What a mis-judged storm

Published: Monday, 11 September 2017

What a load of fuss over something that was so obvious. Sadio Mane had to go off. And let me say straight away - that is not an 'anti-Liverpool' verdict. It's a simple fact and Jon Moss should be applauded for the decision he made - and the calm manner in which he made it. I've said it already a couple of times and I will again, I think our officials are having a really good season so far, although I'm sure Mike Jones' guv'nors will want a quiet word, because Matt Ritchie should also have seen red!

A couple of things on the Mane sending off which my beINSPORTS colleague Andy Gray mentioned on Saturday. Mane definitely knows Ederson is coming for that ball - that's why his foot is so high, and why he's trying to nick it over him. And here's a thought, what if the situation had been the other way round and Ederson had flattened Mane? Exactly. There would've been calls for the keeper to have been arrested for assault!

Very simply, Mane's challenge met all the criteria for red. The law states clearly that a tackle or a challenge that endangers the safety of an opponent, or uses excessive force or brutality, must be sanctioned as serious foul play. I've really no idea how anybody can argue that Mane was unlucky.  One last word on the incident - if Liverpool were convinced they'd been hard done by they would've appealed. They haven't because they would lose.

But it's what happened after the sending off that stunned me. Liverpool fell apart. They were better than Arsenal at Anfield a fortnight ago, but only just. They went onto concede four goals in a total capitulation, yet there was no screaming from the rooftops his week about their attitude. Some of the criticism that followed that Arsenal performance was a disgrace. Look - it was poor and I said so myself, but when it gets as personal as it did - because Arsene Wenger is an easy target and not a 'pundits' favourite, it's totally wrong.

As good as Liverpool were on that day - and I said in my last blog that it was difficult to judge them in some ways because Arsenal were so poor, the same can be said of City this week. They ripped Liverpool apart with some scintillating football - as good as I've seen under Guardiola - but they were certainly helped by a totally inept opposition. Incidentally, Liverpool can't hide behind the sending off. As my old mate Jan Fjortoft correctly pointed out on Twitter, Freiburg got a man sent off after 29 minutes against Dortmund at the weekend, but still got a goalless draw. And how many times have we seen 10 men win a game like that?

As I write I notice that Frank de Boer has lost his job at Palace - no surprise there, but is their miserable start all down to de Boer? No, of course it's not. I like Steve Parrish a lot, but the Palace owner has got to take his share of the blame. He wanted to take his team in a different direction and that's why Palace went for de Boer. He was only doing what had been asked of him - trying to 'soften' them, but he had no chance. He needed time to achieve that and as we know, there isn't much of that in the modern game. De Boer also needed a whole set of different players and patience from a Palace crowd that like their football raw. None of it was possible and Parrish must've known that when he made the appointment. The bottom line is this - wrong man at the wrong club.

Slaven Bilic is likely to be next - but I'm not convinced he'll be too bothered. He's recently sounded like a man trying to get the sack. You don't ever take owners on and expect to win that battle. As Parrish has just shown, the power lies in the Boardroom. A manager is simply a hired hand.

The Toon got a well deserved result at Swansea. What a terrific captains performance that was from Jamaal Lascelles. What I liked most about it was the way he celebrated on the whistle showing just pure joy and pride. It's not often we see that on a football pitch these days. 

I'll close with a few words about Sean Dyche. What a terrific and hugely underrated guy this is. He's worked miracles at Burnley and is a rare beneficiary of a commodity I've already mentioned doesn't exist much - time.

It would've been easy Burnley to sack him after their first unsuccessful season in the P Lge, but they knew the quality of the guy they'd employed and backed him. Dyche got Burnley back again, settled and now, as they showed at Chelsea on the opening day, they can compete with the best.

Dyche keeps it simple. He knows what he's got and gets the best out of it. He made a profit in the last transfer window whilst making his team stronger. Burnley have got themselves a terrific new training ground and a future as a result of careful planning and knowing what they're good at. Mr Parrish take note!

I love big Sean. He's a cracking guy and deserves a whole lot more recognition than he gets. Could he do it elsewhere - at a bigger club? Sadly he'll probably never get the chance, but of course he could. It's a myth that continental coaches have a secret manual that our guys have never seen and that's why they get all the top jobs. Sadly I don't see things changing any time soon, but the more guys like Dyche make an impact the more helpful it is for British coaches. Keep making a storm big man!