On Tuesday evening, Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino was asked about new Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata in an interview with the Daily Mail’s Jack Gaughan, along with numerous other journalists, and responded to those questions thus:
“Morata talked about me in the media. He said: ‘Mauricio called me’. That was at the beginning, two years ago or more. He said to me: ‘Why do you want me if you have Harry Kane?’
“You know, if you go to try to sign a striker, they will say: ‘Eh gaffer, you want me for what? To be on the bench?’ Because it’s Harry Kane, I can’t compete with Harry Kane or Hugo Lloris or different players.”
This all seems pretty fair enough. Pochettino is recalling a discussion with Morata that took place two years ago, when he was still a Juventus player but knew that Real Madrid would probably buy him back. Morata felt that Pochettino – playing with one striker – would prefer Kane to start, and that’s probably true. Kane has become one of the most prolific strikers in the world since.
What Pochettino certainly didn’t do is accuse Morata of being a ‘bottler’, which is the headline splashed across the back page of The Sun. Congratulations on the attention-grabbing claim, but it’s hardly accurate. Still, who cares eh?
Incidentally, the headline on the Mail’s interview is: ‘I spoke to Morata but he just said: Why do you want me if you have Harry Kane?’. Weird that they didn’t pick up on the ‘bottler’ angle having conducted the interview.
‘Pochettino reckons the Blues’ new £65m man was desperate to join Spurs last summer but did not fancy competing with the England hotshot,’ the story below that The Sun headline begins.
Now Pochettino might well ‘reckon’ that, but he certainly said nothing of the sort on Tuesday. Barely even close.
What part of those quotes above suggests Morata was ‘desperate’ to join Spurs? And where does it say that he had the chance to do so last summer? No part, that’s what.
Still, the bottom of the barrel is never truly visible until the Metro have scraped it. What is their take on Pochettino’s quotes?
‘Alvaro Morata rejected Tottenham because he was afraid of Harry Kane, claims Pochettino’
He’s behind you (in the pecking order).
No Morata what they tell you
BT Sport pundit – and don’t pretend you haven’t missed him – Michael Owen has been talking about why Morata might not find life in the Premier League that easy.
“I have question marks over Morata, he did well in Italy but he was never a starter at Real Madrid,” Owen said. “He scored goals off the bench, but I’ve played for them and you’re always going to score in that team given Real score four or five most weeks and you’ve always got the ball unless you’re against Barcelona.”
Firstly, this notion that Real Madrid ‘score four or five most weeks’ is an absolute nonsense. Real scored four or more goals in ten of their La Liga matches last season. That’s the same number as Tottenham did in the apparently uber-competitive Premier League.
It also might surprise Owen to learn that both Sevilla, Las Palmas and Real Sociedad all had more possession than Real Madrid last season. Wonderfully, Real Madrid and Chelsea – Morata’s old and new clubs – both had an average of 54.8% in their respective leagues last season. But still, ‘you’ve always got the ball’ in Spain.
Finally, Morata didn’t even play in all of those matches in which Real Madrid were most dominant. In fact, he was only on the pitch for 447 of the 900 total minutes of games in which they scored four or more.
Apart from that…
Do as I say
Former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler had some advice for Jurgen Klopp when he spoke on ITV before the club’s friendly against Bayern Munich.
“The thing is, I think with Liverpool they have got to score more goals than they let in,” Fowler said.
Liverpool promptly won 3-0. Coincidence? That’s not for us to say.
Arse over tit
Mediawatch knows that The Sun have a slightly tragic obsession with breasts, but we can’t help feeling that they’ve let those halcyon Page Three days cloud their judgement a little.
‘Alexis Sanchez finally returned to training with Arsenal yesterday – with his future still in doubt,’ the story on their back page begins.
‘But he showed he is up for the cups as he rolled up his shirt to look like a bikini top.’
That isn’t a shirt made to look like a bikini like what them girls wear, guys. It’s a heart rate monitor used to measure a player’s physiological performance.
Minds out the gutter.
‘£500m Neymar’ – Daily Mirror, July 24.
‘£450m! That’s the Neymar cost to PSG’ – Daily Mail, July 24.
‘Neymar’s move to Paris Saint-Germain will cost total of £352million’ – The Sun, August 2.
Maybe PSG might be better off waiting a couple of weeks?
The Metro’s treatment of football transfer rumours has always been something to behold. This is a newspaper who described a b*nterous tweet sent by Bayern Munich to Arsenal as an ‘ominous message’. Hyperbole, thy name is Metro.
So when Mediawatch read that ‘Thomas Lemar drops subtle transfer hint on social media amid Arsenal links’, interest was piqued. If they say it was subtle…
And subtle it really was. ‘Lemar liked a training picture of Lacazette with Mesut Ozil and Danny Welbeck posted by the striker on Tuesday. Lacazette became Arsenal’s record signing earlier in the summer when he arrived from Lyon in a £52.7million deal and is good friends with Lemar.’
Man likes his friend’s photo. Truly a scandal.
Money don’t make my world go round
‘10 years ago, Man City and PSG finished 14th and 15th in their leagues… now Pep and Neymar are driving them into elite’ – MailOnline.
If Pep and Neymar are in the driving seat, that shared wealth of tens of billions of pounds might be offering advice from the back seat.
Drink it in
We’re not saying that Talksport were struggling for options in their list of ‘15 reasons to be excited for the start of the Premier League season’, but reason No. 4 is ‘ArsenalFanTV’.
Doesn’t it just make you yearn for June 2018?
Recommended reading of the day
Mark Roberts on preseason training.
John Brewin on London’s changing football grounds.
Daniel Storey on Everton and their league of one.