Pochettino slammed for ‘utterly ludicrous’ Chelsea decision amid Fernandes ‘injury crisis’
Mauricio Pochettino has been hammered for waiting until the summer to take over at Chelsea instead of starting away at Premier League leaders Arsenal.
Tottenham did well to salvage a draw from their game against Man Utd, particularly after trailing 2-0 at half-time. Ryan Mason undoubtedly elicited an improvement in his players, difficult as that was after they lost 6-1 in their previous match after going 5-0 down in 21 minutes.
So one conclusion can be drawn: Ryan Mason > Cristian Stellini. At the very least as a suitable interim Spurs manager in April 2023, that seems fair.
But Charlie Wyett of The Sun has to take it too far, doesn’t he?
‘So at least Spurs players left the pitch in good spirits although their level of improvement under Mason will properly be tested on Sunday, away to Liverpool.
‘A win there and maybe Mason could get the job for keeps.’
The 31-year-old with no senior management experience in any permanent capacity should get the job if he beats a Liverpool side Spurs are above? As much as appointing proven, born winners has been an issue for Daniel Levy in the past, it doesn’t seem as though doing the exact opposite on the basis of two games is a great idea.
Fun as goals are, the subsequent celebrations are obviously the single most important thing about football. The Daily Mirror website don’t need telling twice, as a headline of ‘Jadon Sancho’s sneaky gesture spotted by fans after scoring Man Utd opener vs Tottenham’ shows.
The ‘sneaky gesture’? Sancho ‘cupped his ear’. Except he didn’t. Not really. He sort of put one finger behind his ear, which is specifically not cupping it. And not particularly ‘sneaky’ either. Semantics, but still.
And how did fans ‘spot’ this? Because he did it straight after scoring. Like players do. And because the cameras tend to focus on players who score in the immediate aftermath of a goal, it was seen far and wide.
It’s almost as if it wasn’t all that ‘sneaky’ if he did it when he knew people would be watching, nor did it have to be ‘spotted’ by some sort of eagle-eyed spy sifting through the footage.
Celebrate good times, come on
You thought the Daily Mirror website was done, didn’t you? Daft, daft, daft. They’re never done.
‘Christian Eriksen makes his Tottenham feelings clear with reaction to Man Utd goal’
It is pretty standard fare by this point: every other Mirror website headline includes some evocative suggestion that someone has ‘made their feelings clear’ on something or other when the actual truth is entirely mundane; this is no different.
‘However, he didn’t go along with the modern trend of not celebrating against his former employers. Jadon Sancho opened the scoring after less than 10 minutes, piling more misery on Spurs after their 6-1 defeat to Newcastle last time out.’
Is that ‘modern trend’ applicable when celebrating a teammate’s goal against your former club, in which you played no part?
‘And Eriksen had no issue with joining the celebrations, greeting Sancho who seconds before had cupped his ear to the home supporters.’
He still definitely didn’t do that. And in any case, precisely how did Eriksen ‘make his Tottenham feelings clear with reaction to Man Utd goal’ by pointing at Sancho? Mediawatch fails to see how that exemplified the respect he likely harbours for his old club.
While we’re here, might as well complete the Daily Mirror website hat-trick with this atrocious headline:
‘Erik ten Hag clear on extent of Bruno Fernandes injury crisis with Man Utd decision’
Is this a) the first ever one-player ‘injury crisis’? And b) the first ever ‘injury crisis’ to literally not sideline said player for a single game?
Bruno Fernandes missed 19 FA Cup semi-final extra-time minutes against Brighton, was pictured wearing a protective boot with a crutch in shot a few days later, then played the whole of the draw with Spurs within the week.
’Injury crisis’? What absolute b*llocks.
Andy Dunn is bizarrely apoplectic at the prospect of Mauricio Pochettino not taking over at Chelsea before the end of the season and instead waiting to start his new post in the summer. Because obviously that’s what he’s going to do, as any sensible individual would.
As Dunn writes in the Daily Mirror:
‘For reasons best known to Pochettino and to the Stamford Bridge ownership, it would appear the Argentine’s new gig is not going to begin until the summer. And as the Chelsea of 2022/23 go from bad to worse to farcical, that is utterly ludicrous.’
Them not yet coming to a formal agreement on terms is just one of many fairly decent reasons, unless you are proposing that Pochettino manage Chelsea without an actual contract? That is utterly ludicrous.
‘For the club’s sake, for Todd Boehly’s sake, for Frank Lampard’s sake, for his own sake, Pochettino needs to be in the technical area for the game against Arsenal at the Emirates next week.’
It feels like ‘for his own sake’, Pochettino probably shouldn’t make sure his first game is away at the Premier League leaders with five days to prepare a team which has lost five matches in a row and hasn’t won in eight.
‘If he is going to accept the job offer, there is surely no sort of compelling reason why he will not be pitch-side on Tuesday.’
There is no compelling reason why he will. Name the last manager whose last successful reign anywhere started in early May with six games of a campaign left. Anyone in Pochettino’s situation would wait until pre-season to take over, when he has longer than a couple of days between matches to work with an absolutely huge, unhappy and disjointed squad.
READ MORE: Pochettino wants to keep one Chelsea player ‘above all’ as he ‘gives approval’ for first signing
And again, there is that very important point of no formal job offer being put forward to accept yet.
‘And considering the problems that have beset Chelsea, why wouldn’t you be desperate to get the arduous task started as soon as possible?’
Because Chelsea are in utterly dreadful form and still have to play Arsenal, Manchester City, Man Utd and Newcastle this season. Why indeed is Pochettino not ‘desperate’ to start his new job in entirely the wrong way by getting routinely battered?
‘In the remaining six Premier League matches, Pochettino would learn a lot about the character of so many players in the sprawling squad.’
Things he could learn over the course of an entire summer without unnecessarily risking getting off on the wrong foot with a load of defeats, you mean?
‘He could see who is up for the fight and who isn’t, who is just there for the London lifestyle and largesse and who isn’t. He could make judgments on who he needs to stay and who he needs to go.’
Things he could do over the course of an entire summer without unnecessarily risking getting off on the wrong foot with a load of defeats, you mean?
‘He could assess the strengths and weaknesses of the squad and, with the summer transfer market in mind, could advise Boehly accordingly. And goodness knows, Boehly can clearly do with all the sound football advice he can find.’
Things he could… ah, you get the idea.
‘It is excruciating to watch and listen to Lampard as a Chelsea legacy that seemed tamper-proof becomes tainted by his managerial disasters with the club. Lampard needs to get out, Pochettino needs to get in.’
That is really not Pochettino’s problem. Quite the opposite. The worse Lampard does, the better Pochettino potentially looks when he does come in. Might as well let the man he is replacing keep lowering the bar.
But apparently the Argentine needs to ‘show he means business’, ‘show he does not think this group of grossly under-performing players should be allowed to have another unofficial month off before they go on their official holidays’, ‘show he intends to put a rocket beneath them’ and ‘show he believes it is important for Chelsea to finish this season on some sort of upturn’, which is an awful lot of showing. And an awful lot of nonsense.
To be Frank
Mike Walters of the Daily Mirror is far more concerned about the man Pochettino would be replacing:
‘And although Boris Johnson will pass a lie detector test before the patrons of Fulham Broadway turn on Lampard, he needs to get the hell out of a shambles, leave Poch Spice to clear up the mess and rebuild his reputation at a club with more sense than money.’
It feels like some Chelsea fans might already have turned on Lampard, who is plenty complicit in this ‘shambles’ considering Bruno Saltor did better in his one interim game than he has in five.
As for that last bit, if Lampard is looking to ‘rebuild his reputation’ then a club with any sense at all is probably out of the question for someone who has won one and lost 16 of his last 19 games as a manager.
And yes, we are ignoring ‘Posh Spice’.
Roll the Dyche
In the interests of fairness, Everton are not faring much better under Sean Dyche than they were with Lampard at the helm. And Mark Irwin of The Sun fears for them.
‘Everton are rapidly approaching the end of their life as a top flight team after 69 years as part of the football establishment,’ he writes.
‘Sean Dyche’s team now have just five games left to save their bacon and it’s almost impossible to see where the points they need are going to come from.’
Things are bad but they play Leicester, Wolves and Bournemouth before the season is out. If it’s ‘almost impossible’ to see them getting points from those games then you aren’t looking hard enough.
‘But it leaves the tortured Toffees marooned in the drop zone and needing a minor miracle to repeat last season’s great escape from relegation.’
Granted, they’re in trouble. But they are two points from safety with a run-in that is hardly imperious. Getting a few points against the teams in 13th, 14th and 18th would perhaps even be unexpected at this stage but certainly not exactly ‘minor miracle’ territory.
What a difference a Che makes
Southampton, on the other hand, are surely done. But Isabelle Barker of The Sun reckons it all swung on a late disallowed Che Adams goal against Bournemouth.
‘Jaws hit the deck when it seemed as though Adams could have saved Saints’ season by the skin of their teeth with a rasping shot, but party pooper VAR chalked it off on 88 minutes as the forward was a fraction offside.’
Would it really ‘have saved Saints’ season’ to be five points from safety instead of six with five games to go?
Also, that’s a strange way of describing VAR getting a decision right.
Keeping up with the Jones
‘Man Utd’s forgotten star Phil Jones spotted making cameo role in TV drama Succession’ – Daily Mirror website.
‘Man Utd outcast Phil Jones spotted making unexpected cameo in hit TV show Succession’ – Daily Star website.
‘Forgotten Man Utd star Phil Jones spotted in shock cameo on hit TV show Succession’ – The Sun website.
Did he make a cameo? No. Was he playing in a game which was on a TV in the background? Yes. Was the footage far too grainy to ascertain whether he was actually on the TV at any point in the show? Yes. Does it matter? Click.
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