We caught up with Danny Higginbotham to discuss Chelsea’s victory over Manchester United and the launch of his autobiography.
Before the game you felt United could have some joy in certain areas – what do you think went wrong? Is it as simple as saying the injuries did for us?
I think Chelsea set up well with Matic and Zouma as the defensive midfielders and allowed Manchester United have the ball but not in areas that would really hurt Chelsea. Chelsea were happy to play more as the away team and their goal came against the run of play.
Mourinho believed that it was a comfortable victory and outlined the reasons why afterwards. Is that simply gamesmanship on his part – we dominated possession but it’s fair to say we didn’t create too many opportunities…
Have said it on many occasions. For me Mourinho is one of the best managers tactically he will always treat each game individually and what he does very well is make oppenents danger men their weakness which is all credit to him. Chelsea kept Manchester United at arms length and were happy to defend deep and not allow Manchester United to get in behind them.
We can’t be too downbeat because 12 points from Spurs, Liverpool, Villa, City and Chelsea would have been accepted beforehand. You have to take positives from defeat, is the biggest positive yesterday that we turned up and took the game to them?
Definitely. Chelsea have been the best team in the premier league this season and fully deserve the title. Manchester United now look like a team that can challenge for the title next season. The players now understand Van Gaal philosophy and all players playing when a fit squad are playing in their best positions which wasn’t the case earlier on in the season.
Injuries meant that Rooney had to shift position and that gave Falcao an opportunity to shine. It would be fair to say he didn’t take it. You’ve been vocal about both Rooney and Falcao being similar players of late, does it look like the Colombian’s time is up at the club for you?
Will be very difficult to put a case forward to sign him. Forwards are judged on goals and he hasn’t done enough on that front. I think the injury he had has really affected him and he is in the transitional period playing style wise. He has lost that yard therefore he can’t get behind defences like he used to so now he is trying to change and become a centre forward that comes to the ball.
Another player who has had some criticism in the press has been Luke Shaw, but he was arguably our best player on Saturday. Does that give us an insight into the mentality of the squad – that when they get the opportunity, they are now anxious to impress and keep their place?
Van Gaal has shown that if you get the shirt and do well you stay in the game. That’s all a player can ask for. There should always be competition for places at a club like Manchester United if there is not then it’s a big problem.
Still fancy us for at least fourth?
Yes, without question. It’s Manchester Uniteds to throw away now. All you can ask is that it’s in their hands and it is now
Finally, a quick one, you were at Stoke yesterday for a signing for your autobiography. The phrase ‘thanks for taking us to Wembley’ was uttered more than once or twice. It must have been great to be back?
It was very nice but not something I’m comfortable in doing really. All the things that were said to me are from the past and I want to always look forward. I had fantastic times at Stoke that I will never forget but I hate the phrase ex footballer. I want to be known now as a successful man in the media. Football was very kind to me but like I say them days are gone although fantastic memories.
You can order signed copies of Danny Higginbotham’s autobiography through RetroUnited.com by clicking here.