Former United goalkeeper and current Notts County goalkeeping coach Kevin Pilkington joins us to give us his thoughts on the defeat at Everton last night.
United didn’t seem to learn their lessons from last season or maybe just couldn’t; Fellaini absolutely dominated them in the air. Do you think it as just a blip against a player we seem to have no answer to, or are the problems more serious?
No, it was not the greatest of starts, eh! I think he really steps his game up against United. I thought he was absolutely fantastic and we didn’t have an answer to dealing with him. But I don’t think the problem is that serious and it was nice to see Vidic back. It didn’t help that all our other centre halfs are out injured.
Perhaps a more pressing concern, then, was that after the goal we barely created an opportunity; van Persie came on and was pretty poor, but Rooney was shocking… again, surely too early to read too much into that initial game? People forget Yorke and Cole needed a second chance of playing together before everything just “clicked”…
I think it is way to early to be panicking. Robin van Persie was only on for half an hour and for the partnership to work it needs longer than that. I’m sure in the weeks to come it will come to fruition. I was very disappointed with Rooney and Nani but hopefully that is just rustiness.
Bright spots from the game included Kagawa and De Gea’s performances… last year you said you would have preferred Stekelenburg, but having had the full year to assess De Gea and see how far he’s come, do you feel he’s matured into our number one?
Kagawa really impressed me. He looked so composed on the ball and settled into the team very quickly. As for De Gea I thought he was superb from shot stopping, dealing with crosses and his distribution. He has proved a lot of people wrong including me and I’m happy about that.
Nothing to say Carrick or Valencia played particularly poorly – well, that is to say they didn’t “cost us the game” with their performance – but do you think our lack of fight was down to the fact that our shape was badly hit? Perhaps people underestimate the positional sense and awareness of top class defenders and what an impact that can have on a team.
When you have a centre midfielder playing at centre half and a right winger playing right back it is going to effect the balance of the team. Their natural instinct isn’t to defend and they will occasionally get caught out.
United can pick themselves up and dust themselves off, and they normally react well to defeat, but their next opponents are Fulham who just won their first game 5-0. Do you think it will be a lot tougher than many think it could be?
Every game is a tough one especially when you have been beaten and you are welcoming a team who have had a big victory but we all know how United respond. They will be out to right all the wrongs and I fully expect a victory for United.
The season’s started well for you personally at Notts County; how has your first pre-season as a coach been, and how satisfying was it to get off to a win in League One?
It’s been a very strange pre season! It feels weird standing and watching the players doing the running and I genuinely miss it! On the other hand I’ve really enjoyed working with our new keeper Bartosz who has settled in really well and I’ve really been impressed with his attitude and desire to do well. The two young boys have been great as well. Yep a good 3 points on Saturday. It would have been a lot easier had we not gone down to 10 men but the lads showed a great work ethic and fighting spirit. Hopefully another three points tonight!