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Is Mourinho more Neil Warnock than Jurgen Klopp?
Yesterday we saw Mourinho at his best. Not so much on the pitch, where his team were a bit of a shambles, especially in the first half – a thousand miles away from the super-controlled Porto, Chelsea and Inter times that built his fame.
But everything else was great. The Eric Dier run; the talking at Lamps; those post-match interviews. I don’t miss him at United, but I’m happy he’s still around: what a character.
Now, not everyone agrees. Many are – perhaps understandably – tired of Mourinho’s act. But, interestingly enough, the people who seem to have more time for Mourinho are the old brigade.
People like Sam Allardyce or Steve Bruce or even Paul Merson – it feels like they are more comfortable with mr. Special One than they are with, say, Klopp or Guardiola.
There’s an undercurrent of xenophobia behind a lot of punditry in English football, and I believe some managers get a lot of stick from some quarters of the press for being foreigners. That includes Mourinho’s countrymen NES and, particularly, Marco Silva.
But Mourinho seems to have gone beyond that; he’s One Of Us now, a part of Ye Olde English brotherhood of gaffers as much as Big Sam, Nigel Pearson or Neil Warnock. He seems to deliberately shun the tactical innovations of his main rivals; he revels in a gruff style of man-management that seems more 1920 than 2020; his antics don’t seem as outrageous as they were back when he joined English football. He’s become the Premier League’s cranky uncle.
And I spent the two first paragraphs of this praising him. Not sure what that says about me. Oh well.
I read your 5 reasons Liverpool won’t win the title. It was banterific nonsense which sometimes is what you need. Number one is the league is cancelled. The Premier League have announced that if the league stops the placings will be decided on a points per game basis.
This means that each loss is going to be magnified as there isn’t the chance to make up for it later in the season. Plus factor in how local lockdowns might affect how many games can be played with many prem clubs coming from areas under lockdown or on the watchlist and there may not be many games played, or at least a consistent number or difficulty.
Take Man United and their embarrassing loss at home to Crystal Palace. Now we know that Ole needs more time. All the time even. He can have all the time. No rush Ole. Manchester missed the first game week because of lockdown. Usually that’s a game in the bank. You can think about that game hopefully and half count it as a win. Not any more. That game may never be played, that win may never be earned. The loss now means more. Its not 1 loss in 2 but with a game in hand so maybe 1 in 3. It is now 1 loss in 2. Every game that doesn’t get played makes that loss more important to the points per game score.
You couldn’t afford to lose games if you wanted to beat Liverpool or City. The last two seasons have proven that. Now each loss is magnified. I don’t know if that means we’ll get more attacking football, its pretty goal heavy already. But if you want to win this league, you cannot afford to lose any football games. You cannot look to games against the bottom half teams for your points as they may not happen. You can’t come back stronger. You can’t wait for 427 new signings to bed in over the season.
I’m sure that there is one out there but can you publish/link to a points per game table. United will go up the table from 14th to 8th where they belong but until the last game is played in May, that’s the table that matters.
Alex, South London
Us Liverpool fans have been far too traumatised over the years to accept your tongue-in-cheek five reasons we won’t win the league so we will just carry on regardless with our boring Jordan Henderson ‘early days…one game at a time’ thing thanks very much. As for ‘Ennui’ didn’t he used to play for Arsenal?
Sorry, Michael, Ireland
Kiss my face
Just wanted to say well done sir to Dave Tickner for getting a reference to Steve Coogan’s seminal “Man Who Thinks He’s It” Video into his column on why Liverpool won’t win the league.
Yours, Philip Doust
Reading Matt steads article klopp vs Guadiola… Interesting that Matt chose to associate the current flop Pep with the current success klopp…I think it makes more sense to associate Pep with the failings of Mourinho.. Has pep lost his mojo… I always thought He was one of the greats now I’m not sure… Has he just been great at spending money… Spent alot of money at Man City to dominate the Carabao Cup…alot of managers can win the league with Man City… How many can win it with a club burden with 30 years of failing… At Barca did he get lucky with Messi and anyone can win the Bundesliga with Bayern… personally I would be able to keep them from relegation…I might even keep them in the Top 4 (maybe … my German is not great)…anyone can win it with Bayern,how many can win it with Dortmund… Point is he has failed many times and with all the Guadiola Bumkissing… Its difficult find a true reflection of his career.
I know that the handball law is being debated quite a lot recently, but there are a couple of things I would like to suggest. While the tweak suggested by Andrew, LFC, Johannesburg this morning makes a lot of sense, why stop there? If we are ever going to change things, I say we look at everything and not just the sanction.
For example how can a team be punished at all for a ball that hits a player’s arm/hand while their back is turned? Or when they have been fouled and are falling to the ground? Or when an attacker simply aims the ball at defender’s hand/arm deliberately? (you may have guessed that I’m a Spurs fan!)
I feel that the actual ‘spirit’ of the game needs to be remembered here…the handball law only exists in the game to prevent someone using their arm/hands to gain an advantage…so if it is indeed an accidental handball (e.g. the defender did not even see the ball hit him), then does it not go against the spirit of the game (and the law itself)?
To me, it’s simple…any infraction on the field should be judged (using technology or not) by applying a simple rule…only find the player guilty of the offence if there is evidence to suggest the infraction was deliberate and done to obtain an advantage…this includes; elbows, fouls etc, as well as handball. Basically, what I feel has been forgotten by the rule-makers (and some of the fans) is the spirit of the game and the REASON a rule exists….apply common sense to every decision and we need not argue about using technology…or even the rule itself!
To me, it’s all about how a rule is implemented (in football and in life), get the implementation wrong and every rule is up for debate/questionable…but if we get it right, the rules will be more readily accepted and even respected, as they are in sports like Rugby!
One final thought, VAR does have some problems (again, implementation) but I’m starting to think of VAR as a catalyst for change….not the technology per se, but the laws of the game…if VAR forced us to re-examine every rule and how it is applied, then VAR is a wonderful thing….if not, then it is another way for incompetent and/or corrupt officials to ruin our beautiful game!
Andrew goonerabroad brown should possibly watch some arsenal fan TV if he wants too see a bunch of tossers.
In your little red mist moment you think I claimed that was the toughest start ever when I was clearly referring to this season. I don’t think the claim of hardest start was unfair at all.
They also might be the bestest team ever but I don’t say that. I’ll tell you what – you tell me how to celebrate and properly enjoy a team that Ive supported for 30 years and has won every major trophy in the past two years and I’ll tell you how to f**k off.
Ruben Diaz? Yes, please
In January this year, I sent a mail in along the lines of not knowing what Arsenal’s Pablo Mari was like as a centre back, but my god he’s a handsome man.
Well, yesterday I clapped eyes on Ruben Diaz for the first time. Heart Eyes emoji. Amiright?
Top notch Mediawatch
The irony of Mediawatch tearing apart newspapers for reporting on City’s defence budget, and including such luminaries as Pedro Porro & Yan Couto, to only then print an article highlighting the large figure and including the above stalwarts. Top notch!