TALKING FOOTBALL with Paul Kendrick

Jose Mourinho celebrates and (below) our man in the know Paul Kendrick
Jose Mourinho celebrates and (below) our man in the know Paul Kendrick

IT’S funny how the fixture list always seems to throw up quirky talking points to keep us amused.

This time last season, Latics returned from the international break and were convincingly beaten in Manchester (City last year, as opposed to United this), after Ali Al Habsi had saved an early penalty.

Paul Kendrick

Paul Kendrick

Twelve months ago, that defeat paved the way for a morale-sapping eight match losing run that ensured Latics spent the second half of the term fighting for their lives.

And after starting this campaign relatively brightly, it’s imperative Latics regain their form as quickly as possible to ensure they spend the rest of the campaign looking up towards mid-table rather than over their shoulders.

During that eight-match horror sequence, Fulham came to the DW and won 2-0 – and the Cottagers are in town this weekend for a game that is definitely marked: ‘Winnable’.

Games between the two sides have tended to be tight affairs down the years, with the previous five encounters in Wigan each ending all-square.

With Latics looking to get their home form going after a defeat and a draw so far, they’ll be looking for three points to steady the ship somewhat.

I firmly believe they’ll have too much for a Fulham side who don’t travel well.

Apart from the first 10 minutes against Chelsea and the final 40 minutes at Old Trafford, Latics have given as good as they’ve got so far.

And with another international break coming up next month, they’ll be looking at the next three matches – Fulham, Sunderland and Everton – as a good chance to put some points on the board.

THERE is possibly only one manager on the planet who could have got away with performing a knee-slide on to the pitch, as Jose Mourinho did on Tuesday night to celebrate Real Madrid’s last-minute victory over Manchester City.

Whenever players try that, they invariably muck it up and end up digging one knee into the pitch and stumbling into a lame forward roll.

Fair play to Jose – he would have received “6.0” across the board, whilst looking a million dollars in his club suit.

He’ll have to fork out to have it dry-cleaned, of course.

But after spilling steak-and-kidney pie filling down his lap on his first trip to Wigan in 2005, he should at least know the way.

ROBERTO Martinez reckons it’s time to scrap the handshake before Premier League matches – and I agree.

Something that was brought in to underline ‘Respect’ in the game has become a focal point for the opposite, and overlooks one key point – respect must be earned, not turned on and off like a tap for the cameras.