Ask Crouchie! Sportsmail’s Peter Crouch is back to answer YOUR questions… on how to punish the ‘Big Six’ breakaway, screaming Premier League stars, and why today’s players just can’t handle Jose Mourinho
- Peter Crouch has answered more of your questions for his Sportsmail column
- The dominant topic in his inbox has been the fallout from the Super League
- He also discusses VAR, Jose Mourinho and Premier League players’ screams
Plenty for Peter Crouch to dissect this week, from VAR controversies to Champions League showdowns, but the dominant topic in his inbox has been the biggest story in football for years.
It left Sportsmail’s resident columnist ready to let off steam…
The European Super League was the dominant story in Peter Courch’s mailbox this week
Terry Pipe via Twitter
Well, Terry, if I had been on television at the time of the announcement, I would have spoken in the same way as Gary Neville and Rio Ferdinand. I couldn’t believe it, yet at the same time I wasn’t that shocked because I have been in football long enough to know nothing should surprise you.
It’s important to separate the clubs and the players from the owners in all this. Manchester United as an institution wouldn’t have wanted to be near a European Super League and Liverpool’s players came out strongly to show they didn’t want to be near a European Super League.
There wasn’t a fan in the country who wanted to be near the European Super League, it was just Real Madrid chairman Florentino Perez doing his best to drum up something that nobody wanted, other than the businessmen who saw an opportunity to make more money.
I was at Liverpool on Saturday and you could feel the disappointment all around the stadium still lingering. Fenway Sports Group have a history of making mistakes, from hiking prices up for seats to furloughing staff, but this one will live with them forever.
This disappointment over the European Super League has been made clear by Liverpool fans
Should the rebel six face any punishment?
Jamie Barrow via Twitter
I don’t know how you can do it, Jamie. Relegation would be too much. If you deduct points from all of them, you are entering the realms where next season will become a farce before a ball has even been kicked. And there is little point in issuing fines because they all have so much money.
Would a transfer ban be appropriate? It’s probably the only thing that could work. To be honest, however, I am more concerned about football rallying together to make sure that this idea is banished for good. Perez still wants it to happen and we have to make sure he has no influence.
What has gone wrong with Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino?
Mick Wick via email
One thing jumped out at me on Saturday, Mick, when I was watching the game. It was the moment Mohamed Salah got through in the first half and teed it up for Mane to finish. The Mane of last year or the year before doesn’t think twice and he puts his foot through it.
When he took a touch, however, I knew that was it. His confidence has deserted him and it’s the same for Firmino. I watch Firmino play and I see a beautiful footballer, whose flicks and positional play are outstanding but when he takes a shot, I expect it to roll on the floor to the goalkeeper.
It’s important to stress that these two players command so much respect and I am not in the business of saying they should be sold. I was asked about moving them on by a reader last week and I found it disrespectful to say, after all they have done, that they should be sold.
I’m prepared to give both of them some grace this season because things have been so strange. Liverpool need the season to end, their players need to be re-energised and I wouldn’t write them off.
At the same time, they really do have something to prove in August.
It is clear Sadio Mane is short of confidence but he shouldn’t be written off after a poor season
Has there been a worse red card this season than the one for Fabian Balbuena?
Danny Fran via Twitter
It’s my favourite subject, Danny! VAR! I have written that much on this shambles this season, I think I might have enough for another book. Do you think ‘Peter Crouch: VAR Wars’ has a ring to it? I had to watch the incident with Balbuena and Ben Chilwell a few times to work out what was happening.
I thought the one Tomas Soucek got at Fulham in February was bad but let me ask this of the officials: where on earth was Balbuena supposed to put his foot? Seriously?
He was clearing a ball up the field, end of story. It was an absolutely incredible call from Chris Kavanagh.
It was an incredible call by Chris Kavanagh (left) to send off Fabian Balbuena against Chelsea
Is it true that a sniper took out Dani Ceballos on Friday not Richarlison?
Jacob Noah via Twitter
Brilliant, Jacob! Thank God the penalty was overruled by VAR (though it shouldn’t have been because of another ludicrous offside call) because the way Ceballos reacted to a little flick from Richarlison was beyond a joke. One thing that I can’t stand about the empty stadiums is the fact that you hear every scream from the pitch and, believe me, they are getting louder and louder. I’ve got friends who are only interested in rugby and they constantly take the mickey out of football.
I always fight the cause but then you see things like that on Friday and there is no way of coming back. I played for Tony Pulis and Sean Dyche and neither of them would have tolerated an attempt to get a penalty in that manner.
I think back to when I was a kid and I’m sure my dad would have marched on to the pitch and dragged me off it if I’d rolled around that way to get a penalty. Sometimes you have to make the most of a challenge to make sure you get a foul but rolling around? Never, ever. It’s embarrassing.
The way Dani Ceballos reacted to a little flick from Richarlison was beyond a joke
Was the timing right for Tottenham to sack Jose Mourinho?
Mike Smith via email
It was odd timing, Mike. I don’t think anyone expected Ryan Mason to take over and have his hands on a trophy by the end of the week and Sunday’s game went as many people expected it would. We can debate whether Mourinho would have made a difference at Wembley but it’s pointless.
I’m not surprised Mourinho has gone. I would like to think I stuck by him – I genuinely felt when he was appointed he’d achieve something positive with Tottenham – but the style of play wasn’t what Tottenham fans wanted. Losing in the Europa League against Dinamo Zagreb looked decisive.
People have said to me that the players will enjoy themselves more now that Mourinho has gone. Given the way Sunday’s game panned out, it was impossible to say whether that is the case. We will know more in the remaining fixtures through to the end of the season.
It was odd timing from Tottenham to sack Jose Mourinho but I’m not surprised he has gone
What will you miss about the Special One?
Eddie Forsyth via email
It’s over for him in the Premier League now, Eddie. I feel sad about that because he was always good with me when I dealt with him; there was advice if I needed it, he was affable and offered encouragement. I’ll never forget how he called me on FaceTime last year out of the blue, when he mentioned – as a joke – the possibility of signing me during a press conference. I’d said on Twitter I was ready for the return, a couple of hours later Jose was ringing to have a laugh about it!
I’d have loved to have played for him. Joe Cole used to tell me stories about him from that first spell at Chelsea. Joe went into his office one day, fuming that he hadn’t been playing. Jose explained to him that he needed him three games later and be patient. Joe had been dropped but went out feeling 10 feet tall!
What a team Chelsea were then: Frank Lampard, John Terry, Petr Cech, Michael Ballack, Didier Drogba, Ricardo Carvalho, Michael Essien – big, strong players with big, strong personalities.
Sad as it is to admit, I feel the way players are now is not suited to Mourinho’s management style. Those men I named would go to war for him but were strong enough to take anything he threw at them. I’m not sure that is the case now.
Premier League players are no longer suited to the style of management the Special One has
Can Mauricio Pochettino’s Paris Saint-Germain take down Manchester City?
Joe Colbran via email
I cannot wait for this game, Joe. City have had the perfect preparation by winning the Carabao Cup but that forward line of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Angel Di Maria has the potential to do serious damage. It’s going to be a fascinating battle but I think City will just edge it.
Until next time, stay safe and well.
Neymar (left) and Kylian Mbappe have the potential to do some damage to Manchester City
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