Former Manchester United goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington joins us to talk about the recent games against Stoke City, Chelsea, Liverpool, and more…
It’s been a few weeks since we had chance to catch up.. against Stoke, we achieved a routine 2-0 win – the highlights being an assured performance from Ben Amos on his Premier League debut and another masterclass from Paul Scholes in midfield. Tony Pulis thought that both penalties were harsh; what did you make of the game, and of Amos’ first league game?
I thought it would be a tougher game than what it turned out to be. United looked very comfortable and I thought the two pens were the correct decisions. It’s the first time I’ve really seen Ben play and I was very impressed. Although he didn’t have that much to do what he did do he did very well. He looked calm and assured and he looks to have a great future.
Scholes’ performances have been something special; after the Stoke game, the stat was that he had completed 324 passes out of 343 (94.6%). There are stories that Sir Alex might try and persuade him to stay on for another full season – is that asking too much, or do you think he could continue to play at this level for another 17/18 months?
It has showed what a big loss he was to the team. It’s no coincidence that we have started playing a lot better since his return! He just runs and controls games, he is like a quarter back just setting up attacks. I think he has missed it and will want to play next season now. I for one hope he does because he is a joy to watch.
Then we had the thriller at Chelsea. David De Gea was recalled despite Amos not doing anything wrong; I know you have said before that the Spaniard wasn’t your first choice to succeed Edwin van der Sar, but what do you make of some of the criticism he has got? Over the top? And what did you make of that outstanding save at the end of the game?
I think there has been some unfair criticism but also he has made mistakes – it’s a big learning curve for him. The style of play and the physical side of the game is completely different than in Spain and he will be learning every day. The save at the end was magnificent and wasn’t United a point which they deserved, to be honest I thought they would win the game once they got the 1st goal. Once again showing the never die attitude that has been made famous under Sir Alex.
All goals came from areas where Patrice Evra could have perhaps done better; it seemed as if he had picked up his form lately too. Is it time to think about replacing him? Or, because he’s captain, would you keep him in?
I think he hasn’t been at his best for a couple of months but saying that he is still a top player. You do have these spells as a player and you just have to get your head down and try and work through it. I’m sure all the headlines won’t really be helping either.
Onto the Chelsea game itself; after terrible defeats against City and Newcastle and that awkward performance against Blackburn, the team needed to show character to prove itself in the title race. The comeback was so very typical of United; what did you make of the game?
Like I said earlier I thought they would win the game after getting the 1st goal back. They were unlucky to find themselves 3 down after being the better team for most of the game. They will be disappointed at the manner of the goals but showed great spirit once again to get back into the game. It’s nice to see Rooney getting his goals and also De Gea getting some positive headlines.
It was certainly breathtaking – after such a game, is your glass half empty or half full as we head into the run in?
I’m very positive as most United fans will be. We are in a great position and the players know what it takes to win the league. The likes of Giggs and Scholes will be big influences in the changing room and will be very demanding in the coming weeks. Hopefully we will be celebrating 20!
Since we last spoke we’ve also had the anniversary of the Munich disaster. We ran an interview with the grandson of Harry Gregg, who was of course a hero of that tragic occasion. When you were at United, how familiar were you with Harry’s story, and how much of an honour was it to be one of his successors?
Obviously it is a massive part of United. You were made aware of it as soon as you joined. It was a great honour to represent the club both on and off the field and I feel privileged to follow in Harry Gregg’s footsteps.
Are you glad to see the back of Liverpool for another season? What were your views on the refused handshake and Dalglish’s reaction after? Are the apologies enough, or would you have liked to have seen Evra given a personal apology?
Thought he was bang out of order! You would have thought he was the innocent party in all of this. To be honest this should have been taken care of months ago but the way Liverpool have handled it has been laughable. When the shirt sponsors have to step in and start demanding apologies it’s a sad state of affairs.
The game itself was a stormy affair too – two Rooney goals early in the second half settled it. Do you think we deserved the win?
Yes I do think they deserved to win I thought they dominated the game up until the last ten minutes when Liverpool started chasing the game. Another two good goals from Rooney and Scholesy running the game again. Happy days!!
Rooney’s double added to the argument that he is becoming a major player in big games for us; he’s scored in wins over Arsenal twice, scored against Spurs and at City in the Cup, led the fightback at Stamford Bridge and won the game on Sunday. Any money on him for player of the season?
That’s a difficult one! No one is really standing out to me at the moment, I’ll have to have a think about that one… Jones, Rooney and a late shout for Scholes!