a 6 as ‘he dropped deeper and deeper to try and affect the game’ and substitute Pogba a 6.
So far, so united.
And then we have Chief Sports Writer Martin Samuel who writes that ‘this was a good night for United, in many ways’. Sorry, what?
‘A clean sheet, the beginning of the rehabilitation of Paul Pogba, who came on as a 17th-minute substitute and improved the team, another furiously energetic display from Alexis Sanchez.’
As for De Gea, he ‘made one brilliant save, another very good one and a handful he could have claimed in his sleep’.
A Pog’s life
We then turn to MailOnline to find their latest take on the Paul Pogba situation…
‘Paul Pogba’s struggles were highlighted on Wednesday night as pictures emerged of Jose Mourinho giving him detailed tactical instructions before sending him on in the goalless draw with Sevilla.’
Yes, because nothing highlights the ‘struggles’ of a player than their manager giving them instructions.
Oh and ‘pictures emerge’? We all saw it on the bloody telly.
Willian, it was really something
The Sun’s Andrew Dillon’s attempt to paint Willian as a ‘bit-part footballer’ who is treated harshly by Antonio Conte would have benefited from some basic research.
Hammers fan Dillon writes:
‘He is all too often the fall guy, the bloke who makes way or sits on the bench waiting patiently for a nod to go and do his stuff.
‘The feeling inside Stamford Bridge is that manager Antonio Conte grew frustrated with Willian because of his relatively poor defensive commitment. Team-mate Pedro was seen as a better all-rounder who can also play as a wing-back and who puts in more of a shift.
‘And when your boss is a workaholic, it is hard graft that catches his eye, not flamboyant football and dizzying feet.’
Pesky facts: Willian has played more Chelsea minutes that Pedro this season. In fact, only ten Chelsea players have played more than this ‘bit-part footballer’ and his 2,163 minutes.
Talking of ‘bit-part players’, the Daily Mirror’s David McDonnell took the unusual step of seeing Paul Pogba’s name on the bench for only the second time this season and writing about how much more trust Jose Mourinho holds in Marcus Rashford. Yes, that’s the same Marcus Rashford who has been on the bench 18 times this season.
It’s a long time since Mediawatch did A Level Maths but we are pretty sure 18 is still rather more than two.
‘Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford occupied the bench last night – but the careers of the two appear to be heading in opposite directions.
‘While Rashford has been involved in all but three of Manchester United’s 40 games this season, club-record £89million midfielder Pogba seems to have lost Jose Mourinho’s trust.’
This is just bizarre. Paul Pogba has indeed only been involved in 23 Manchester United games this season, but he was injured or suspended for 16 other matches and was allowed to miss the FA Cup clash with Yeovil. Rashford has indeed played more football than Pogba this season, but he has been available for a hell of a lot more football.
‘Pogba suffered the indignity of being among the subs for the second time in the last four games for which he has been available, a damning indictment of how he is currently viewed.’
And Rashford has been among the subs six times in the last eight games for which he has been available, but this is apparently a show of faith rather than a ‘damning indictment’. Something really does not add up.
‘But the fact Pogba was demoted to the bench, although he did come on after 17 minutes to replace Ander Herrera, suggested Mourinho does not currently trust the France star to deliver when it matters. For Rashford, it is a different scenario, despite finding himself among the subs again, having started just two of United’s last eight games for which he was available.’
So he DOES NOT trust the man who played 73 minutes and he DOES trust the man who played 15 minutes. This is making Mediawatch feel dizzy.
‘With the World Cup on the horizon, Rashford may not be starting as many games as he’d like, but seems to retain the trust of Mourinho, unlike Pogba, who faces an uncertain future.’
Mediawatch suspects that McDonnell did not enjoy seeing Pogba coming on after 17 mins, having made up his mind and written half a piece after the team news broke.
‘Scott McTominay: I’m not giving up my Manchester United spot to Paul Pogba’ – Daily Star.
Opening line from Chief Sports Writer Jeremy Cross: ‘SCOTT McTOMINAY has no intention of giving up his place in the Manchester United side to superstar flop Paul Pogba.’
Actual quotes from Scott McTominay:
“Obviously it’s so important for me to repay the manager whenever he puts trust in me in these games.”
Wooooah. It’s going to be really sodding awkward the next time Pogba and McTominay come face to face.
Quit your nonsense
‘Lionel Messi: Neymar must QUIT football to escape Barcelona star’s shadow – Thierry Henry’ – Express website.
‘Neymar should change sports if he truly wants to escape Lionel Messi’s shadow, insists Thierry Henry’ – MailOnline.
‘Thierry Henry offers brutal advice to Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar – and it’s all because of Lionel Messi’ – Mirror online.
”Neymar should change sport’ – Henry tells PSG star how to escape Messi shadow’ – Goal.
Couple of things…
1) He actually said it last year so it’s not strictly news.
2) He was joking.
How do we know?
— Thierry Henry (@ThierryHenry) February 21, 2018
The most damning thing is that nobody really gives a sh*t as long as people are clicking.
Misleading headline of the day
‘Jose Mourinho does something incredible after reporter asks him about Scott McTominay’ – Daily Mirror online.
Incredible? He doesn’t even w*** him off.
Bell-end quote of the day
“I can’t believe some people. I’m one of the greatest minds in football and I’m wasted because of a lack of experience or maybe he talks his mind too much” – Sol Campbell.
Recommended reading of the day
Rory Smith on the Champions League.
Paul MacInnes with Les Ferdinand.
James Ducker with David Wagner.