Mourinho’s Mind Lies, Rise of Okore and Lambert’s Attitude
What an intense week for Lambert’s boys! Frustrating, rewarding, encouraging? It’s hard to fault the effort of the team in the opening week after three immense performances. Villa’s away game at Chelsea last season was a grizzly old jaunt for Villa fans, but in this year’s fixture, Villans were able to leave Stamford Bridge with their heads held high. Lambert and his men had every right to feel robbed by Kevin Friend as he failed to show Ivanovic a red card and failed to award a penalty against John Terry. Villa then lost 1 – 0 to Liverpool as the visitors nicked a goal and then shut up shop. Here’s what we learnt this week….
Jose Mourinho Tells Lies
The Special One admitted this week that he tells lies, “even when we say we are happy with our squad, we lie.” You lie, Jose? Who knew? Eyebrows were raised as Mourinho reverted to spin and hyperbole after Chelsea’s win, but here are some of Jose’s claims that simply don’t stand up to scrutiny….
- Villa are a long ball team: 51 long balls by Chelsea, 46 long balls from Paul Lambert’s men.
- Villa don’t play very much: Chelsea had 3 shots on target , Villa had 3 shots on target.
- Paul Lambert needs to “learn maturity” on the touch-line: In Jose’s last game as Real Madrid manager he was sent to the stands for abusing the referee against Atletico Madrid.
Part of Jose’s genius has always been his manipulation of the media, but I’m starting to wonder whether he’s losing his touch.
Jores Okore is really rather good
The young Danish defender is 21-years-old. Its really hard to believe. You expect youngsters to be rash, enthusiastic, and full of mistakes, but Okore is every inch as composed as his hero Marcel Desailly. Villa fans had demanded a centre back in the January transfer window, but I am really glad that we waited and got this kid instead. His passing, his speed, his competitiveness and his desire to get forward are a joy to see. Okore has set the bar high and Clark and Baker now need to step up a level.
Barry Bannan is leaving (again)
The ITK’s are doing a really terrible job this year. They failed to predict any Villa signings so far and now their ‘source‘ for Barry Bannan’s proposed move to Blackpool is…..drum roll….his instagram account. Great work guys!
Paul Lambert will take on all-comers
When Sir Alex Ferguson was Manchester United manager it bugged me to see other managers suck up to him and hand over three points without much of a fight. Those with the worst record at Old Trafford were often ex-United players who appeared to be intimidated by their old manager.
Sir Alex Ferguson seemed to cultivate a schmoozy relationship with other Premier League managers through his wine, his advice, and his pat-on-the-head compliments after the game.
Now that Sir Alex has retired there is a new Godfather in town. The culture that Sir Alex created appears to live on through Senhor Mourinho as Steve Bruce made a lame attempt not to look star-struck this week. Contrast, for example, the attitude of Bruce and Lambert as they took their teams to play Chelsea. Fawning Steve Bruce had wittered on pre-match about getting extra tickets for his family to meet Jose, the celebrity football manager, whilst Paul Lambert was revving up his boys for battle and declaring, “We’ll give it a right good go!”
During the match itself, when Hull and Villa were losing, Bruce was laughing and joking on the touch-line with Jose, and Lambert was gesturing madly to the ref and driving his team on. After the game Lambert didn’t let up, he had a ‘conversation‘ with Kevin Friend and continued to fight for his players in the presser. Steve Bruce, meanwhile, was grinning from ear to ear like the village idiot. He really couldn’t have looked happier.
I really wish managers like Steve Bruce would show some dignity, if not for themselves then at least for their fans. I hate to see managers laughing and joking when their team are losing, and at least with Paul Lambert, Villa fans know that he is going to fight for the club. Vamos Lambert!
We are transfer window addicts
I don’t know many Villa fans who are not totally addicted to the transfer window by now. It’s intoxicating. That feeling when you see a new player holding a Villa shirt, reading their first interviews, following them on twitter, looking at scouting reports of a player we ‘might’ have enquired for. Thankfully, however, we are coming towards the end of the transfer window and perhaps we all need a break from the gossip and the rumours, or a stint in rehab.
Also we can finally unfollow on twitter all those players we’d hoped to sign over the summer! *cough* (Kiyotake)