Monday Verdict: De Bruyne exposes Mourinho flaws; Koeman praise

Date published: Monday 19th September 2016 8:57

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Raheem Sterling: Backing Man City's title credentials

Kevin De Bruyne’s transformation to a world-class player makes Jose Mourinho look foolish, while Man Utd’s Wayne Rooney problem, the form of Everton under Ronald Koeman and the improvement of the Premier League as a product are also discussed….


De Bruyne form an embarrassment for Mourinho

It’s been no surprise to see Kevin De Bruyne’s scintiliating form this season be the topic of plenty of debate. Alongside Sergio Aguero, he’s probably been the Premier League’s standout player this season and he already looks a good bet to be named Player of the Season, even at this early stage.

Every club has their tales of misfortunate, but with De Bruyne’s injury at a key stage last season, I genuinely believe City might just have had more than just a League Cup success to show for efforts as the curtain closed on the Manuel Pellegrini era.


But if De Bruyne was a great player for City last season, he’s now edging himself well into the world-class bracket and one of the jewels of City’s expensively-assembled crown. It’s a fact that Pep Guardiola recognised when he said the Belgian was ‘in a group of players second only to Lionel Messi’. In effect, the City boss – who you might say knows a thing or two about coaching the world’s best – is putting De Bruyne in the same bracket as the Ronaldos, the Neymars and the Suarezs of this world.

Regardless of what Pep, or any of the pundits will tell you, however, the stats alone during his time at Manchester City tells its own story.

In a word, he’s priceless to City and looking a far better player than Paul Pogba (sorry, but comparisons will always be made when you’re the world’s most expensive player) who cost near-enough, when agent’s fee are taken into account, as good as twice the price.

However, for all the good that De Bruyne has done in the blue half of Manchester, there’s no getting away from the fact that his form leaves egg very much on the face of both Chelsea, and his former manager Jose Mourinho.

Jose Mourinho: Can he rotate?

The Belgian managed just nine first-team appearances during his two years at Chelsea – and you do wonder with his form since for Wolfsburg and now City, what Mourinho and the Chelsea staff didn’t see to afford him more starts?

Granted, Chelsea’s midfield then, as it is now, was packed full of midfield options, but one does wonder why De Bruyne was not given more game time at Stamford Bridge?

Was it pure Mourinho arrogance? Was it his unwillingness to take a chance on talented young talent? Or was it that perhaps Mourinho isn’t quite as good a judge of player as is made out? 

Either way, De Bruyne’s current standing in the Premier League – and indeed world football – does not reflect well on Mourinho. If his sale of Romelu Lukaku was an error of judgement, the decision to let De Bruyne move on – albeit for a profit at the time – looks simply unforgiveable.


Premier League on the up?


On the subject of De Bruyne’s form, is it right to assume that the Premier League, as a product in general, is finally back on the incline?

I touched on Aguero earlier and on current form, he too is among one of the world’s most in-form players right now. 

But is’s all well and good applauding the highlights we all watch on TV, which with clever editing, can always make players and teams appear better than what they actually are.

In reality, the Premier League’s so-called improvement, will only be measured by how our teams compete on the biggest stage of them: the Champions League.

By the time the final comes around next spring at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, it will have been five barren years since England had a finalist (Chelsea in 2012) in Europe’s premier knockout tournament; a far cry from the seven years prior when the country laid claim to having eight finalists, including two in one season.

During the four seasons that elapsed since Chelsea’s success, Italy have had one finalist, Germany two and Spain a domineering five.

Certainly, the Premier League has a long way to go before it can match the brilliance of La Liga, but with England once again boasting the world-record transfer fee (that man Pogba again), and with plenty of the game’s top players and managers winging their way here,  it certainly appears – on the surface at least – that the Premier League may be about to compete with some of Europe’s finest once again.


We need to talk about the elephant in the Roon

Wayne Rooney: Shows his frustration at Watford

Wayne Rooney’s ongoing ability to command a regular place in the Manchester United side continues to cause debate after another ineffective performance from the player against Watford.

Our article immediately after the match looked at the way Jose Mourinho had broken his word on the player during the defeat at Watford and why it was such a surprise to see the player picked as one of United’s midfield three alongside Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini at Vicarage Road.

But Rooney once again flattered to deceive in his midfield role by failing to create very little and generally struggling to effect the game in his more withdrawn role.

Quite what Rooney has over his managers at Manchester United remains something of a mystery and surely there’s only so long before Mourinho realises that the player is second best as a midfielder, just as he seems to have done about his abilities to play as a central striker.

Paul Scholes said after the match that Mourinho needs to look at the shape and the personnel of Manchester United’s midfield – and he’s right. How can the likes of Michael Carrick and Morgan Schneiderlin be left kicking their heels, while both Rooney and Marouane Fellaini continue to get games? I’m not saying either are the answer, but picking perhaps Carrick and reverting Rooney to the bench has to be an option?

Perhaps then we’d also start to see the best of £89.3million man Pogba too?

Don’t get me wrong, Rooney’s record at Manchester United will always be appreciated and forever be applauded – that cannot, and should not be denied – but he now needs to take a backseat and be used by the team when needed, not, as it seems, have the team built around him.


Credit to Koeman

Poor old Ronald Koeman. His arrival at Everton hardly dominated the column inches this summer, but in just a few short months at Goodison Park, he’s very quickly made his mark.

Whisper it quietly, but Everton are very much a team on the up – but still the club’s ascension to second in the Premier League has failed to generate much attention.

Everton as a whole didn’t need much tinkering with the personnel at the club widely regarded as their most talented bunch in years. Roberto Martinez massively underachieved last season and quite rightly paid the price with his job in the summer.

Koeman has come in and has very quickly done what any good manager should do: organise the team, improve the areas where you are short (Ashley Williams in > John Stones out and for a £35m profit anyone?!), and play to your strengths.

By contrast, compare this to Manchester United where seven matches into the Mourinho era, and the Portuguese coach’s best midfield still remains a mystery….

Everton might not quite be strong enough to sustain their place among the top four come the end of the season, but the good start under Koeman shows they’re very much a team on the rise.


James Marshment


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Home Forums Monday Verdict: KDB exposes Mourinho flaws; Rooney problem

This topic contains 7 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by hatters hatters 5 months ago.

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    James Marshment

    Kevin De Bruyne’s excellent form makes Jose Mourinho look foolish, while Man Utd’s Wayne Rooney problem and Everton’s progress also feature.

    [See the full post at: Monday Verdict: KDB exposes Mourinho flaws; Rooney problem]



    So, managers never get it wrong? You’re expecting managers to be able to predict the future, and it’s educated guesses at best.

    That said, Mourinho was adamant he didn’t want to sell KDB, but KDB wanted to go somewhere he was playing every week. Chelsea had quality in midfield and couldn’t gamble on giving a concrete starting place to an unproven kid. Chelsea wanted to loan him. KDB wanted a permanent move. What can Mourinho do in that situation, other than drop more established players?

    Fergie’s career is littered with “ones who got away”. You could name heaps. Or even the ones that didn’t get away. Phil Jones was going to be the second coming of Duncan Edwards. Anderson at 18 was the hottest property in world football, he was going to be the Brazilian Zidane. Didn’t happen. He is still an elite manager regardless. Mourinho is the same.

    It’s easy to criticise Mourinho for KDB now being a top class player but nobody who is writing these articles was also writing about teen prodigy KDB back in 2012. Back in 2012 Hazard and Oscar were the next big thing, so they were given the trust to fulfill that expectation. Oscars reputation was enormous around that time. If anyone had binned Oscar for the Unknown KDB, they’d have been branded a mad man.

    Show me a Team Talk article from 2012/13 where you rave about the unprecedented potential of Kevin de Bruyne, and I’ll shut my mouth. Otherwise, hindsight is 20/20. Nobody knew KDB would make the meteoric rise he has done. Least of all the biggest critics.



    Not the best Monday Verdict. I think your criticism of Mourinho is harsh. First and foremost there probably isnt a club in the country that doesn’t have ‘the one that got away’ plus you have not considered if KDB was just a later developer and whilst at Chelsea was just simply not good enough at that given time. Sometimes players need a move to kick start their career and KDB isn’t the first and won’t be the last for that to happen to.

    Secondly judging the quality of the premiership on Champions league finals isn’t fair. The premiership consists of 20 teams, there is life outside the champions league. The issue is the top three teams in La league have been better than the top 3 teams in England, but I reckon if you take away the top 3 teams and compare the remaining 17 in their like for like positions then most of the time the English clubs will come out on top.


    @evratime & NOLU. The editors are trying to get under the skin of posters/generate traffic and interest. As such, they are likely to make sweeping statements every week.

    Next week could be Wenger out, Moyes for the sack, Klopp is naive, Conte is too defensive etc etc. To be honest, I have no respect for the opinions of any of the editors/writers on this website. A great many posters are much more clued up on footballing matters.



    Well you only need to look at Pogba 800K to Juventus because according to Fergie he wasn’t a Utd player, how much to buy back?


    nine nine nine

    KDB is on record as saying he wasn’t anywhere near the player he is now when he wws at Chelsea and he agitated to go. Still a boo boo though as was Lukaku.



    Paxman, Fergie didn’t want Pogba to leave but his hand was forced by the player and more significantly Raiola.
    When talking about Mourinho and youngsters, he actually has a decent record when it’s examined, apart from Porto he’s always been at clubs where instant success has been expected, not hoped for but expected. Therefore when you have players who are established professionals with possibly established international careers it makes it more difficult to allow space for potential. Many young players push for a move, Shawcross did it, how we’d love him ahead of Jones now, because of Pique’s arrival. What Mourinho needs to sort out more than anything is if Rooney has any place in the starting XI, if not dump him, then his midfield and who will support Ibra up front. The back four also needs some work but if the Rooney issue is sorted then we’ll see a team which has more balance and can prob defend and attack better with everyone being in more familiar and defined roles.


    I actually haven’t read the article so I am not sure what you fellas are discussing about Pogba or De Bruyne etc. I don’t read any of the opinion pieces on this website and I won’t start now.

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