Wayne Rooney could return against Cardiff City alongside new signing Juan Mata
Manchester United welcome Cardiff City to Old Trafford and the return of a United legend. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer returns to face his former club for the first time as Cardiff manager. The Norwegian former forward notched up 126 goals for United, including that famous goal in the Nou Camp versus Bayern Munich in the 1999 European Cup final. Both clubs have done business recently with Brazilian defender Fabio signing on a permanent deal and Wilfried Zaha heading there on loan.
Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie both training with the first team yesterday and could make an appearance, however – Nemanja Vidic is still suspended from his sending off in the 3-1 defeat against Chelsea. Juan Mata is also set to make his debut for the club after signing from Chelsea for £37.1 million.
1) What have you made so far of Ole Gunnar Solskjær since taking over from Mackay? How do you think he’ll do under Tan?
Ole has impressed me since joining. Even after a defeat he smiles which makes me think it’s all going to plan! But the way he conducts himself has impressed me greatly. Regards to his relationship with Tan, it all depends on when the owner sticks his nose in again. Apparently Ole has been assured he’s in charge of football matters but you never know with this owner. Another goalless season for our keeper, failure to sign Messi or a failure to qualify for the World Cup with Cardiff could end up Ole’s reign here.
2) Many fans were disgusted by how Mackay was dismissing. Can you clear up any rumours as why he was sacked? Results? Back room staff conflict? Transfers?
In fairness there could be a lot of factors in the dismissal of Malky. Results were far from good, we were dropping like a stone. The playing style was awful. From the off we set up to not concede and hope to win 1-0, we very rarely did that. There was a back room conflict due to the sacking of Malky’s right hand man and replacing him with an unknown work experience guy. Transfers were also key with an apparent overspend of £15m. Cardiff did spend a lot over the summer and so far, the players just haven’t lived up to their price tags. Andreas Cornelius arrived for nearly £10m, injured himself and when he does come on, he doesn’t look like he’s ever seen a ball in his life. When you take a step back and take how Malky was treated out of it, sacking him wasn’t an awful decision.
3) Cardiff played well against a lacklustre United earlier in the season. How has your form been since and will you stay up?
Truly awful. Dire football and dire results. Since that game we have won one game. Pretty terrible stuff. However with signings coming in now and a new manager, things can only get better.
4) United fans are overjoyed in signing Juan Mata. What are your thoughts on him, will he push United to a top four finish and what is your take on January transfers (Wenger’s comments)
I really rate Mata. My dad is a season ticket holder at Chelsea and I go to watch them quite a bit. It’s a shame that he couldn’t fit in the system there but it’s certainly your gain. He is a phenomenal talent and something that maybe United need. It won’t solve all your problems but with him, RVP and Rooney, goals won’t be far away. I think there are 4 teams better than United this year and you won’t get champions league football! Sorry! But I don’t agree with Wenger, I rarely do. I can sort of see where he’s coming from but if Arsenal had signed Mata, would he have complained then?
5) What have you made of United under David Moyes and if you were manager, which players would you ship out.
United just don’t have the same edge anymore. Last week I wrote our trip to the Etihad off, we just weren’t going to win. With Old Trafford I no longer feel like it’s an impossible task. I really want to see us attack from the off. Moyes is a good manager but I still think you’re a player or two short. The only players that don’t really impress me are Young and Nani. Young is overrated I find and Nani is too inconsistent for a team of United’s quality and ambition.
6) Who has been your best and worst performer so far this season?
Best performer is David Marshall, the keeper. Won us points on his own. After our leaky defence has let us down, he can always pop up with a wonder save.
Worst performer is Peter Odemwingie. He’s the most frustrating player I’ve ever seen. He insists on taking five touches every time he receives the ball, regardless of where he is. It must be written into his contact that he has to take these touches as there’s no other logic reasoning. He’s been shipped out to Stoke now so at least I can stop punching my seat.
7) There is talk Fabio (permanent) and Zaha are on way to Cardiff. Happy with those signings? Where else do you need to strengthen?
In honestly I don’t rate Fabio that much. Was evident from the star that Rafael was the main man, and his brother didn’t impress me at QPR. Zaha can beat anyone on his day, but to me his day doesn’t come often enough. However we do need another winger and he’s probably a decent addition. Kenwyne Jones is arriving but we need a better striker than that. We’re severely lacking on the goal front. A left back wouldn’t go amiss either.
8) Where do you think United and Cardiff will finish respectively?
I think United will finish 5th. If Liverpool didn’t have Suarez, they’d get 4th but there’s just no stopping that chomping Uruguayan. I think Cardiff will finish 17th, just escaping the drop!
9) Who has been the best team you’ve watched this season against Cardiff and which player has stood out for you?
Arsenal in Cardiff probably. It was in the middle of that great run of theirs and they absolutely tore us apart. Aaron Ramsey came back to haunt us that day and went through our team like a hot knife through butter.
10) What will be the score?
2-1 Cardiff. Although the Fergie fear factor has gone, that’s still more out of hope rather than expectation.