Here is a closer look at some of the managerial sound-bites following the latest round of top-flight matches:
Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas, on the prospect of keeping Gareth Bale:
“If we want to make it better next season we have to hold on to our best assets and this is what I have been told from the top.”
The Spurs boss will certainly hope so, as there is now no question about it: Bale is the most exciting player the English top flight has seen since Cristiano Ronaldo.
Had Tottenham made it into the Champions League next season, any discussion of Bale’s short-term future would have been swiftly swatted away. But having failed to overtake Arsenal on the final day, expect plenty of headlines linking the Welshman with moves both here and abroad.
The manager’s comments suggest Daniel Levy has made a promise. He will hope Bale has made the same one.
Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio, on the “Sunderland situation”:
“This week, there have been seven fined and this morning, once again … a player that I could not involve in the squad for a different reason decided: 'I don't train today.' He said he had food poisoning. He made the diagnosis. Sorry, are you the doctor? The doctor tried to contact him. Three hours, he switched off his telephone. This is the situation at Sunderland.”
The Black Cats’ manager has quickly become a regular in this feature. And his most recent comments on the situation he faces at the Stadium of Light continue his fine recent form.
If Di Canio doesn’t include “honesty” as a key skill on his CV, he should do. There is certainly no holding back in that department. And with the season now over, the Italian has laid bare the issues he has vowed to rectify.
Before taking the post, there were rumours that some Sunderland players didn’t want him as their manager. Following his brutal assessment of the problems at the club, perhaps they were the same players Di Canio now deems as surplus to requirements.
He talks of professionalism. It is swiftly becoming his mantra. And you sense that whoever he brings in for the next campaign, they will have it in abundance.
West Bromwich Albion manager Steve Clarke, on Romelu Lukaku:
“Romelu is a Chelsea player and he will go back there. We wish him well. If Chelsea wish to let him out on loan next season then we would love to have him back.”
Yes he most certainly is going back to Chelsea. And following a hat-trick that dampened if not completely ruined Sir Alex Ferguson’s leaving party, it is surely unfathomable that the Blues will agree to another loan move.
The Belgian forward has proved categorically that he can play at the top level. And whoever takes over at Stamford Bridge next season, they must include Lukaku in their plans.
Something went wrong when your best striker is playing for someone else. But having realised their mistake, Chelsea must give Lukaku a regular starting birth and tell him simply to carry on where he left off.
image: © Vladimir Maiorov