TERRACE TALK: Man United - Too early for any opinion other than ‘wait and see’

Last time we spoke, three weeks ago, I glumly previewed: “Chelsea, Liverpool, City, and Fenerbache are all eminently loseable propositions; any repeated slackness would surely condemn us to another ‘cracked badge week’, as Fergie called them...”

TERRACE TALK: Man United - Too early for any opinion other than ‘wait and see’

Well, you’ll soon know whether any of the downmarket titles have had their graphics department busy with the badge overnight, after yesterday’s fiasco at the Bridge.

It’s easy to be wise after the event but none of us was really looking forward to Sunday, despite the successful previous matches against the dirties and the turkeys. The whole afternoon had the terrible dread air of a major social event at which both a man’s previous and current wives are going to be in attendance, together with some resentful abandoned children.

For the second wife, dressed in red, the afternoon’s always going to be about other people’s psychodramas that simply have to be silently endured. You know the first wife is going to be dressed, plucked, and Botoxed to kill, pulling out every stop.

“Seen what you’re missing, you bastard?!” she’ll yell across the room after one chardonnay too many. The horror, the horror. And then Chris Smalling drops a tray of drinks, and it’s all downhill from thereon in.

There will now be days of debate, with the United-obsessed millions dividing into their well-established pro- and anti-Jose camps. It’s all painfully predictable. One side will claim we have now been “found out”, that Jose is a busted flush who was irreparably broken a year ago, and that Pogba/Zlatan/A.N. Other-Scapegoat will never be right for us.

The other will talk of works-in-progress, errors merely being individual not systemic, and ‘bad days at the office’.

Who is right? How should I know? Or you, for that matter? My answer to all these outbreaks of early autumn argy-bargy is always the same, as it was when Van Loony and Poor David hit similar bumps: Wait and see. It’s too early to be building scaffolds, just as putting four past champions Leicester did not warrant Jose being fast-tracked to knighthood. After all, it would seem that even His Holiness Saint Pep of Guardiola & Gorton is allowed to let four goals in from time to time without being decanonised.

Moreover, let us not forget the other saint currently operating in the north-west of England, namely Eighth Wonder of the World Jurgen Klopp, had good cause just a week ago to ruefully concede Jose might be getting somewhere.

Nevertheless, Mourinho may wish to reconsider his rather dismissive remarks about this Wednesday’s League Cup derby now.

He was technically right to disparage the competition’s status, given where United’s priority — singular — remains this season. But after both Sunday and last month’s derby defeat, this might be the most must-win League Cup derby since 1974. One senses both teams — or rather, perhaps, both managers — really do need this one.

I am also told by a snout that Jose has just had a “robust and frank” discussion with Camp Roo representatives, which may produce results sooner than expected. I don’t want to spoil anything just yet, but save a space on the Santa list...

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox