Keep­ing a lid on emo­tions can be eas­ier said than done

Western Morning News - - Football -

What­ever you say about Jose Mour­inho and the drama that seems to sur­round Manch­ester United at the mo­ment, their Cham­pi­ons League come­back at Ju­ven­tus on Wed­nes­day was im­pres­sive.

I’m not sure about Cris­tiano Ron­aldo’s cel­e­bra­tion, ever so slightly self-in­dul­gent, but af­ter the for­mer Red Devil had scored the opener I hon­estly thought it was a guar­an­teed win for the ‘Old Lady’.

United’s vic­tory has again been over­shad­owed a fair bit by the cel­e­bra­tions and the re­ac­tion from Jose.

I have no idea what Juve fans were say­ing to him through­out the game but pas­sions run high and he couldn’t re­sist a lit­tle dig back at the fi­nal whis­tle. His win­ning of the tre­ble at fierce ri­vals In­ter Mi­lan, and putting three fin­gers up af­ter the re­verse fix­ture, hasn’t helped the cause, but it’s hard some­times not to bite back at fans, as much as it is wrong.

With Manch­ester City also win­ning ,it looks good for our sides in Europe once more. I know Liver­pool had a shock loss to Red Star Bel­grade but I still be­lieve they will progress to the knock-out stages.

As much as Wed­nes­day’s win was im­por­tant for Jose and Manch­ester United, it must be dif­fi­cult for the red half of the city to han­dle their noisy neigh­bours’ con­tin­ued suc­cess. A 6-0 de­mo­li­tion of yet an­other vic­tim at the Eti­had.

For any­one who has watched the Pep Guardi­ola doc­u­men­tary, ‘All or Noth­ing’, the at­ten­tion to de­tail on and off the pitch is fan­tas­tic. Vast pots of money have helped but the way he sets up his teams and the way his play­ers per­form is un­ri­valled, re­ally.

It was a great in­sight into a top foot­ball club and man­ager but it was also nice to get to know the play­ers, for fans to be able to see what they do in their spare time, to see that they are nor­mal ev­ery-day lads, just with ex­cep­tional tal­ent, and ridicu­lous bank bal­ances.

I think the fact that John Stones, Ra­heem Ster­ling, Phil Foden and Kyle Walker have been such big in­flu­ences at the club, and spoke so well in the doc­u­men­tary, made it even more en­joy­able.

There were two big talk­ing points af­ter the Eng­land squad an­nounce­ment – the in­clu­sion of Wayne Rooney and AFC Bournemouth’s Cal­lum Wil­son.

I re­ally think ev­ery­one needs to calm down about Rooney’s role. He has been an ab­so­lute star for club and coun­try over a long pe­riod of time. The most caps and the most goals for his coun­try, and peo­ple are moan­ing about him get­ting 15 min­utes to say farewell and to thank the fans for their sup­port.

Any­one who has a prob­lem, please get a grip. Jour­nal­ists and pun­dits alike, please ac­cept it is sim­ply a ges­ture of good­will. Can’t we ever just look at the pos­i­tives? If it sells more tick­ets and raises more money for worth­while causes then even bet­ter.

Per­haps ask play­ers in this squad, pre­vi­ous squads, or fu­ture squads, and I’m sure al­most all would back the de­ci­sion 100 per cent. Why? Be­cause they would know what it takes to be that con­sis­tent and de­ter­mined.

Get off your high horses and cel­e­brate his achieve­ments. His de­sire even now, in Ma­jor League Soc­cer, has high­lighted his work ethic and his will to suc­ceed.

For Cal­lum Wil­son, it is a fit­ting re­ward for a player who has had to be­lieve in his own abil­ity and who has fought back from some pretty de­bil­i­tat­ing in­juries.

I am also de­lighted for Ed­die Howe and for the club. They have over-achieved in that league for three years now and it is down to sheer hard work on the train­ing ground. Sim­ple as that.

I have to quickly in­ter­ject at this point to say that, while pen­ning this week’s col­umn in a cof­fee shop, I have just bumped into a for­mer Ar­gyle player who will re­main un-named for fear of em­bar­rass­ment or un­wanted in­clu­sion. Even though he has been re­tired from the game for over 20 years, he still misses it, the rou­tine, the ban­ter, the ca­ma­raderie, the buzz of play­ing. It was great to have a chat for 10 min­utes about the old game, the modern game and the fu­ture game.

Fi­nally to­day, when it is go­ing for you, it is cer­tainly go­ing for you, and Ra­heem Ster­ling’s stubbed-toe penalty in­ci­dent was such a bad de­ci­sion from the ref­eree it was ac­tu­ally com­i­cal.

Pep Guardi­ola was prob­a­bly right when he said the player should have called to the ref­eree to say that it wasn’t a penalty, but it is hard as a player to know what to do when you ei­ther think you have been brought down or are not sure.

VAR, I hear you say. I also hear us all say, what about the £10 we found ly­ing in the street or the ex­tra item that goes through the check-out at the su­per­mar­ket, or the wrong change be­ing given back – more not less? What about telling the truth? Well, they are only teensy weensy lit­tle white lies, aren’t they?

Jose Mour­inho winds up Ju­ven­tus fans af­ter Manch­ester United’s UEFA Cham­pi­ons League win in Turin on Wed­nes­dayIS­ABELLA BONOTTO/AFP

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