•Unlike the usual Monday morning routine, Ten Hag did not show a video replay of the game but selected clips that he thought would motivate the players to do better.
•Pep Guardiola believes the next three matches will define Manchester City’s season.
Manchester United’s Carrington training facility was the last place on earth the players wanted to be on Monday morning.
After suffering humiliation against Liverpool, they reluctantly arrived fearing that Erik Ten Hag was going to tear them apart.
David de Gea and Luke Shaw avoided media cameras by pulling down the visors inside their cars. Several players wore hoodies pulled over their heads. It was like a walk of shame. Ten Hag had arrived two hours earlier than his players and had already set up the briefing room.
Breakfast was not on the menu until the players had been confronted by the coach.
Much to the surprise of everyone in attendance, Ten Hag did not shout, scream and criticise his players but emphasized that the 7-0 defeat must not undo all the good work and progress the team has achieved this season. Recovering from the weekend and moving on, was the message.
He said, “What happened doesn’t destroy the work we have done this season. You have to be more hungry and not let the loss depress you. That is vital. We can overcome this.”
Ten Hag also suggested players have sessions with a Dutch sports psychologist who he introduced to the club.
Unlike the usual Monday morning routine, Ten Hag did not show a video replay of the game but selected clips that he thought would motivate the players to do better.
Guardiola: Next three matches crucial for City
Pep Guardiola believes the next three matches will define Manchester City’s season. The Citizens have had a rare break this week with no matches.
This weekend, they meet Crystal Palace and then have a huge Champions League match against RB Leipzig. In a week’s time, Vincent Kompany brings his highly successful Championship side Burnley to Maine Road and Guardiola believes those three games will be the foundation of going on to compete for three titles this season. I understand that John Stones is now fit and Aymeric Laporte is also back.
After taking two days off following the 2-0 win over Newcastle, Guardiola said, “If we are able to win those games, we will still be alive in three competitions and in the last part of the season we will be there. If we lose, we are out of the competition. I gave the players two days off to forget football, enjoy their families and friends, and come back stronger.”
Trossard and Gabi give Arsenal options
Mikel Arteta is delighted with his new signing Leandro Trossard. His role as a false No9 is similar to that of Gabriel Jesus before his cruel injury.
Arteta said, “He is really good. He gets involved in many situations and he is good in small spaces.
"He’s got that creativity to open people up and I’m really happy with him. His tendency is to drift out to the left and interchange with Gabriel Martinelli.
"Their link-up play has given Arsenal a new dimension which is producing goals.
"He also has the ability to drop deep and again link-up play which gives the Gunners different options going forward."
Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard also has been heaping praise on Trossard. “He is doing a great job and he and Eddie (Nketiah) are having a positive impact on games,” he said.
Arteta can play Trossard as No 9 or Gabi in the same position with Trossard going wide on the left. His arrival together with Jorginho from Chelsea have given Arteta the ammunition he needs to keep Arsenal at the top and the run-in with Manchester City is going to be fascinating.
Foden's foot problem
Phil Foden has been struck down again with his niggling foot injury. After playing injured in January's Manchester derby, he finally realised that he had to ask Pep Guardiola for time off.
Riyad Mahrez and Jack Grealish rose to the challenge of playing on without Foden and Bernardo Silva more than made up for the missing talent of the youngster.
Four goals in the past ten days have promoted Foden back into automatic selection. However, his foot is again worrying him. Instead of playing as he did in January, he has taught himself to manage his body more successfully and on Monday, he asked Guardiola for time off from training or perhaps only light training.
He said this week, “We are always playing and there is no time to rest, sometimes your feet just need to rest and that was it really. It’s one of those injuries where physios cannot help and I have to manage it myself. I have to balance resting and training.”
Eriksen eye return
Christian Eriksen is hoping to make his comeback for Manchester United before this season ends in May.
He watched from the stands as United lifted the Carabao Cup and witnessed their disaster against Liverpool at the weekend but has been out of the team since seriously injuring his ankle against Reading in January.
Surgery has helped his condition and he displayed an upbeat mood when he said, “I’m feeling well. I mean it’s always boring to be in the protective boot and on crutches but I’ve left the crutches off now and am only having to wear a boot. Next week, it should be gone and I’ll finally learn to walk again! I still hope to make a final this season!”
Zaha could be Eddie's answer
Eddie Howe is sitting at his Newcastle desk head in hand. His main striker Callum Wilson is no longer scoring regular goals and Eddie needs a new striker.
The name he keeps scribbling on his notepad is Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha. His contract expires at the end of the season and he has longed for a top-four club.
He also plays with incredible skill and wears his heart on his sleeve and that is mostly what Newcastle need as they look to step up to the next level. Wilfried would jump at the chance if the black and whites can offer Champions League football.
Bellingham has what Klopp needs
Jurgen Klopp planned a complete reorganization in the summer but suddenly his plans are being revised.
Yes, he will go out and buy players but not with the same urgency. Centre to his plans is the excellent Harvey Elliott who was superb in midfield as Liverpool ran Manchester United ragged.
The academy graduate has stepped up and both Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo have settled into Anfield and are playing with confidence.
Klopp is rightly smiling again after a fraught season and Liverpool are a serious top-four-place challenger.
The plan for this coming summer is to bring in Jude Bellingham and the cost would be around £100m or alternatively bring in three quality players each costing around £40m.
Nunez, Gakpo and Salah are looking good to finally replace Liverpool’s winning formula of Mane, Salah and Firmino who is leaving this summer. That leaves Klopp with his midfield to sort out and Bellingham is looking like the answer according to my Liverpool insiders.
Gvardiol on Chelsea's radar
Chelsea are once again on the trail of RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol. The Blues management have to act quickly if they want to avoid paying £ 97 million which is his release clause.
The 21-year-old has been watched by Chelsea since he was 17 years old and almost signed last summer.
He starred for Croatia in the World Cup and Leipzig offered him a new deal because of that and the contract runs until 2027. However, the release clause kicks in next year.
If Chelsea do pursue Gvardiol they will have to sell players to stay within Financial Fair Play regulations considering that they spent £ 323 million in January but they will have to act quickly.
Silva's knee causing problems
I checked in with Chelsea this week for a progress report on Thiago Silva’s knee injury.
The news is not good. Chelsea’s medical team were unable to give an accurate length of time Thiago will be out of action but the 38-year-old centre-back is likely to take 6 weeks to recover.
That would rule him out of games against Leicester and Everton and four more games after the international break.
Chelsea do have cover in Wesley Fofana and several other players who have all played as a center-back but Silva is the main man with his experience, timing and reading of a game.
Onana can score goals for Everton
Everton boss Sean Dyche believes Amadou Onana can develop into a first-class goalscoring midfielder.
Onana was Everton’s big signing last summer at £33m from French club Lille and he impressed former manager Frank Lampard and now Dyche has recognised his potential.
Onana scored only one goal in the year he spent in France and hit two goals for his former club Hamburg but Dyche believes he has seen something special in the Belgian.
Dyche said, “When you are young you can adapt your game and we want Ama to be able to change and look at his role in midfield. I think it’s more of a European thing and sometimes from a very young age, they say ‘you are that player’ but when I was growing up midfielders did a bit of everything and that is what I want from Amadou. I’m already showing him video clips of great midfielders and telling him that he can add their skills to his game. Manchester United legend, captain and midfielder Bryan Robson scored 100 goals in 465 games and 26 times for his country and Frank Lampard was always a goal threat for Chelsea. I think with Ama’s physicality, driving into the box and power, he is a really good weapon for us.”