As Sunderland prepare for what Seb Larsson admits will be a “very tough afternoon” at Old Trafford if players do not rise to the occasion, we must acknowledge Tony Pulis’s contribution to the evolution of the English language.
First we should forget the muscular approach to defending that saw, for example, Jermain Defoe flattened twice in the penalty box even before a corner kick was taken. That is Tony Pulis’s way and he has imported the approach he adopted at Stoke City to his new job at WBA.
Forget also that this was the manager who defended Ryan Shawcross after the challenge that left Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey with a terrible double fracture in 2010. “It was an awkward challenge, not a dirty challenge,” he said, deploring the rather harsher view taken by Arsene Wenger.
But when one of his players picks up a slight knock, it is an entirely different matter. “[Saido] Berahino got a kick, I think ‘Cattermoled’, in the first half, which he is struggling with.”
Monsieur Salut saw a determined challenge, not even awkward, which Berahino appeared to do his utmost, with his theatrical reaction, to turn into something a ref having an off-day, as Mike Jones was, might regard as a red card assault. He got his free kick, but no more.
Cattermole seems to have tried very hard to clean up his act, cut down on those recklessly earned cards and apply maturity to his game.
But I shall be delighted if he does a whole lot more Cattermoling at Old Trafford, tackling as hard as the laws of the game allow, and that this leads to three points or just one.
As Keith Hoggins, a United fan, put it in his excellent “Who are You?” interview – https://safc.blog/2015/02/manchester-united-v-safc-who-are-you-we-dont-do-romps-any-more/:
I like players with heart and therefore I like Cattermole. Not to everyone’s taste but always looks like he’s playing for the shirt and he’s a better footballer than many give him credit for.
* see also: the Guess the Score rollover – our theatre of dreams or a nightmare in the making? – at https://safc.blog/2015/02/manchester-united-vs-sunderland-guess-the-score-theatre-of-dreams-or-nightmares/.
** And the M Salut’s match preview, on tour at ESPN, should appear very soon at http://www.espnfc.com/club/sunderland/366/blog