We all know how difficult it is to defend the Champions League crown. Only Real Madrid have managed it (twice) and I played in a Manchester United team that reached consecutive finals. So Liverpool’s exit wasn’t a surprise to me, especially as they were up against an Atletico Madrid team and manager who have an impressive record in this competition.
Under Simeone, Atletico have a particular way of playing and it works for them. Liverpool’s attack threw everything at them at Anfield, but in the end defensive mistakes cost the home team. Maybe Liverpool’s concentration wasn’t as it should have been and they obviously missed their excellent goalkeeper, Alisson Becker. But I wasn’t surprised that Atletico beat them.
Simeone right to stick to his methods whatever Klopp says
Jurgen Klopp was wrong to criticise Atletico for being defensive. It’s up to Simeone what style his teams play and he doesn’t have to listen to his critics. Liverpool knew how Atletico would play but still couldn’t beat them.
Simeone’s style of play has done very well for him, transforming Atletico into Champions League finalists (twice), and they have threatened to break up the dominance of Barcelona and Real Madrid in La Liga. He’s made Atletico a real force so nobody should blame him for sticking with his methods.
He’s been linked with Premier League clubs many times, including Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham. Those three clubs have different traditions and it says a lot about Simeone’s success that he could be considered a candidate to manage for all three. When he eventually leaves Atletico, he’ll be in demand but wherever he goes, he’ll take his style with him and bring in players that suit his system.
I don’t know if Fernandes and Pogba can play together
Bruno Fernandes’ ball into Odion Ighalo for the first United goal against LASK was the perfect assist. What a pass. Oh my god. And what a finish from Ighalo. It was a world class goal, I was so happy for both players and jumping out my seat when it hit the net.
Fernandes has quickly become an influential player for United. I’m pleased and impressed by how well integrated into the team he’s become in a short space of time. His teammates are looking for him with the ball because they know he can create magic. He looks happy to be playing for United. I really hope he continues in this form.
As a fan of Paul Pogba, I want him to stay at United, I think it would be best for him, but I am curious to see how he will link up with Fernandes. They’re similar players, both intelligent enough to think three steps ahead when they’re on the ball. Sometimes footballers are too similar to play together. But I hope that’s not the case here because, with Fernandes and Pogba in the same midfield, United could be a very imaginative team that would surprise opponents next season or even sooner.
Judge Mourinho on next season
Against Leipzig, Spurs were completely outplayed. As a Spurs fan it was difficult to watch, but are people seriously saying Jose Mourinho should be sacked after just four months as manager?
There’s no need to panic. The suspension to the Premier League means Mourinho has time to think over strategies and get players back from injury. I thought Mourinho was a good choice to replace Mauricio Pochettino. I still have faith in the Portuguese and believe any head coach deserves a full season to bring in his players and implement his philosophy. Judge Mourinho on next season.
The injuries to Harry Kane and others have been very unfortunate but Spurs still have quality throughout their squad. Sometimes I get the feeling that some players are not playing for the team and are trying to take the glory for themselves. That can ruin goal-scoring opportunities. Spurs should try to release the forwards quicker on the counterattack.
Small details make all the difference in football and the players have to take responsibility for results. All Mourinho can do is prepare them because once they’re on the pitch it’s up to them. It’s going to be a long journey for Spurs under Mourinho and they shouldn’t give up on him yet.