WEDNESDAY'S BIG STORIES
It might be all over for Jose
Roma executives have met with Jose Mourinho; not to hash out a plan for the transfer window but because the capital club have made a poor start to their Serie A campaign.
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They are eight points worse off than they were this time last year under Paulo Fonseca. Sunday's 4-3 loss against Juventus meant the Giallorossi have now lost nine of their 21 Serie A matches. They are nine points behind Atalanta in fourth having played a game more.
Alas for Mourinho, diminishing fortunes for clubs that he is at the helm of looks to be becoming a pattern.
The Portuguese, it can be argued, has not been the same since his tumultuous tenure at Real Madrid. Granted, he won trophies at Chelsea and Manchester United - a league title at the former and the League and Europa Cups at the latter. However, the allure had gone after the Bernabeu.
And his public utterings seem - to be blunt - dated. The latest, after the Juve collapse, was to berate his side's mentality.
“We were in total control for 70 minutes,” Mourinho said.
“The team played really well and had the mentality of taking control, we came out and started strong. We had this idea of the high press, of controlling the tempo and taking the initiative.
“It was so good for 70 minutes, then there was this psychological collapse. The 3-2 killed us, because Felix had an extraordinary game, which finished with a sprint against Cuadrado. I take him off and his replacement gets it all wrong.
“When we allowed them back in for 3-2, a team with a strong mentality like Juventus, a strong character. The fear set in. A psychological complex. It’s not a problem for me having 3-2, it’s a problem for them. For my team.
At the end of the day, when you’re in the s***, you get back on your feet and find your character. But there are people in this locker room who are a bit too nice, a bit too weak.
“I already told the players, if the game had ended at the 70th minute, it would’ve been an extraordinary performance. Unfortunately, it didn’t end then.”
Two points need to be made here.
- Point 1: Surely if the side he is in charge of has a weak mentality then he is partially responsible for that, and it is his job - literally - to develop a stronger mentality
- Point 2: Berating players' weak mentality is a bit noughties. It just does not work to publicly attack players nowadays. To this observer, it was never a suitable or morally acceptable strategy to motivate players
Mourinho - measured by method or result - seems yesterday's man. Should his tenure at Roma end as a failure and in the sack, it could very well bring his tenancy in the game's cabal of elite managers to an end.
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Why Chris Wood to Newcastle absolutely makes sense
Newcastle are the richest club in the world. The richest club should probably not be signing Chris Wood one might say. One would be wrong. This would represent a very shrewd signing.
The Magpies may - should they stay in the Premier League - be competing with the game's elite for the most expensive players in the world in the very near future. This is not that time. Right now, they need to cobble together a team strong enough to keep them in the Premier League.
Signing Wood - an able forward with a physical presence up front - would weaken a potential relegation rival, complement their prior signing, Kieran Trippier, and add more of a goal threat. It would enhance the chances of them remaining in the league.
It is very much a common-sense signing.
Lorenzo Insigne is a Toronto FC player. His signing is quite the coup for the club and MLS.
So how did Toronto FC president Bill Manning manage to pull off the signing of such a marquee player?
Well, Manning - when contextualised alongside some of the advanced processes at elite clubs - did something rather basic. He went on to Transfermarkt and set the dropdown to Italian players who were coming to the end of their contracts and the rest - via the medium of a couple of agents - is history.
"I actually went to the Transfermarkt website and I looked up the Italian national team on what players were coming out of contract," Manning said.
"And Lorenzo was one of the few players that was coming out of contract. I started writing down players that I thought were world-class, that I thought would have commercial value in this market."
Absolutely glorious scenes.
Completely baffled by the emergence of NFTs in and around football? You would not be alone. The Athletic (£) have done their best to understand and distil what seems like a complete nonsense.
NFTs are digital assets that are bought and sold for large sums of money, just like a piece of art or a football sticker. Some have changed hands for millions of dollars. Critics, however, feel they can entrap less wealthy punters into a frenzied world of speculation and financial risk. The NFT market is completely unregulated.
Eurosport is your home of European football. And, thus, will have minute-by-minute updates of Tottenham v Chelsea and Barcelona v Real Madrid.
Andi Thomas, owner of the grand total of zero NFTs, will be bringing his unique take on all that and more.
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