SoccerAll in the Game

Kevin De Bruyne tackles claim fails to live up to scrutiny

Borussia Dortmund’s Mats Hummels defends his ‘fellow farmers’ with the mother of all burns

Questionable Kevin De Bruyne claim

It’s rare enough for there to be a consensus on who should win the player of the match award on any given day, and when there’s no blindingly obvious contender you can be fairly sure there’ll be quibbles over the selection. Jermaine Jenas, though, lit up the tweet machine on Saturday when he picked Kevin De Bruyne as his outstanding player in Manchester City’s FA Cup semi-final win over Chelsea.

Now, more often than not De Bruyne is the man of the match, him being rather decent at this football lark, but even though he set up the winner for Bernardo Silva, it wasn’t one of his better days.

But Jenas picked him not for his silky passing, but rather for putting himself about. “I’ve gone for De Bruyne, but not for the usual reasons. It’s been a pretty spicy affair and I’ve never seen De Bruyne make as many tackles as he’s made today. He’s been tenacious.”

At which point an unkind chap by the name of @UtdMicah dug out the match stats. Yes, De Bruyne won 100 per cent of his tackles. But? He only made one in the entire game. Cue torrents of derision for poor Jermaine.

Word of mouth

“Yes, I like to have lemons in my office. It’s a habit. I don’t know if it’s helping or not, but it makes me feel comfortable. My place now in the training ground is like my home. Lemons make me feel like home.” – Mauricio Pochettino, who looked like he was sucking lemons by the time he left Wembley on Saturday.

“There’s a few things Ulla [his wife] told me – I have to learn cooking and take a dance class. I should learn cooking probably so I can at least make some breakfast or whatever.” – Jurgen Klopp on his post-Liverpool plans, brushing up on his culinary skills and his cha-cha-cha.

“If your daughter is going to bring someone home, that’s what you want them to come home with.” – Rio Ferdinand making a pitch to become Jude Bellingham’s father-in-law.

Hummels silences critics

Who won the internet last week? That would be Borussia Dortmund’s Mats Hummels for his response to those in England who dismiss the Bundesliga as a “farmer’s league” (ie, not very competitive).

After Dortmund, Bayern Munich and Leverkusen all advanced in the Champions League and Europa League and Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool and West Ham were knocked out of their competitions:

“Good harvesting this week my fellow farmers.” The mother of all burns, that.

In words

“If he goes, wow, you could take the pool out of Liverpool!” – Paul Merson believes that if Liverpool sell Mo Salah, then they’ll just be Liver. No, no clue here either.

In numbers

5 – That’s how many years (62 months, to be exact) it had been since Barcelona’s women lost at home . . . until their Champions League defeat by Chelsea on Saturday.

More word of mouth

“Everyone is free to give their opinion. I haven’t found any sad Real Madrid fan. There is this saying in Spain that I love: ‘Tell me about the sea, sailor’.” – Real Madrid gaffer Carlo Ancelotti rejecting criticism of his tactics in their Champions League win over Manchester City, as only Carlo Ancelotti can.

“I have a three-year-old girl who still believes in rainbows and unicorns. That might be me. I honestly believe we’re going to stay up. Maybe I’m naive. Maybe I’m the one believing in rainbows and unicorns and it’s actually got to my head.”

Burnley assistant manager Craig Bellamy. Mind you, after their 4-1 win away to Sheffield United on Saturday, maybe unicorns are an actual thing.

“Their No.4 (Google his name later) runs his mouth better than he defends and that is saying something cause that was honkin.”

James McClean with this, eh, Instagram tribute to Crewe defender Michael Williams who had a day to forget in Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to Wrexham.