The blame game
Jose Mourinho has never knowingly taken responsibility for any misfortune that befalls his teams, so no surprise to hear him blaming Real Madrid’s shock 1-0 defeat to Levante on the stupidity of one of his own players and the poor sportsmanship of the opposing players.
As half-time approached Madrid were drawing 0-0 when Sami Khedira, already on a yellow card, pushed the Levante captain Sergio Ballesteros and was ordered off. That moment, argues Mourinho, was pivotal.
“The blame in my opinion lies with one of my players who was lured into a trap,” Mourinho said after the game.
“They have to have enough intelligence to avoid situations like that and have a sense of whether the referee will allow it or not.
“That’s why I have to congratulate Levante for being clever, because they know how to provoke, simulate, not give back the ball, waste time, and that is also part of football.”
“I don’t want to use the word, I am not sure if the word is rude, if it is it’s not my intention but I can’t find another – the dirty side of football, you know: the faking, the provocation, gaining time, not giving the ball.”
So, there you have it: Jose Mourinho complains about the underhand tactics of another team. Satire is officially dead!
Spreading the love
Coming so soon after Barcelona’s 8-0 thrashing of Osasuna, Levante’s defeat of Madrid was a godsend to those who oppose a fairer distribution of television revenue in Spain.
An attempt by Sevilla president, Jose Maria del Nido, to mobilise clubs campaign against the current arrangement which favours the big two, fell on deaf ears.
He had hoped a meeting on Thursday at the LFP’s headquarters in Madrid, attended by officials from Real and Barca, would give fresh impetus to his campaign.
However, Sevilla director general Jose Maria Cruz said the meeting had been “An afternoon tea of pessimists and good for nothings. We only had a praiseworthy defence from Espanyol and (Real) Betis. The rest of those that attended have remained silent as if it wasn’t an issue for them.”
Del Nido told a meeting of one of Sevilla’s supporters’ groups: “It was a day of disillusion, more for the silence than for what was heard.”
Nonetheless, he remains one of life’s optimists and it didn’t take him long to reaffirm his commitment to fairer distribution.
He said: “But the next morning the hope returned and I can say that Real Madrid and Barcelona have zero chance of winning this battle.”
Goal of the day
Luka Modric showed why Chelsea were so keen to sign him with this stunning effort in Tottenham’s 4-0 win over Liverpool.
Miss of the day
You could take your choice for miss of the day from any one of a number of squandered opportunities in Manchester United’s 3-1 defeat of Chelsea.
Setting the tome was Ramires who was set up by Fernando Torres.
That miss was mirrored by Dimitar Berbatov who showed his rustiness after being set free by Wayne Rooney.
Rooney himself joined in with a spot kick that squirmed wide after his standing foot gave way. The watching John Terry knows all about that kind of miss.
But the miss, or The Miss as it will become known was by £50 million striker Fernando Torres. The Spaniard actually performed pretty well throughout, but he will be remembered for this. Every squandered open goal from now on will be known as a Torres.
Worawi Makudi, head of the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) is threatening to sue FIFA over allegations that he had personally benefited from development grants spent on building facilities on land that he owned.
“There have been attempts to defame my reputation via website and anonymous letter which have been sent to the German press. My legal advisory team is gathering information and we will take legal action on this,” he said.
Mr Worawi supported disgraced Asian Football Confederation chief Mohamed Bin Hammam in his bid to usurp Sepp Blatter as FIFA president. I bet he regrets that now.
It doesn’t take much to provoke a crisis at Manchester City. The club dropped their first points of the season on Sunday and already there’s talk of bringing in new players. Imagine how grave the situation would be now had they not spent more money on new players than any other club in Europe last summer.
In the wake of the 2-2 draw with Fulham, coach Roberto Mancini said: “We are lacking at this moment because we lost two midfielders. I don’t have players. I can only change the full-backs. I have only two midfielders, because James [Milner] and De Jong have injuries.”
City will have to wait until January if they wish to strengthen, but every cloud…Owen Hargreaves is back in training.
Valery Nepomniashchy has quit as coach of struggling Russian side Tom Tomsk following a 4-0 home thrashing by FK Krasnodar in a Russian league match at the weekend.
“Today, the coach offered his resignation which was accepted by the club,” Tom said on their website (www.fctomtomsk.ru).
Before any budding manager gets his cv in the post, he should note that the club is based in Siberia and that unlike some clubs in Russia, they are not awash with money. Earlier this year, the players threatened to go on strike after not being paid for several months.
Vote of confidence
Marseille president Vincent Labrune has given coach Didier Deschamps a vote of confidence.
Labrune was forced to speak after Sunday’s 2-0 defeat to Lyon meant Marseille had sunk to the foot of La Ligue.
Asked whether Deschamps’ days were numbered, the president told La Provence: “No, [he] is not threatened. He has the keys here for a long time. We have to bounce back and those who love OM must support him and show their solidarity in these difficult moments. Didier Deschamps retains our confidence.”
The former French international, who led the club to the league title in 2010, has called for the players to show solidarity in this difficult time.
“It happens in a top-level career that you have difficult moments,” said Deschamps. “We must join forces, show character and personality. There are times in a season or a career where it’s difficult. We are all aware but should not drop our heads. This is life and we must do everything to reverse this trend.”
On the move
Nicolas Anelka is set to leave Chelsea at the end of the season. The former French international is in the final year of his deal with the Premier League club, but he shows no desire to sign a new one.
Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas said: “He has a decision to make but I don’t think he is willing to continue here. Nico has indicated to me he might go. We will make efforts to renew his contract but I think that might not be his intention.”
Reports indicate that Anelka has his heart set on a pension-boosting contract in the Middle East.
Wolfsburg have agreed to end injury-plagued Germany defender Arne Friedrich’s contract more than 18 months early, the club said on Monday.
The announcement appears to signal the end of an illustrious career for Friedrich, who has won 82 caps with Germany. He joined the 2009 champions last year, but has played only 15 of 40 possible league games since joining after a string of injuries and a back operation kept him on the sidelines.
“He came to us asking to end his contract,” said team coach Felix Magath. “We regret this and wish him all the best in the future.”