How best to avoid a hiding with a team he clearly thinks isn’t up to the job

first_img Pinterest The Fiver FAR AND AWAYThe Fiver would give several pennies for the thoughts of José Mourinho as he sits in the suite he has called home for the past two-and-a-half years at the Lowry Hotel. With the thrill of frightening staff by dressing as a zombie using his shower curtain, snaffling complimentary biscuits and tungsten-tipped screws long gone and being able to take apart and reassemble his Corby Trouser Press quicker than a blindfolded soldier field-stripping an AK47 assault rifle, the Manchester United manager has plenty of time to dwell on the vicissitudes of life, not least how best to avoid a hiding against Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday with a team he clearly thinks isn’t up to the job.“Far,” was his abrupt answer, upon being asked on Friday how far Manchester United are away from being the team he wants to play in his image. Asked to elaborate, he could scarcely have been more co-operative: “Far,” he reiterated. He wasn’t done yet, though. Oh no, he’d come prepared with an analogy. Embarking on a lengthy monologue, José explained how football teams are like houses. “A house is not just about buying new furniture, you have to do work in the house and when the house is ready, then you buy the furniture, you spend money on the best possible furniture, and then you are ready to live in an amazing house,” he said, to widespread looks of confusion around the press room. Pinterest Twitter The possibly incorrect consensus seems to be that José was alluding to Liverpool’s massive spending during the summer, although he may just have spent too long in that hotel and be pining for an occasional table, chaise longue and mahogany wardrobe to call his own. Either way, we’re assuming it was a dig at his own chief suit Ed Woodward, who last summer refused to buy him the reinforced stainless steel back door and home alarm system he so craved and instead left him to put Phil Jones on sentry duty, only for the hapless defender to usher the intruders in, make them a pot of tea and then show them where all the valuables are kept.Meanwhile at Anfield, Jürgen Klopp has problems of his own and is kneeling on the carpet, screwdriver in hand and swearing loudly over assorted bits of a flatpack Nathaniel Clyne, now that Joe Gomez, Joël Matip and Trent Alexander-Arnold are all in the carpenter’s workshop in various states of disrepair. “Clyney was unfortunately injured in the last two weeks, nothing serious but serious enough that he couldn’t train,” said Klopp. “Luckily he has been back in full training for the last four days. Is he ready for 90 minutes? I don’t know.” With all available evidence of their performance against Valencia suggesting United will only play for 10, we think he should be OK.QUOTE OF THE DAY“At my first press conference I was told: ‘You know nothing about the players, nothing about women’s football’ and I just thought it was incredibly disrespectful” – Phil Neville gets his chat on with Sachin Nakrani and reflects on a year in charge of England Women and how he plans to lead them to World Cup glory.SUPPORT THE GUARDIANProducing the Guardian’s thoughtful, in-depth journalism [the stuff not normally found in this email, obviously – Fiver Ed] is expensive, but supporting us isn’t. If you value our journalism, please support us. In return we can hopefully arm you with the kind of knowledge that makes you sound slightly less uninformed during those hot reactive gegenpress chats you so enjoy. And if you think what we do is enjoyable [again, etc and so on – Fiver Ed], please help us keep coming back here to give you more of the same.FIVER LETTERS“It’s probably worth bearing in mind that Mike Ashley’s idea of a cash injection (yesterday’s Bits and Bobs) might just have been sending the first team around to help out with a bit of shelf-stacking on the cup nights where Newcastle United are unavoidably not otherwise detained” – Andy Turner.“Yes, Sam Allardyce calling out Theresa May is all very well, but what would he know about underwhelming, saying one thing to one group, another thing to another group of people and then being forced out of his dream job too early?” – Noble Francis.Send your letters to [email protected] And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our letter o’the day is … Noble Francis, who snaffles a copy of Richard Foster’s new book, From an Acute Angle.NEWS, BITS AND BOBSAston Villa have suspended long-serving youth coach Kevin MacDonald from working with players, after a former graduate of the club, Gareth Farrelly, detailed claims of relentless bullying from MacDonald in the mid-1990s to David Conn. Facebook Topics Share on Pinterest Read more Share via Email Share on Facebook Ten! Composite: Getty Images, Rex/Shutterstock, Action Images How will the 16 teams in the Big Cup knockout stages fare? Ben McAleer and Josh Wright make their predictions.Raheem Sterling’s racism ordeal was ugly but the reaction has been positive, writes Eni Aluko.Remember Liverpool 4-4 Manchester United in 1953? Nope? Well, let Scott Murray remind you in this archive Joy of Six on the great rivalry.Oh, and if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!OH HELL YEAHcenter_img Gareth Farrelly. Photograph: Alicia Canter/The Guardian Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp features Reuse this content Share on Twitter Facebook Chelsea face a partial stadium closure if Uefa finds their fans guilty of antisemitic chanting in the match against Vidi in Hungary.Expert in anger Neil Warnock reckons some people get too wound up when they watch football. “These people are so vitriolic,” honked the Cardiff boss. “Some people go to games just for aggro, and that’s been the case forever.”Uefa has given Milan a slap on the wrists and told them they must avoid FFP-knack and break even by 2021 or they’ll be turfed out of European competition as they were on Thursday night, following a 3-1 Big Vase defeat by Olympiakos.Gary Lineker has been criticised by his BBC colleague, former whites-wearing, willow-wielding cricketer Jonathan Agnew, for expressing his political views on social media disgrace Twitter. “I’ll continue to tweet what I like and if folk disagree with me then so be it,” roared Lineker.Bristol Rovers’ search for a new manager continues after introducing Darrell Clarke to the Memorial Stadium’s Do One exit, with Newport’s Mike Flynn linked with the gig. “I was 8-1 on at Shrewsbury and didn’t get the job,” he sighed. “It’s just paper talk again and it means nothing.”And AIK mega-fan Stefan Jonasson had better hope that he’s in good health after forking out £17,070 on an “eternity card”, which gives the 43-year-old access to every home match for the rest of his life. “I have no kids of my own, so in that way AIK has become kind of a substitute,” he cheered.STILL WANT MORE?Our blog on 10 things to look out for in the Premier League this weekend is really getting into the Christmas spirit with talk of supercharged Saints and putting the focus on Jesus. Twitter José Mourinho: Manchester United are far from playing in my image Share on Messenger Footballlast_img

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