Post-match football reaction is sometimes more interesting than the match itself, isn’t it?
After seemingly every Premier League encounter, Jose is forced to defend his tactics rather than better than his Manchester United sides defend; Jurgen takes animation to a whole new level, which almost convinces us that his Liverpool team is not one-dimensional, and Jamie, finally, just spat it out (something Sky’s Monday Night Football viewers and ‘Plain English’ aficionados have wanted him to do for ages).
In terms of managing lower-league football clubs who never win anything, Eddie Howe and Mauricio Pochettino usually give ‘honest’ appraisals of their teams’ performances, but do they really mean what they say, or say what they really mean? Imagine if they’d both sucked on honesty pills after the game at the Vitality Stadium/Dean Court/Tourist Destination in Dorset (almost as popular as Thomas Hardy’s Cottage, only more tragic)?
Eddie: Listen, you’re not going to get me to speak unless you first accept that my teeth will be permanently clenched.
Mauricio: My lips are sealed but, of course, you know how thoroughly hacked off I am whenever the cameras pick me up on the side of the pitch. I cannot say nothing more.
Eddie: I thought our pace and physicality gave Spurs problems right from the start. The car park attendants have been well-trained to take as long as possible before letting the away teams off their coaches – in that way we remain unbeaten for just a few minutes longer and, you know, it can frustrate teams. They also eat a lot of pies and that produces funds for me to waste on strikers who were once quite good.
Mauricio: I cannot believe that all you have asked me about so far is the fitness of Harry Kane. He is just one member of our squad. How many times do I need to say this? He might have a massive problem but whether that is more massive for England or Tottenham I really couldn’t care less. How many times do I need to say this? I gave away that penalty in 2002 and England will get nothing more from me. How many times do I need to say this?
Eddie: We put a lot of work in to nullify their threat and the proof of that is the number of board markers I’ve gone through this week, although, to be fair to the players, playing in a stadium with pictures of players on the walls of the stands to try and suggest the idea that we are a big club drawing big crowds can make concentration difficult. That’s also why we’ve brought back real oranges at half-time.
Mauricio: Son Heung-min is a good player, yes, but he is just another member of the squad. Just because he has three names does not mean there is pressure on him to score a hat-trick in every match – I have at least one other player in the squad who knows where the goal is, and Hugo likes it there. It is also untrue that Dele Alli has had a new carpet named after him at our new stadium; it is a rug – one of many rugs.
Eddie: We only played for 80 minutes and we have to look at the watches that Alex gave us after our game at Old Trafford was called off a couple of years ago because of the same threat of boredom. Tottenham had to play at their very best to beat us today but, of course, they have quality and we have to look at that – then think about our own players. I personally think we need to start at the back but that’s a problem for any football team that considers AFC a prefix to its name rather than the more usual suffix.
Mauricio: Every game will be like a final for us now. Not a proper final, obviously, because that is not what we do at our football club, but we can at least pretend that we have made a final (those losers’ medals can be melted down, you know, if you get the temperature just right in training) and I am so happy that we are not Bournemouth because then it would just be pure fantasy. I prefer to hand over a winning position to an Italian team in London than down here, in the middle of nowhere and the sea, and being known forever as Jude the Obscure.
Eddie: I can’t believe that Burnley have done so well this season (and without someone who can draw such sophisticated bar charts as me), but that’s a whole other story about faith versus sports science. I’m pleased for Sean but never really had him down as a healer, to be honest. I don’t think our position in the league is OK yet, although, obviously, OK is the best we’re ever likely to achieve. We have a big game against West Brom next and I’m just amazed that it won’t be billed as a relegation scrap. Thank goodness for all the other rubbish teams who sit between us and them.