Anorak News | Not the Devils We Know

Not the Devils We Know

by | 26th, February 2004

‘COULD we be approaching the end of a glorious era at Old Trafford?

Hopping madness

We ask this in light of last night’s Champions League performance by the Red Devils in which they, as the Sun reports, lost 2-1 to Porto and had their captain, Roy Keane, dismissed.

The paper also looked on as Alex Ferguson, rather than congratulating his opposite number on a good result, Porto coach Jose Mourinho, behaved like a bad loser.

He looked at Mourinho’s outstretched hand and gestured angrily in response before flouncing off down the tunnel.

What the Times calls United’s “fading title challenge” and “gaping holes” in the team’s defences will have to be bolstered by more than a fit of pique and a captain who can’t keep his cool if United are to win the tie’s second leg.

But while “disgraced Keane loses plot” (Telegraph), Claudio Ranieri breathes a sigh of relief.

Fortune favours the brave, and last night Chelsea performed with no little courage and conviction to beat Stuttgart courtesy of an own goal from the German side.

When you’re under the cosh, as Ranieri is, you’ll take anything that comes your way. The Express’ headline (“Clouds over Claudio lift”) is well said.

But while the Champions League rightly gets the main headlines, the Times spares a thought for Liverpool FC, a team that many still think of as one of the top dogs in English football.

On the verge of the Reds’ Uefa Cup tie against the less-than-mighty Levski Sofia, the paper catches up with the spiky Anfield boss Gerard Houllier.

“Am I hurt by the criticism,” asks Houllier. “The answer is ‘no’. I can be hurt if someone is dying or a health problem, but criticism comes with the territory.”

But Houllier should be, if not hurt then at least smarting a little. His own health problems have garnered him a good deal of sympathy from the Liverpool fans, but now is surly the time to show that his master plan is working.

Problem is that Liverpool are in Europe’s second-rate contest, out of the FA Cup and nowhere in the Premiership.

Oh, well, there’s always next year…’

Posted: 26th, February 2004 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink