Wednesday's big stories

Chelsea hammer Juventus

Chelsea put four past Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday. It was a statement performance by the reigning European champions. And the lion's share of that statement was made by the club's academy graduates.
Perisic to join Tottenham on a two-year deal from Inter - report
Trevoh Chalobah, Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi scored goals one, two and three with Timo Werner getting the fourth. That's three academy graduates scoring in a crucial Champions League match for a club that has previously been derided for its inability to transition youth-level success to the senior set-up.
So, what happened? A sympathetic reading of his tenure would say that Frank Lampard was the catalyst for this transition. There is certainly some truth in that. However, it is a little more opaque than that. Yes, Lampard introduced a number of academy graduates, but his hand was forced by the club's transfer ban.
An argument could be constructed that Lampard may have gone down the youth route even if there was no ban on incomings. However, the money spent in the summer window after the ban's end - on Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech and Edouard Mendy - wholly undermines this school of thought.
Regardless, what the transfer ban did do was establish a culture change at the club.
Chelsea knew that their academy graduates could cut it at the elite level. The likelihood is they would not have come to this realisation had they not had a ban imposed upon them. And if that is the case then that ban was the best thing that ever happened to the club.

It is a no from Pochettino but...

Manchester United are interested in Mauricio Pochettino. That is an established fact. Is the Argentine interested in the Old Trafford job?
Well, on first inspection, his quotes on Tuesday seemed to rule out a switch of jobs.
"Regarding my situation, I am concentrated on football.

'I'm really happy at Paris Saint-Germain' - Pochettino rejects Man Utd link

I’m not a child. I’ve spent my whole life as a player and manager hearing rumours. I understand what happens, sometimes in a positive way, sometimes in a negative way.
“It’s not a distraction, you have to live with it, that’s football. We are concentrated. We’re going to give it our all to do as well as possible. We’re not here to talk about that. I respect my club, PSG. What the other club does, doesn’t concern me. I won’t comment on it because everything I say or don’t will be used. When I was at Espanyol, I said that I wanted to meet Sir Alex [Ferguson]. If I say it again, it will be taken out of context.
I am happy in Paris. I love the club, I love the supporters. Being at PSG is magnificent. We are in the lead in Ligue 1 and we are facing Manchester City.
“I thought I was clear. I said I had a contract until 2023. This season and the next. I’m happy at PSG, that’s a fact.”
That is an adamant statement. He is adamant that he is happy at PSG, and adamant that he loves the club and its fans. There, it must be said, was no declaration of love for the playing squad. He also, it must be said, did not outright reject the prospect of taking the Manchester United job.
He could have done. He didn't.

Messi defends Koeman, has sly pop at players

Lionel Messi has had a sit-down interview with MARCA where he discussed a number of topics, including his duels with Cristiano Ronaldo, his relationship with Sergio Ramos and the state of the PSG dressing room.
However, to this observer's eye, the most interesting part of his interview came when he discussed Ronald Koeman. There was some speculation that Messi and Koeman had a tumultuous relationship given the Dutchman unceremoniously dispensed with the services of his best mate Luis Suarez.
However, asked whether Barcelona had treated Koeman fairly, Messi had a rather surprising answer.
"It's always unfair on coaches. It was unfair with Koeman, with Valverde," said Messi, in what looks like a veiled dig at some of his former playing colleagues.
When there are bad results, the easiest thing is to target the coach, to replace him and not the players.
Messi would also add that Koeman brought through some excellent young players, which is another fair point.
"Koeman arrived at a very difficult time at the club in which key players left, but he was able to bring through many young players. As I told you, the easiest thing is always to blame the coach. And they [coaches] know it too because it is their profession."
Messi is a Koeman fan, who'd have thought it.


Antonio Conte is a ketchup influencer, the Warm-Up posits, given the below.


Presenting to you a pre-prepared meme for when Lazio next get a dodgy penalty.


It is only the Champions League again. And it is a stacked one. Manchester City face PSG, Porto travel to Liverpool and Real Madrid take on Sheriff.
Here tomorrow will be Andi Thomas, who is so happy at The Warm-Up, he loves the blog and its readers.
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24/05/2022 AT 23:15