Paris in springtime is beautiful Jose

Published: Monday, 16 October 2017

I can’t have been the only one absolutely stunned by Jose Mourinho’s comments Sunday about PSG. ‘In Paris at the moment there is something special’ he said. Adding ‘magic, quality, youth, it’s fantastic’. 

He told us that his son, who lives in London, recently went to Paris to watch a PSG match instead of Manchester, for all of the reasons above. Well - after witnessing what we did from his dad’s team at the weekend, who could blame him? 

Ramon Calderon, the former President of Real Madrid once called Mou (as they address him in Spain) ‘an enemy of football’. I saw that phrase used again this weekend. I saw words like ‘turgid’ and ‘tedious’ used to describe United’s performance at Anfield. I wouldn’t argue with those descriptions but - Mourinho is a serial title winner and had every right to set his team up as he did. He had every right to play as he did. He knows he could easily have won the game. Lukaku spurned a golden chance to do just that. If United win the title this season no-one will remember Anfield. No United fan will care about how dull their team were at Anfield. They know better than most that a title win is pieced together in a series of building blocks. Saturday they laid another block. 

Let’s not pretend that Fergie’s teams ALWAYS swept the opposition away. They didn’t. I can remember many many miserable afternoons at Old Trafford watching ordinary 1-0 wins. I can remember many wonderful afternoons as well, but it’s churlish to suppose a team can perform well every week. 

I was as disappointed as anybody that the game this weekend fell way short of what we hoped for. But we in the media have a lot to answer for in that respect. The ridiculous hype that went into the week preceding the game was way over the top. No match anywhere in the world could’ve lived up to it. 

So for me Mourinho didn’t do a great deal wrong. His priority is to win the title for United this season any which way he can. And let’s not forget the 21 goals United had scored coming into the game. Only City have got more! Entertain when you can - not every week, perhaps ultimately to your cost. Ask Kevin Keegan about that. 

There was another reason for the savagery. City were beautiful to watch again this weekend. They’re playing ‘pure’ football. It’s a dream to watch right now. They’re a joy, but they’ll hit the buffers soon. They’re bound to. I repeat, you simply can’t play well EVERY week. 

Somebody who should be pleased with the way Mourinho set his stall out is Jurgen Klopp. The fact that United took a pasting from the Press masked Liverpool’s inadequacies. Right now they’re simply not good enough. It’s just one win in eight and not at any point in the game on Saturday did they look as if they had enough - or knew how to break United down. They’re way off. 

I thought the criticism Lukaku took in some quarters was way out of line. I’m always surprised when x-pro’s turn so violently on the generation that’s followed them. They should know better. They’ve played. And believe me, I’ve seen many of them play some very ordinary football themselves down the years. They’ve all become world beaters since they retired. 

Lukaku is a class act. He’s had a far bigger impact on United already than his mate Pogba. He is NOT a flat track bully. Ask Evertonians if their team is missing him. 

Lukaku had one big chance on Saturday. He knows he should’ve done better with it. Let’s say he had. Let’s say he’d scored the games only goal. Would that have made him the best player in the pitch? Of course not. The fact he didn’t score doesn’t make him the worst on the pitch either.  

I understand why people say there’s another level for him to go to - and that he doesn’t score enough in the big games. I’ve argued before that up until now he hasn’t played in teams that you’d expect him to get chances in against the big sides. I think he’s terrific. He’ll get plenty of goals in a United jersey going forward and be sure he’ll also settle big matches. Why only criticise him after what we saw? Why not Firmino? I wouldn’t do that either. Neither keeper had a save to make in the second half because chances weren’t created by either side. If you’re not making chances you are definitely not going to score goals. That’s blindingly obvious surely? 

Another word on City - fantastic. They’re a really good watch right now. 

I don’t think Everton’s scrambled draw at Brighton hides their problems. They look scared. Their is something deeply wrong at Goodison at the moment. On reflection perhaps they were never going to be good enough for the top 4, but they should be challenging for the top 6. Where they are simply isn’t good enough. 

Well done Spurs and very well done Palace. I was chuffed to bits for Roy Hodgson. He’s a good football man and didn’t deserve the mauling he got as England manager. I’ll stick my neck out again and say Palace stay up! 

To finish as we started - if Mourinho is indeed an ‘enemy of football’ - if I’m a PSG fan I would propose that we talk to the enemy as soon as possible. Paris in springtime is beautiful Jose!