Friday, 3 March 2017

Rival Lines: "I wouldn't mind Kasper Schmeichel at Utd," Old Trafford Faithful

Rival Lines
Match Preview: Man Utd v AFCB
Blogger Interview: Old Trafford Faithful
Twitter: @OTFaithful

This week I had a good conversation with Jason at the popular Old Trafford Faithful website ahead of AFCB's trip to the theatre of dreams. United are starting to get their act in order and a strong finish to the season could still see them winning three cups and perhaps a top four Premier League position, so the gulf in class to the Cherries seems as immense as ever. But does that make United fans pleased with Jose Mourinho?

CC: If Utd won both domestic cups, but didn't win the Europa League and come fifth in the Premier League, would you still see this as a successful season, having missed out on the Champions league again?

OTF: I think we’ve been so lucky as Manchester United supporters recently, and our hunger for success is huge. The last three years have been a real reality check for us, and winning the FA Cup after going trophy-less for a few years was absolutely superb. The EFL Cup win this weekend was so sweet, and I’d be overjoyed if we win retain our FA Cup title. Surely, that has to be considered a success?

CC: Man Utd have a heavy schedule and Jose Mourinho has not been slow in letting everyone know about it, but are their many Utd players that should be getting more game time who will benefit from this situation?

OTF: Jose has chopped and changed quite a lot recently and everyone is getting plenty of minutes. Sergio Romero has been the biggest benefactor recently and he’s more than taking those chances. I’d love to see Luke Shaw get a look-in, but Jose just doesn’t fancy him...

CC: When do you think the season rally started for Man Utd this season, because it wasn't a great start and why do you think the team were slow starters in the League?

OTF:  Zlatan Ibrahimovic without question. I dread to think where we’d be without his goals in the big moments. He’s been wonderful for us. In terms of someone who has really got things going for us, I’d look firmly in the direction of Henrikh Mkhitaryan. He’s brought some flair and creativity to the table, and he’s really began chipping in with goals and assists.

BB: Has all the talk about Rooney's record club goal talk and media gossip about China actually taken some of the attention off of how well Mourinho now has the side playing?

OTF: First of all, I’m delighted that Wayne Rooney has broken the record. He’s given his absolute all for this club for well over a decade, and he deserves it. Jose is the master of distraction and taking the eyes of the media off his players and it seems to be working well right now. With that said, I wouldn’t mind Rooney leaving for China as the performance levels haven’t been there.

CC: Has Mourinho fully won over the Man Utd supporters or does he need a couple of good seasons to be considered a special manager for the Red Devils?

OTF: We love him. Since the day the appointment was made I think we all knew he’s the right guy for the job. His track record speaks for itself and he’s already one of the best bosses this country has ever seen. We’re lucky to have him, and I’ve no doubt the glory days will return under his guidance.

CC: If David de Gea leaves this summer would you be in favour of Kasper Schmeichel being signed by Utd?

I like Kasper Schmeichel and I think he’s a proper top quality goalkeeper. The thought of David de Gea leaving is absolutely frightening though. In my eyes, he’s the best in the business and it’d be impossible to replace him. I wouldn’t mind Kasper at United, and he’d surely attract a lot of attention if the unthinkable happens at Leicester.

CC: In the last three Premier League matches for Man Utd you have faced mid-to- lower placed teams in Watford, Leicester and Hull. Clean sheets have followed in these games, so the real test for Utd will come when they play the top five - or do you worry about them slipping up against a side like Bournemouth?

OTF: We’ve dropped plenty of points against those lower placed teams. Look at Stoke City both home and away, and even Burnley at home earlier in the season. There is always a little bit of a worry but that’s just the pessimist in me!

CC: Ibrahimovic never seems to do much running, but the ball comes to him like a magnet in the box, so do you see younger strikers at the club picking up things form him or is he just unique with a very different game to the likes of Rashford and Lingard?

OTF: I think one of the reasons we brought Zlatan in is purely down to the effect he can have on our youngsters. Imagine being a 19-year-old kid like Rashford learning from one of the best in the business? It’s insane.

CC: Who would you say has been Utd's best defender this season and is it an area where you'd like to see changes next season?

OTF:  Eric Bailly. 100%. I didn’t expect much from him when Jose made the move over the summer, but he’s been absolutely sensational. He’s quick, always on the front foot and he just doesn’t give the opponents a sniff. That said, we look rather light in that area with just Bailly, Jones, Smalling and Rojo - particularly when Rojo and Smalling have been playing so poorly recently.

CC: What do you make of AFC Bournemouth's prospects for staying up this season?

OTF: Ask me this a fortnight or so ago and I would’ve said it was a foregone conclusion that you’d stay up. Now, I’d be a little concerned to say the least. Their form has to be alarming for the fans, and they haven’t been good defensively recently. Now I’ve said that, put your money on Bournemouth keeping us quiet this weekend...

CC: I don't think Old Trafford Faithful are alone in not wanting to bet who is going to face the drop this season - hopefully AFCB will put in an inspired performance to get more points on the board soon. I was glad to hear that Kasper Schmeichel is now seen as a worthy keeper to come to Man Utd now, at least in the opinion of Jason at Old Traffod Faithful, but I wonder national papers have not pressed this question a bit more of late - especially seeing how well he has played in the Champions League. AFCB of course are perhaps thinking of a change in the goalkeeper line up next season and we could do with Artur Boruc marking his retirement from the Poland team with a shot stopping master class in front of the Red Devils. Many thanks to Jason and please see what he makes of their League Cup win at Old Trafford Faithful - I get the feeling he fancies Utd beating two south coast teams back to back!

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