TUESDAY’S BIG STORIES

Manchester United win 0-3 to Tottenham

Human beings are fragile, fallible things. Reality is a fluid construct. Who knows what really is, and what really isn’t. Your own eyes can very easily deceive you. It’s a confusing world out there, and Jose Mourinho knows all of this, and he’s here to help you. Because although you might have thought you watched his Manchester United side embarrassingly lose 3-0 at home to Tottenham on Monday night, he’s here to reassure you that, actually, United won.
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We work all week, and by the strategic point of view we didn’t lose, by the tactical point of view we didn’t lose, but we lost the game.

Jose Mourinho, Manchester United manager

Image credit: Getty Images

There you go. If you choose one form of reality, then United lost. But if you choose another form of reality, the one in which Jose Mourinho imagines that everything he did was entirely correct and it was just the pesky players who didn’t quite carry out his genius plan, then United won. It’s just a choice really. It’s up to you.
Obviously, Mourinho wasn’t done there. On his way out of his post-match press conference, he said:
Do you know what was the result? 3-0. 3-0. Do you know what this means? 3-0. But it also means three Premierships, and I won more Premierships alone than the other 19 managers together. Three for me and two for them. Respect, respect, respect …
Really, if you ever wanted evidence that a manager is stuck in the past, that his methods have been left behind and his time at the top is done, it’s not just referring to things he’s done in the past, but also calling the division something it hasn’t been called for 11 years.

Also, Tottenham played last night

Maybe Mourinho’s outburst at the end there was another of his classic tactics to take the attention away from his failing players and act as a lightning rod for criticism. It succeeded in some respects if so, and unfortunately it did take the attention away from an absolutely terrific second half performance from Tottenham.

Lucas Moura, Harry Kane - Manchester United-Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League 2018/2019 - Getty Images

Image credit: Getty Images

You’ll no doubt be aware that Spurs didn’t even score in their previous three league appearances at Old Trafford, so to win this one 3-0 was impressive. Lucas Moura was relentless and rewarded with two goals, Dele Alli displayed a few of the flicks and tricks that signal he’s back to something like his best, and even though Harry Kane looked a long way off the pace for most of the game, he scored a wonderful header, so who really cares about the rest?
Afterwards, Kane said:
That’s massive, to come here and win the way we did is a big statement…That’s the only way we’ll win the league. We haven’t started well in previous years, we’ve had to play catch-up, but the top six are so strong now you have to stay with them.
The better Tottenham play, the closer they can get to challenging for the title, the better for the rest of us. So godspeed Spurs, keep on going.

England try to ‘poach’ Declan Rice

It’s fair to say one or two Irish fans got a bit giddy with the performances of Declan Rice, West Ham’s midfielder/centre-back, when he played for them recently. It’s not massively surprising given the relative paucity of options available to Martin O’Neill, but now might cause some significant wailing and gnashing of teeth, given that he’s wavering about whether to represent the Irish further.
Rice was left out of Ireland’s latest squad, and O’Neill admitted the English were trying to nab him:
He is still deliberating. He is a young man. England have spoken to him. He is taking time to make his mind up. He has done brilliantly for us. I’m giving him a little bit of time.
Rice was born in London, to English parents, so it wouldn’t exactly be the most outrageous thing if he switched. But oh, the wailing. Oh, the gnashing.

IN OTHER NEWS

And they said managers can’t really influence the game these days. Arges Pitesti boss Emil Sandoi sought to poo-poo that theory, and then some.

HEROES AND ZEROS

Hero: Son Heung-min

Two more wins. That’s all Son Heung-min needs to skip military service. It hadn’t been looking good for South Korea in the Asian Games, 3-2 down and heading out of the tournament to Uzbekistan in the quarter-finals, but Hwang Ui-jo completed his hat-trick to take things into extra-time, and in the closing minutes Hwang Hee-chan had a penalty to win it.
As you can see, Son could barely look, and you can understand why: should South Korea win the tournament, he will almost certainly earn an exemption from the mandatory military service all under-28 men must complete in the country. That would take him out of the game for a whacking great 21 months. 21 months! Sweet mercy. Go on, my Son.

Zero: Simon Mignolet

This is through no fault of his own really, but it looks like another season of frustration and bench-warming for Simon Mignolet, who will not be allowed to leave Liverpool on loan, as they need him to play back-up to Alisson Becker. Loris Karius was loaned to Besiktas, and it’s fair to say Mignolet wasn’t too impressed. He said:
I find it bizarre that Karius was loaned while I also had options to be loaned, but for some reason that was not possible. The transfer of Karius doesn’t change anything for me. I have always been clear: I want to play. Being No 2 or No 3 makes little difference. Playing minutes is the most important thing. Nobody has said anything to me after the departure of Loris. So I don’t know what my future at Liverpool is. We will see what happens this week.

HAT TIP

United are launching a new pink away kit on Tuesday, which is appropriate given that they have become a pale imitation of their former self under Mourinho. The same could be said of the United manager, who needs to focus on making the present and future as good as the past he is so determined to remind us about. But the words and messages coming from Mourinho do not suggest he knows which direction he and his team are heading.
Want more Mourinho? Here’s ESPN’s Mark Ogden with a rundown of the calamity.

RETRO CORNER

Twas on this day in 1994, when a fresh-faced, boy wonder Robbie Fowler scored a hat-trick in four minutes and 33 seconds against Arsenal. Those of us old enough to remember will tell you we all thought this kid was going to be the greatest striker England has ever seen. He didn’t quite manage that, but he’ll always have this, at least.

COMING UP

Open your gullets, and pour down some delicious Carabao. It’s the Carabao Cup tonight, and boy are there a lot of games: 21 in total, including Wimbledon v West Ham, Southampton v Brighton and whole bunch of others you could take in if you really, really wanted to.
Tomorrow’s Warm-Up will be brought to you by Alex Chick, who genuinely can’t get enough Carabao.
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