FRIDAY'S BIG HEADLINES
Jose takes aim
It’s not going to be much of a Good Friday at Manchester United. With the disgust of a Daily Telegraph editor/Church of England archbishop/Prime Minister of an actual country who has just been incorrectly informed that Cadbury’s have cancelled Easter, Jose Mourinho’s bottom lip curled and his face curdled as once again – this time after a 1-1 draw away at Anderlecht in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final – he let rip at his misfiring strikers.
"If I was a Man United defender,” he said, living up to his reputation for being a master of mind games by needlessly setting elements of his squad against each other, "I would be very upset with the attacking players because they had to kill the game and they didn't.
I think you have to play more seriously, you put all together the performance of two, three or four of our attacking players, and you squeeze not much juice out of it
Look, The Warm-Up is fully aware that failing to take chances has been a consistent theme of Manchester United’s season. Mourinho may even be right: his defenders may very well be unhappy with some of the young forwards, and an old one too, who didn’t do the business in Belgium. But saying things like this out loud can have consequences, particularly when you’ve spent a good portion of the past month having a pop at the players who are best equipped to turn a deluge of draws into a few wins.
If they were willing to risk ostracisation and a campaign of harassment from a furious Rui Faria, one of Marcus Rashford or Anthony Martial might also want to point out to Jose that United were actually in front before he chose to sub off the former for Marouane Felllaini, who then helpfully watched as the sumptuously named Leander Dendoncker headed in a late equaliser; or the fact that it is Mourinho's responsibility to impart some kind of attacking plan. United will still go though, in all likelihood, as they should be much too strong for Anderlecht at Old Trafford. But the cracks are barely being papered over.
Football takes a back seat again
The instinctive reaction to seeing pictures of thousands of fans pouring on to the pitch before kick-off in the Lyon-Besiktas match was to shudder in horror. After the events of Tuesday in Dortmund, you feared what news would shortly be arriving. And then it was clear: there was no terror operation, just utter morons looking for a fight in the stands and causing innocent football fans to seek refuge on the pitch.
The contrast to the genuinely heartwarming displays of supporter unity we saw earlier in the week were replaced by a far uglier image in a game which Lyon went on to win 2-1 thanks to this howler:
There's a new 'new Ajax' in town
There has been a lot of talk about Monaco being the new Ajax. With a coterie of talented young players, all forged together in red and white and ready to shock the continent, the comparison was an appropriate one. But what if the new Ajax is… Ajax?
Read the full article on eurosport.co.uk: The Warm-Up: Jose goes on the attack again, the new 'new' Ajax, and a golazo from the U.S