‘OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER turned his hairdryer on for the first time as Manchester United boss after the 2-0 defeat by PSG’ – Neil Custis and Richard Moriarty, The Sun, February 15.
‘FURIOUS Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told his Man Utd flops he aims to get rid of HALF the team’ – Neil Custis and Richard Moriarty, The Sun, May 15.
‘OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER branded his Manchester United flops a ‘joke’ in a furious dressing-room rant’ – Neil Custis and Richard Moriarty, The Sun, September 4.
‘OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER told his flops that they were ‘embarrassing’ him after Manchester United’s defeat at West Ham’ – Neil Custis and Richard Moriarty, The Sun, September 25.
‘OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER survived a humiliating Carabao Cup KO – but only after his Manchester United flops were taken to penalties by minnows Rochdale’ – Ken Lawrence, The Sun, September 26.
Paul Pogba: *Breathes*
The Sun: pic.twitter.com/fVWsW9jTp6
— Football365 (@F365) September 26, 2019
It makes less sense the more you look at it. ‘As Frenchman doesn’t take penalty’ is just a sensational aside.
The best part of it all? That the pre-penalty-shootout headline (The Sun had to make sure they were top of Google for ‘Pogba’, after all) began ‘Solskjaer snubs Pogba…’.
‘Snubs’ him by giving him a full 90 minutes to regain and prove his match fitness. Righto.
The Daily Express are in on the act, too.
‘Ole Gunnar Solskjaer suggests he blocked Paul Pogba from Man Utd penalty against Rochdale’
Does he? Does he really? Does the manager of Manchester United really ‘suggest’ that he ‘blocked’ a player from taking a penalty in a League Cup third-round shootout against a League One club?
‘Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed everyone [sic] of his Manchester United players wanted to take a penalty against Rochdale – meaning he told Paul Pogba to sit out the shootout.’
Considering he didn’t name anyone in particular, he also ‘blocked’ Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Axel Tuanzebe, Marcos Rojo, Brandon Williams and Sergio Romero from taking a penalty.
Oh, and a manager cannot possibly tell any player to ‘sit out the shootout’. What would he have done if Rochdale hadn’t missed? Forfeited?
Most bizarre opening paragraph of the day
Same website. Same theme.
‘Manchester United legend Roy Keane’s biggest gripe with Paul Pogba is his inconsistency in performance, claims former Birmingham manager Gary Rowett.’
What even is that?
Obviously, the issue with all these stories is that they aren’t based entirely on social media posts made by faceless Twitter accounts with just over 2,000 followers and #PogbaOut in their bio. So thank the lord for the Daily Mirror and their stunning work.
‘Man Utd fans react to Paul Pogba not taking a penalty in Rochdale shootout’
Phew. We were starting to worry about what @WhyAlwaysLukaku really thought of a player who was not designated as one of the first five to take a penalty in a shoot-out. It turns out this World Cup-winning Champions League finalist ‘bottled’ taking one. Against Rochdale. In the third round of the League Cup.
Yet that is somehow not the biggest story of the day on the Daily Mirror website. Nope. Top at lunchtime is this doozy instead.
‘Neville livid after being bombarded with prank calls… and it’s not the first time as Carragher claims he knows two of the culprits!’
A brief return to Pogba now – the last one, we promise – as Neil Custis has his say for The Sun.
‘Pogba looks the part, sporting another in a long range of dyed haircuts. This one with a red flash.’
Oh boy. Where is this going?
‘Unfortunately that star quality does not transfer to the pitch for United once the first whistle goes.’
What ‘star quality’? Why does dyed hair imply ‘star quality’?
‘In his defence you have to wonder at least sometimes whether the lack of quality around him makes the Frenchman look bad.’
Hold on…some nuanced thinking. This is strange.
‘For example last night he played two through balls and one cross to the far post that brought sarcastic cheers from the away fans. They looked over-hit. Or was it not that he was putting the ball in the right areas but players like Tahith Chong could not read them.’
Has Neil evolved?
‘There was no defence when he headed over the bar after making a good run to meet Greenwood’s 34th-minute cross.
‘Or when he blasted miles over with long-range efforts.
‘It never seemed to happen when he was at Juventus – as a quick look on YouTube will tell you.’
Full games, in-depth highlights, analysis and research is indeed for hipsters. But why does Pogba have a blue tick next to his name?
Just discovered that Neil Custis asking why people have blue ticks is a thing. pic.twitter.com/ooVvhmqrLO
— Kristian (@vonstrenginho) September 25, 2019
Laboured intro of the day
‘Liverpool CEO Peter Moore claimed the Reds are “back on their perch”.
‘And an MK Dons keeper named Moore blundered to ensure the European champs avoided a third straight Carabao Cup exit at the third-round stage.’
Mediawatch has but one question for The Sun‘s Charlie Wyett: are ‘very Spursy’ Liverpool still ‘choking’?
Writes John Cross in the Daily Mirror:
‘They have a new, top-class stadium but chairman Daniel Levy runs a tight ship and the summer pursuit of Juventus star Paulo Dybala was never really close.’
Ah, fair enough. Although, you do have to wonder why the following headline appeared on your employer’s website on August 8.
‘Paulo Dybala ‘close to Tottenham move’ before transfer deadline’
Exclusive of the day
‘Jurgen Klinsmann wants to take over as Tottenham manager if Mauricio Pochettino walks out on the club’ – Daily Mail.
So that would be ‘unemployed manager whose last coaching post ended with his sacking by the United States in November 2016 wants job for which he is horribly under-qualified’.
Mediawatch wants to take Mila Kunis to dinner if Ashton Kutcher walks out on her (to pitch for the Tottenham job).
Headline of the day
‘Hoever plays, Klopp still wins’ – Daily Mirror.
Silence is golden
— Man United News (@ManUtdMEN) September 26, 2019
Quite how he managed to maintain his ‘silence’ for that period between leaving the pitch and being asked questions at a post-match press conference is a mystery. Amazing restraint for a mere teenager.
Recommended reading of the day
Barry Glendenning on the Europa Conference League.
Jack Lang on Gabriel Martinelli (£).