LASESARRE, SPAIN - AUGUST 5: Puma Orbita, the official match ball of LaLiga in detail prior the pre-season friendly match between Athletic Club and Real Sociedad on August 5, 2022 at Lasesarre Stadium in Barakaldo, Spain. Noxthirdxpartyxsales PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxJPN 195228971

Once again the request gets ignored.

I don’t ask for much writing this column, I really don’t. Only that if you are going to sack a manager (which we encourage, you may have noticed) that you do it after lunch on a Tuesday. There is nothing worse than seeing your Monday piece run in the paper on a Tuesday morning and for Mark Hughes to be referred to as if he still has a job.

£6m it has cost Southampton to get shot of Hughes. Personally, that feels about right. That is the fine they should have to pay for giving him the job in the first place. I mean, how did they really expect it to end? Europe? Not a chance.

As we mentioned yesterday, one thing in Southampton’s favour is that they have actually created more chances than United this season. The problem is, these chances are falling to Shane Long, Charlie Austin and friends and they seem to have had their confidence drained in the knowledge that as soon as a fancy continental free transfer comes available in January they’d be out the door.

But, Hughes is the man leaving via the exit along with his backroom team who, frankly, must love working for Sparky. They get a nice little pay-off every so often as well. Nice work if you can attach yourself to the right man.

This morning, Ralph Hassenhuttl has been appointed on a three-year deal. This is your moment Southampton. Get back to what you are best at. Become so well run again that Liverpool cannot contain their excitement at seeing your players playing for them in the Champions League.

Speaking of Liverpool, King Kloppo is in the news yet again. People who are paid to give their opinion are pointing out that if it had been Jose Mourinho sprinting on to the pitch celebrating with David de Gea following a last-minute winner by United then he’d get the book thrown at him. Well, yes. He probably would. But let us be honest. We cannot really compare Klopp and Mourinho in terms of how they provide us with entertainment. One is the pantomime villain, the other the great dame. And as the Premier League is the ultimate pantomime we need these characters to play their roles. So let them get on with it and just accept the fact that Klopp will be treated and viewed differently by the masses because he does things with a smile on his face and his players actually seem to like him, unlike the man currently looking after the Old Trafford hot-seat.

Whilst Kloppo was finding a turn of pace, he probably didn’t even know he had, Jose was giving Paul Pogba a dressing down in the changing room of St Mary’s. According to the Telegraph, and I love how there can be such accurate quotes when things like this used to stay inside the changing room, Jose called Pogba ‘a virus’.

“You don’t play,” Mourinho is alleged to have told Pogba. “You don’t respect players and supporters. And you kill the mentality of the good honest people around you. 
“You are like a person with the flu, with a virus in a closed room – you pass that virus to the others.”

Will we ever know the truth? It has to be remembered that even Sir Alex, a man who managed to evolve his managerial style to cope with the modern player struggled to comprehend Paul Pogba. But still, that would kill the ‘Jose is finished’ narrative, no?

Mourinho has also stated that finishing in the top four would be ‘a miracle’ this season, words that are hardly going to please Mr Ed, shareholders and fans. Jose is also ‘baffled’ by the 58 scouts that United have placed all over the world. Jose, they are there to try and help you uncover the players that might make the club great once more. Let’s be honest, you and Woodward aren’t doing great with the transfer business now, are you?

There’s a bit of chat about Manchester City facing a European ban if they are found guilty of wrongdoing when it comes to fiddling the books a bit to gain a financial advantage. Before you get too excited, the key part of that is if they are found guilty. Granted, UEFA are possibly a little more honest than FIFA…. actually, who am I kidding. The only way City will be out of Europe is if they give Jose a crack at ruining two clubs in Manchester.

Tottenham and Arsenal have both been charged by the FA for failing to control their players in Sunday’s North London Derby. They have until 6pm Thursday to respond. Tottenham should probably get used to Thursday’s being important. The FA are clearly all over the player’s conduct but I’ve not seen anything mentioned yet in terms of punishment over a banana being thrown from the crowd. Sort it out.

Manuel Pellegrini believes that Jack Wilshere could have cost £100m and West Ham did well to get him on a free transfer. I urge the West Ham owners to read this interview and immediately remove any responsibility Pellegrini has over the transfer budget at the Athletics Stadium. Actually, who am I kidding? There is every chance Sullivan and Gold are on the phone to Arsenal now to offer them £100m for this Wilshere lad they’d like to sign.

England have drawn the Netherlands in the UEFA Nations League semi-final to be played in Portugal next June. Gareth Southgate was predictably upbeat even given that England could have got Switzerland instead. Memories of shellacking them 4-1 in Euro 96 are abound.