You'd be worn out from the drama – and the week had barely started. Monday night, Succession. Tuesday night, Manchester United. Two empires in a spot of bother, their gaffers feeling the heat, although when Josip Ilicic scored for Atalanta after 12 minutes, the United faithful might have wished it was Logan Roy in the dugout and at the wheel.
There were folk who might well have wagered their homes on Antonio Conte being at said wheel by the time United set sail for Bergamo, but Ole Gunnar Solskjær proved he's shrewder than most give him credit for, engineering the sacking of Nuno Espirito Santo by giving his boys a helluva beating on Saturday, opening the way for Antonio to take the gig thereby leaving Ole safe for now. The current 'available' list is, after all, largely made up of Steve Bruce, Tony Pulis and Sam Allardyce. And Nuno Espirito Santo. Hmm, there's a thought.
But, while Antonio was back in London saying hello to the Spurs lads, Matt Doherty meeting just his third new manager in 14 months, Ole was over in Italy on Champions League business.
Team news. "Pogba for me is a no-no," said Liam Brady, sinking in to his chair when he saw the fella's name in the line-up, United's bench marginally more impressive than their starting XI, featuring the maestro that is Edinson Cavani, Jadon 'why they did buy me?' Sancho and Donny 'yoo hoo, remember me?' van de Beek.
Over on BT Sport, though, Solskjær was more than content with his selection when he spoke to Des Kelly. "It's probably the tallest team I've ever put out," he beamed.
For some reason, that factoid wasn't enough to have little Paul Scholes brimming with confidence, Jake Humphrey keen to hear his feelings on the line-up because, as he noted, "Paul Scholes tends to generate headlines." Rio Ferdinand and Eni Aluko just about stifled a chuckle, resisting noting that those headlines had been of the toe-curling kind of late.
The first 10 and a half minutes were grand, but then David de Gea did a thing that would have had Roy Keane throwing darts at his telly, but just before half-time Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo did a thing that would have had Shane Duffy and John Egan, with Thursday week in mind, turning off theirs.
“Not great again,” said Scholesie, while Aluko wondered why Pogba kept passing the ball to Atalanta players, like he was hoping they might sign him in January.
Second half. As if Ole wasn’t suffering enough, VAR took two minutes and six seconds to decide that Atalanta had gone 2-1 up, Steve McManaman at a loss to understand the delay because he thought Duvan Zapata was clearly offside. “It must be a lot tighter than we thought,” he said, despite Duvan Zapata clearly not being offside.
So, another defeat, and Solskjær . . . hold yer horses.
As Darren Fletcher put it, "IT'S A RONNIE ROCKET IN BERGAMO – HE'S ONLY GONE AND DONE IT AGAIN!"
He did too.
Succession has nothing on this bunch.
Rio said he couldn’t find the words to describe Ronaldo, but mercifully for Jake’s sake, silence never helpful in post match discussions, he found a few.
“At the critical moments he steps up – any time, any stadium, any country, any place, the biggest moments, he’s there to deliver.”
Eni thought that was all very well, but. “It looks like a one-man band – Ronaldo can’t keep bailing them out,” she said, Scholesie nodding furiously.
He was giddy with excitement, though. Jestin‘. “It felt a little bit messy tonight, when Varane went off it went all over the place again, really shaky, giving the ball away in the middle of the pitch far too often, Maguire just doesn’t look right, he’s not with it at the minute.”
Apart from that?
“It was a mess.”
But, lookit, another lifeline for Ole, and the weekend should be grand. It’s only Manchester City.