When even Man City fans are cheering Man United on…

Date published: Thursday 7th March 2019 9:43

Send your thoughts to theeditor@football365.com

 

And blast
On behalf of pretty much everyone, may I just say:

Damn.
Aidan, EFC, London

 

Bottlers
Calm down, lads; it’s only PSG.
Daniel (not getting carried away) Cambridge

 

Do comebacks count if they are against PSG?
Mel – Berlin

 

I think you’ll find that PSG have demonstrated what ‘bottling’ is.
Stu, Southampton

 

PSG are probably now the great bottlers in Europe.
Maurice (that look on Neymer’s face is priceless) Uyo. Nigeria. 

 

Even the neutrals were United
Seriously, I don’t think i’ve cheered United on since the treble thing (Arsenal, Germans… all that)

But that was superb tonight – take that you cheating french /  badly behaved foreigners – seriously , how despicable was PSG’s behaviour tonight?
David (roll on the quarters) Almond

 

I simply do not exaggerate when I say that Rashford’s pen was the first time, in my entire life, that I have cheered a United goal.

I was exhilarated and then disgusted at being exhilarated but then, overall, pleased at the result.

God help me.  That’s my football soul down the pan then.
Mark (I feel soiled) MCFC

 

Dear Ed,

After PSG beat Liverpool earlier this season I wrote in to say:

‘Has there ever been a bigger bunch of tw*ts collected together in one football team than at PSG? Is it the raging sense of entitlement built up through bullying the French league over a number of years or is this the natural conclusion of footballers becoming more unlikeable?’.

And so to last night and I found myself happily cheering on United as they put that look on poor wee Neymar’s face. Could not have been a better way for PSG to be dumped from the only trophy they actually compete for – a genuine team of world class bottlers.

I wonder how Julien Laurens will defend his beloved PSG on various podcasts this week?

Glorious.
Lindsay, Dublin.

 

I cannot believe how good a performance that was from Utd. they deserve so much credit for their resilience and commitment. For me, man of the match was Smalling by a long shot but picking just one seems unfair. I thought Solksjaer had made a mistake going to 541 with half an hour to go but fair play it worked out amazingly!

A word on PSG. I am sure they will claim to have been harshly treated but they ought be be starting their inquest into how so many talented players created so little over 90 minutes with so much of the ball. After utd plugged the gap at right back they seemed to be completely lost. the best teams move the opposition around to create gaps (City being a prime example). PSG simply provide the ball to one of their superstars and expect magic. Which is why they will continue to disappoint on nights like this.

Cracking night and I really hope we don’t get Utd in the quarters!
Steve THFC (That Rashford pen…)

 

1) I’m a City fan, but give OGS the job. However people think he is doing it, he is giving United the one key thing that they have lacked since Fergie left- Belief. There may be better tacticians out there, and managers that have won far more trophies, but right now United just need to feel good about themselves again. OGS delivers that in buckets. And he’s really hard to dislike.

2) The attitude towards Lukaku over the last year is a lesson in how quick people are to give up on a player. Remember when he was useless and needed selling?

3) Who was it who said earlier that PSG will never win the CL? I don’t know about that, but they look no closer to their goal than they did 5 years ago. They really have no ability to keep their heads and see out a tie, no matter how many superstars they bring in.

4) No intention of stomping on United fans’ celebrations. I doubt they will give two hoots over the penalty call … but VAR, come on, this is ridiculous! Exactly the same as the Otamendi call a couple of weeks ago. It took WAY too long to make the decision, and it was another awful one. Owen Hargreaves said it right. They need some football people on the panel. Refs are apparently seeing these handballs as deliberate. They are so far removed from the reality of how the game is played on the ground, it’s ridiculous. Is there a single actual ex-football player who thinks the defender had the chance to move his hands away in time for either of the two calls. The key word is ‘time’. Refs are so obsessed with slow motion replays. If they are judging time, why refuse to watch it at full speed?

5) Apparently it is set to get worse, as the word ‘deliberate’ is going to be removed from the handball rule. I don’t care if it is easier for refs to interpret. Why not send shoppers who accidentally forget to pay for something before they leave a shop to jail while we are at it? It would be so much easier for the police to do their jobs if they don’t have to determine intent. For starters we’ll be having savvy players just kicking the ball at defenders hands instead of at you know, the goal. After all the goal has half a dozen players blocking the way, but hands are everywhere. Secondly, the punishment for accidental handball in the box is massively out of proportion with the ‘crime’. If they do change the law, why not make it a free kick instead?
Nic (Great match though!)

 

Dear MC,

I am so utterly consumed with jealousy right now. Never have I been jealous of Liverpool, Citeh or Chelsea (and certainly not Sp*rs). But, wow, fair play United. If only we could find a similar spark of inspiration at Arsenal.
Jazgooner

 

Hell of a performance from United.  I may hate them more than any other team but that was gutsy, enthralling entertainment and ultimately hilarious. Fair play.
Aidan, Lfc (magnanimity means we should get past Bayern right?)

 

Give him the sodding job
Absolutely stunning! I cannot believe what I’ve just seen. What a result, beyond anything I could have reasonably hoped for. I’m shaking writing this, this is what being a football fan should be like!

Give him the frickin job already!
Ted, Manchester

 

I have never ever seen anything like that game in my life. Yes there was luck there and my nerves are I’m absolute shreds but my god Ole was up against it with all of those injuries and the Pogba suspension and he’s only gone and pulled it off. Ed if you are reading GIVE HIM THE F##ING JOB NOW!!!!

I’m away for drinks and a lie down. Sacking off doing any work tomorrow. GGMU!
Davos 

 

Yeah I know he ain’t British, so let’s give him the citizenship first.Then the MBE and the job in that order.
Gaurav MUFC (Performance worthy of a Queen)

 

I don’t know what Solskjaer has done, I really don’t care in all honesty, but I had totally written that game off tonight. Completely. But his side depleted side, with four 18 year olds on the bench, have just come from two away goals down in the home leg, to beat PSG in Paris and progress to the next round. Remarkable.
HarryB

 

Utd have just knocked out PSG with a midfield 3 of McTominay, Fred and Pereira. Ole really is some sort of magician, give him the job already!
Ashley Hoggarth (Blackburn)

 

Can we please sign Ole up now, before Real Madrid come calling,
Carl (Dazed and Confused) Oldfield MUFC Southport

 

And for dessert…
Tonight boys, we feast on Neymar’s salty tears..
Lee (Schadenfreude for the sh*tehouses), LFC

 

I’ve just had to inform my partner that Ole’s now on my list.

1) Kate Beckinsale
2) Beyoncé Knowles
3) Margot Robbie
4) Thandie Newton
5) Ole Gunner Solskjaer

Sorry Gal Gadot, you’ve been dropped.
Mark Danger Endicott, MUFC

 

Dear Ole,

Would you like to have my child to raise better than I can? Please. I love you x
Dave, Manchester 

 

Or don’t
Yes Solskjaer should be the permanent Manchester United Manager. No the club should not announce it yet.

It appears the players are putting in effort and “playing for” Solskjaer at the moment. You might even suggest they are giving their best in the hopes of convincing the board to appoint him full time. Why take that away early? There is a risk that once you announce Ole has the new manager the players won’t feel the extra motivation to convince the board of his merits.

A counter argument is that once Ole is appointed he can start his plans for next season. Simple fix “Ole can we have a quiet word? Come into my office. Keep this to yourself. We’re going to appoint you permanently, but not announce it for a few weeks….”
Hugo (NUFC) Adelaide

 

Ole Gunnar Leicester
F365 rightfully praised OGS after that, frankly, quite incredible result last night against PSG, and I agree he deserves praise for what he’s done. But is it just me or is this alllll looking a bit like Leicester City winning the title? So much has gone ‘for’ OGS (that penalty being a prime example) even when things are going against him (injuries):

Last minute goal against Southampton (despite playing well)
75% conversion rate against Palace
Liverpool’s forwards having an off day (despite the defence playing well, especially Shaw)
Beating Leicester despite being a very even game. Leicester had 6 shots on target
Last minute goal against Burnley to equalise (despite playing well)
Tottenham’s usually reliable forwards leaving their shooting boots in the dressing room

But most surprising and out there of all is that 3-1 against PSG last night. Kehrer’s blind pass for the first goal was absolutely horrendous, Buffon’s handling of the second goal was bad which was another gift, although as I’m a paid up member of the goalkeeper’s union he’s not to blame too much. The penalty was…debatable, and would almost certainly never be given as a penalty without VAR, and even with VAR I think a lot of referees wouldn’t have given it.

But most fortunate of all was what happened to Eric Bailly. Starting him at RB when Ashley Young is on the pitch and Dalot was on the bench was an appalling situation. My wife got absolutely bored with me going on about how bad he was, because it was one of the worst defensive performances I’ve ever seen. He managed to make two mistakes for the PSG goal within 2 seconds for goodness sake. And I think this is what shows how ‘5000/1’ Solskjaer’s reign has been, because if he hadn’t got injured and substituted in the first half, would OGS have had the guts to substitute him off? I very, very much doubt he would have, and we would have almost certainly conceded again. But no, he gets a kick on his foot and limps off, allowing OGS a get out of jail free card to rectify his mistake and solidify our right side. Dalot was fantastic after coming on and really helped shut down that flank.

Now, I’m loving all the wins and the positivity, and last night was a fantastic result, but I just…don’t see how this can last. Just as Leicester now ‘wallow’ in mid-table after their magic seasonm, I cannot for a second see us carrying on this form next year or the year after.

Solskjaer has outperformed any expectation, but he has had an extraordinary run of luck, and I think it would be a mistake to give him the permanent job over Pochettino (assuming Poch will come to us as well).
Calum (Dalot looks like a real class player), MUFC, Wokingham

 

Jonjo Pogba
As a Man City fan I’d just like to say how much better a side I think Man Utd are without that glorified Championship player Pogba. Last night proved Man Utd have plenty of grit and determination without him, nor do they have to worry about crowbarring him into the team, an issue which plagued Mourinho since Pogba arrived, although admittedly less so recently.

Pogba is just a luxury player with an eye for the occasional pass…..ten a penny in today’s game with many far more talented in my opinion and available for a hell of a lot less.

Not to mention he also seems to be a somewhat disruptive character, fair enough if you are a player of exceptional standards, but when you’re basically the French version of Jonjo Shelvey….I think Man Utd should start building the team around someone better.

Especially when Bernardo Silva costs you £46 million less!!!
Marc, Bolton.

 

The biggest takeaway
Hopefully the game in Paris is just the inspiration that Mike Paul and the Diamond lads need for the second leg.

Just belt it at their arms!
Matt, MCFC, Brum (unsure of how these multiple time lines work)

 

It’s up there
1999 was clearly the greatest club football season ever for anyone who has a soft spot for United.

And was 13 at the time.

Patrick Vieras precision pass to Giggs in the FA Cup semi leading to Giggs destroying an entire Arsenal team while the 9 other United players watched in stunned disbelief before he wrecking balled a shot through David Seaman, then for the final crescendo off to the Nou Camp for the utter, impossible perfect insanity of “AND SOLSKJAER HAS WON IT” after 90 minutes of despair at the unbeatable Germans ruining it for England again.. it was all just.. perfect. So so perfect.

Then there was the agony of Fulham losing in the UEFA final, knowing that we were never, ever going to have this chance again. And that was perfect too, in its deep despair and the certainty that this was the end of an era.

And then there was last night.

United have been impossible to like for half a decade. The depressing reality of United as a dull side with grimdark lack of style crushed the life out of all of us, however much we all pretend to love United failing. David Fucking Moyes. Fellaini. Van Gaal. Mourinho, actually letting Mourinho run United. Schweinstieger. Sanchez. The triumph of sticky, slow mediocrity and ancients way past their best dragging us all, supporters and haters alike into depression with them.

But last night.. I woke up again, as if escaping from a cloying heavy dream. I knew going into the game that I had to watch, that United would give the impossible a chance to happen.

And then the match was thrilling, a poor United side punching and punching and running and fighting, Lukaku rampaging like a bull on heat, Rashford flickering like a muscular stiletto, insane tactical choices being swiftly made right, and all the while a sense of the wildly impossible being completely inevitable.

Then the terrifying perfection of the wait for VAR for the penalty. In stoppage time. Heart pounding in my chest, leaning forward so close to the screen, waiting waiting.. then the joy and instant agony of knowing it would come down to one kick.

Leaping around the room screaming like the kid from 1999 again when Rashford wrecking balled his shot through Buffon. United hanging on with literal children on the pitch for the last few eons of the match.

I mean.

God DAMN.

It’s in the top 3 football moments of my life.

United aren’t yet a good team, but f**k me they are United again, and I’m so glad they’re back.
Tim Sutton.

 

More thoughts
I can see it now, reaction to United’s win in Paris will be one of two things:

Complete, unbridled, partisan joy – which is fair enough, it was a memorable night.

Joyless and laden with ifs and buts – which is fair enough, United certainly rode their luck.

And you know what, both are fair enough. But the reality is this United team had no right to beat PSG away by the two goals they needed to. Whether it’s Lukaku pouncing on the back pass – and he still had work to do – or the Belgian rolling the dice and following in Rashford’s long ranger, credit to doing what none of his opponents had the wherewithal to do.

And on the penalty, VAR or not, I’ll say only this: “I’ve seen ‘em given.” Was it harsh? For sure. But that’s the game. Perhaps, after six years, Manchester United and the UEFA refs are even for Nani’s sending off against Real Madrid. Swings and roundabouts, eh.

Under Jose this is a Club that went to Brighton and West Ham and got bullied by the occasion, such as they were, and the opposition.

What Ole has returned is a sense of belief to the Club, its fans and, crucially, the playing group. Night’s like this live long in the memory and the tournament is better for it when the big boys roll on and set up more high stakes, knock out ties.

Bring on the quarters and, potentially, four English teams in the last eight!
Sean Peter-Budge

 

Now that I’ve finally calmed down, some conclusions:

1. Where else to start but Ole: he simply has to get the job. I have felt sure for a few weeks now but now I am adamant that there is no other viable candidate worthy of any consideration. What he has done to and for this club is barely believable after the last five years, so how could he not get it? Even if it turns out to be a mistake, he has more than earned the right to try.

2. The players, almost without exception, were impeccable. They dealt with everything PSG could muster – which, admittedly, wasn’t much despite all their possession – and they reacted well to every tactical tweak made by Ole. There were some out there who have barely played this season but you wouldn’t know it.

3. The exception being Bailly, who had an absolute shocker. I don’t know whether it was entirely due to injury or if it was just tactical but his removal was the moment the game changed. I know he was playing in a slightly unfamiliar position but it’s not like he was asked to go in nets or anything; he made playing right back look like the most difficult job in the world. He has previous for this, so it’s a bit of a worry and maybe he will be a casualty of summer spending.

4. Special praise must go to McTominay, who has deputised for Matic impeccably, to the point that the young Scot(t) deserves to keep him place for a while longer. He wasn’t what you would call spectacular but you don’t really need a DM to be; he read the play and disrupted their attacks well, and used possession intelligently when won. He has come on leaps and bounds since he made his debut and it’s great to see another youngster make his mark for United, especially in such a huge game.

5. Lukaku also deserves a lot of credit, not just for scoring a vital brace, but for the manner in which he scored the first. It would have been so easy to have gone down in the box, playing for the penalty and red card (I can think of a certain Brazilian who definitely would have done so), so it was great to see his determination to stay on his feet and to score. Also, the consolation of Kimpembe was a classy gesture.

6. Speaking of Neymar, the fact that he has reacted so emotionally adds a dose of irony to the mix. One of the games most infamous cheats being so upset about a bit of luck going against his team is absolutely delicious.

7. And on to the penalty: it’s a really tough call. The is zero doubt that it hit Kimpembe’s arm (his back? Pull the other one, Neymar) but the question is whether it’s deliberate. Obviously I’m biased but I have to say it looks like it is; he has a long look at it and moves his arm out away from his body before he turns, making himself big the instigate the contact. It’s subtle but exactly the sort of thing that players routinely try to get away with. Of course, if that goes against us then I would be furious but that’s fine margins for you. It also goes some way to redressing the balance from the first leg, when Kimpembe shouldn’t have even been on the pitch to score, and should have been subsequently suspended for this game.

8. But when all is said and done, PSG had 180 minutes to put that tie to bed and didn’t manage it. They knew the risks of not extending their lead and couldn’t finish the job, so this was always on the cards with just one more goal needed to put them out. The tie was in their hands and they let it slip. Again.

9. Just a couple of non-football points: what the hell was going on with the camera work last night? It was bizarre. They kept lingering on the players contesting a header after the ball had gone, they kept showing replays of really odd moments, and it detracted from the spectacle somewhat. Then there was the PSG crowd singing. Is it just me or did they only have one song? I mean, I hate football songs at the best of times but they really needed to change their tune. Literally.

10. So we are now in the draw for the next round, and I can genuinely say that I don’t care who we get. Obviously there are some more difficult ties than others, but I don’t see why we should worry too much about any of them. If we can pull off that result with 10 injuries then why should we fear anyone once we have a few more back? And I couldn’t have imagined saying that a couple of months ago. Watch us get Barca now.
Ted, Manchester

 

Ole Di Matteo
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is gonna win the champions league with Utd, isn’t he?

After watching Utd tonight the similarities between Solskjaer and Di Matteo become so much clearer.
Take over a team in need of some loving? Check
Overturn a deficit in the CL most (if not all) thought they couldn’t? Check
Play surprising well against some of the big boys? Check

If he doesn’t get the job after tonight then wow.
Dave, London

 

The problem with VAR
VAR turns grey areas to black and white. That’s why it will never work. Ref sees ball hit arm in slow motion, knows the world is watching and takes the easy and probably only option.

Football rules are largely about interpretation and context. It takes a brave man to apply context when presented with pictures which show facts. There were no appeal from the players, dugout, terraces and likely watching tv public.

A slew of ex united players say no penalty yet the referee is faced with ‘facts’ – ball his hand in box and awards a penalty. Give me instinct, context and interpretation compared with slow motion replays that provide no way for refs to make the correct decision.
Maurice, Dublin

 

If the calls tonight were reversed to give penalties, could VAR not be used on 99% of corners to award penalties?  This has been incredibly soft.
Peter, cape cod USA

 

6th March 2019.

The date united fans lost the right to ever complain about VAR.
Martin Ansel

 

The penalty was just
Oh my freaking God, that was glorious. I support all the English clubs in Europe, and I haven’t been so excited since Didier Drogba buried the winning penalty in Munich.

As for the handball, that is EXACTLY the sort of call referees should have been making for years. If you deliberately put your arm in a spot that makes a block more likely, it should be a penalty.

In fact, judging from the remarks from IFAB on the recent rule changes, it’s the sort of thing that will be a penalty from now on. David Elleray commented that the position of the defender’s arms will have to fit a ‘natural silhouette.’ That’s pretty imprecise, but the most logical interpretation is that the arms will have to be at the player’s side. I’m all for it.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA   

 

 


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