I want to see Pogba and Fernandes play together
Once again there is a lot of talk about Paul Pogba and his future. He hasn’t played for a long time, people are asking questions of him: does he wants to play, how long will it take for him to return, when he comes back will he be able to play with Bruno Fernandes, how will he fit into the team – these are all unanswered questions that sooner or later we will find out.
I want him to stay at United and I want to see him play alongside Fernandes and the team, if not there will always be a team waiting for Pogba, if that is Real Madrid, Juventus or someone else who knows, but he will fit in anywhere.
As a player when you are in a position where big teams want you to play for them it’s very flattering, it makes you feel special and you know that if things don’t work out in your current situation there is always someone there for you and that puts your mind at ease, but at the same time it isn’t peaceful and you have decisions to make.
The criticism Pogba gets is unfair and he, like some other players, get criticised just for the sake of it, it doesn’t matter what he does. He is doing everything he can to get fit and when he plays to help his team because I have seen first hand how he used to train with us as a boy, with ambition and the aspiration to be one of the best, so I don’t doubt his work ethic and desire to become even better. All he will want to do right now is play football, we are all human beings and as much as you try to avoid it, criticism always gets to you.
I would like to see Pogba get fit as soon as possible and not get injured again, so that he can do what he does best and we can see him play great football.
If he was to move, wherever he goes he will be fine.
He knows that if it isn’t working out that there is always a team waiting for him some place else and if he goes he’ll play and do well. Look at Romelu Lukaku, I mean what the f***? It didn’t work out for him at United and now he has been reborn at Inter, how do you explain that?
It’s human nature, sometimes you just don’t feel comfortable in one place because the criticism is too much, you close yourself off and don’t let people in. You think to yourself: ‘It doesn’t matter what I do, nobody appreciates it,’ then you move and you score 23 goals for your new club.
One thing I will say about the Real Madrid rumours is, don’t forget Zinedine Zidane is manager there and when you have a manager or other players from the same country you always speak and know that you will get on, especially speaking the same language, it makes you feel comfortable and that is not to be underestimated in this situation.
My Premier League highlights so far this season
Watford beating Liverpool
I remember watching this match and a lot of people were hoping for Liverpool to lose at some point, but I bet it surprised a lot of people when the final whistle went in this. In my opinion, when teams are on such a good run they are always going to lose against someone who you least expect to lose to, but Watford fully deserved to win that game.
I don’t know how they managed to do it. What they said before the game and at halftime, but the goals they scored and the performance of the whole team was quality. It could have been something to do with their situation in the league, they were fighting to survive and when you are up against the wall and you can’t get any further back you start to fight. They found their best moment to do that, against Liverpool.
Even when I was playing, for Tottenham, Man United or Fulham, the underdogs would cause an upset every now and then.
When I played for Fulham, I was so happy when we beat one of the bigger teams. I have always cherished underdogs and it is a great story when they beat the favourites, it’s a movie script, especially when it’s deserved. I bet none of the Watford supporters believed what was happening during that game against Liverpool.
The majority of people didn’t want to see Liverpool going unbeaten all season, I don’t know why. Coming from my point of view and a United point of view, it was a bit of a relief, but you cannot deny that up to that point they deserved to be uneaten. They were playing great football and fighting until the last minute. But, football is different to when Arsenal went unbeaten, teams are getting better and even the teams lower down the league can surprise you, like Watford did.
Ole one upping Pep
United’s league double over Manchester City
Very few people were expecting to see Manchester United beat Pep Guardiola’s Man City both home and away in the Premier League this season. To beat them twice was a big feat. I have said this before, but for me City are not the team they were last season, they are in the shadow of Liverpool and they know it.
Sometimes, that can play on your mind and it can affect the way you perform and the way you perform- if you are a clever enough opposition you will know how to use that and it was a perfect example of how to exploit City’s weaknesses.
The two league results against City are a real positive for the club, it gives the manager and players the chance to say: ‘You see, we are capable to beat the reigning champions and we can do it’. Yes, United have had some bad games this season but they have proven that they are fully capable of turning up and putting on a strong performance against one of the best teams in the league.
Sometimes, patience is a virtue, but when you work and follow you philosophy, in the case of Ole, at some point it will pay off.
Looking at both of the games against City in the league, I really enjoyed to 2-0 at Old Trafford. Both of them are results that need to be cherished and both of them brough points to the table, but the match at home was proof that the first result wasn’t a fluke, they proved themselves.
A star in midfield
United signing Bruno Fernandes
In the past I said that it might be difficult for United to sign top players, but in January they got their man and at the moment everything is working out which makes everyone happy, especially the player because he came in a moment where United were struggling. He had to adapt to his surroundings with new players, but he has taken to the team like a duck to water and he is doing great.
He is fully integrated into the team already, scoring goals, getting assists and with lots of self belief. He is showing responsibility and is looking for the ball which is what every midfielder should do. I was a bit worried in the beginning that it was too much for United to rely on just him, but their recent form and the unbeaten run shows that he has lifted the spirit and has given them a big lift.
The Blades’ cutthroat approach
This season Sheffield United have been my favourite team. They just bully teams, especially at home and they just don’t give a f***.
They go out there and try to play, they stick to one system and it works for them. They are great to watch, especially when they try to outplay bigger teams, and they have had some successes this season when they have come up against more experienced Premier League teams. They play with no fear, they go strong into every tackle, they play with lots of combinations and you really have to take your hat off to them. I have been cheering for them.
It’s very refreshing to see, and I’m sure even more so for United. I can imagine that no one gave them a chance to be in the position they are in now, so for the players, the staff and everyone at the club are very satisfied because they are proving what they can do and are showing that they are here to stay in the league. This team and their manager have been the standout of the season for me.
They have had some great results. I remember watching them go 2-0 down at Stamford Bridge and comeback to draw 2-2 with Chelsea, which showed that they aren’t afraid and bothered about being behind in games. It doesn’t matter to them, they have great spirit and their results speak for themselves.
City’s Champions League delights
Manchester City beating Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu
This was a great match against two big teams that know each other so well and it was all about patience and believing in yourself, knowing that even if they scored they would have enough time to score or win the game, which they did. City have lots of quality in their team so they don’t need to be bothered if a team goes ahead, when you have players like Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero, you are always confident that there will be goals, it doesn’t matter who they play.
It was a big win for them, Real Madrid are Real Madrid and it was the first time an English side won at the Bernabeu in 11 years.
We all know that City’s ambition is to win the tournament, and at some point they will, but they still need to play the second leg and even though it was a great result, 2-1 does not give them an automatic right to the next round. The Champions League has clearly been on the mind of Guardiola and the players for so long, of course they want to go further and win it, but are they capable of doing it with how they have performed overall this year? They still have big tests ahead.
Old school managers making a comeback
Back in the game: Mourinho and Ancelotti
First of all, it was sad to see Mauricio Pochettino get sacked at Spurs. It took everyone by surprise, but then on the other hand it was a highlight to see the club go for Jose Mourinho and get him. I didn’t expect it and it showed an intention from the club.
Mourinho came from United and he didn’t have a great end to his time there but he was still winning trophies, which is what Spurs need really bad and that was probably the main reason they went for him. He’s a proven name and one of the best in the world in the past 15 years. It’s still a bit to soon to judge the job he has been doing, or me he needs a full season before we start to judge the job he has done.
I think everybody was surprised to see Everton get Carlo Ancelotti, most people were expecting him to go to Arsenal, but he chose to go to Merseyside and it’s a big test for him.
He’s a big name and he has won so many trophies, maybe this is the main reason why they appointed him, to bring success. There has been an improvement in the way Everton are playing, but they have a long way to go to break into the top four or five. It’s a show of ambition from them and when they got him it was like they were announcing themselves.