Keeping a lid on emotions can be easier said than done
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