Peter Crouch: United were too soft before Casemiro and Martinez deals

Ahead of their clash with Liverpool on Sunday, Peter Crouch has been admiring Man United's crucial South American duo...


It’s a credit to Erik ten Hag that United have turned around so quickly. He got players in that look strong mentally and that South American contingent of Casemiro and Lisandro Martinez have really set the tone since they’ve arrived.

Obviously it’s important to have someone scoring goals like Marcus Rashford, and David De Gea looks back to his best too, while Luke Shaw and Fred are playing well and Garnacho’s coming through too.

Casemiro, Manchester United , 1-23

But Casemiro and Martinez have been the crucial ones in turning the team around.

They’ve lifted the mentality of everyone else bacause they’ve got that edge – they’re just a bit nasty, aren’t they?

You can see Martinez is a winner. He’ll do anything to get to the ball first.

And that competitiveness is the reason Casemiro’s won five Champions Leagues. Some players might win one and think they’ve made it.

He’s got that internal strength to go and win more, again and again.

They’re win-at-all-costs players and United were too soft before they arrived.

That attitude has clearly rubbed off on other players at United. It’s the biggest difference at the club this season.

Of course, Ten Hag has raised the game of other players too, and handled other situations – including Ronaldo – very well, but those two signings have been huge.

It’s an exciting time for Man United the way they’re playing. They remind me of Liverpool last season where you just thought they were never going to be beaten.

Blades cut down Spurs

Spurs looked in control against Sheffield United, so to go out like they did, it’s so disappointing.

You see a side like Grimsby going through, Burnley and Blackburn are there as well and you think “that was a such a huge opportunity to go and win a trophy.”

LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 24: Peter Crouch of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates scoring Tottenham’s third goal during the UEFA Champions League Group A match between Tottenham Hotspur and SV Werder Bremen at White Hart Lane on November 24, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Or even make it to the final. The fans are craving something like that.

It beggars belief sometimes.

And Spurs have a real battle on their hands to get a top four spot this season too.

They’re still in Europe, but a cup run with a day out at Wembley for the semi-finals even, it would be something for the fans.

Daniel Levy and Antonio Conte must be so disappointed as it’s been a very up-and-down season – some big wins but some real lows too too – and the way they’ve played has not been great.

I still fancy Liverpool to get into the top four as well, and if the other three spots are set for Arsenal, City and United that’ll leave Spurs on the outside.

Potter’s dismal Chelsea spell

It’s been a real baptism of fire for Graham Potter at Chelsea. He’s not dealt with the level of egos in his previous jobs that he has to handle now.

Now he has all these top players – lots of them – on big money who are just never going to play there because the squad’s so big.

That’s difficult to manage even if you have experience at the very top level.

Graham Potter Chelsea

It’s really not looking good on the pitch either and there’s no sign of it getting better.

I don’t think they can sack him though.

As long as it doesn’t get even worse from here, they should try to give him time and a chance to work with the players over the summer, see how they start next season and go from there.

At the same time, you have to be realistic. You can’t keep losing the amount of games he’s losing.

But he’s a good manager and I could see him doing well elsewhere. This has just become a very difficult job.



What do you think?