It was a result that saw United at our lowest point of the season; defeated in our greatest rivals back yard, no cause for complaint with the result yet plenty of justified anger about their approach. Kevin Pilkington joined me in the recriminations.
Yolkie : Normally when we do these we try and keep in an optimistic tone. However it’s difficult to do that after a performance like yesterday. Obivously we were poor but it seems like the players currently available to us seem only able to win after taking the lead or dictate a draw; neither are bad traits but United are famed for being able to chase games, and in all of our recent league defeats, that seems to have been the common factor. What was the most disappointing thing for you yesterday?
Kevin : Very disappointed after yesterday’s result! Like you said we didn’t look like getting back in the game after we went one down. The biggest disappointment for me was the lack of leadership, usually that would come from Vidic or Rio but obviously they were missing so you need other players to step up to the plate. There seemed to be a lack of fight which is not like a United side at all.
Yolkie : When even van der Sar is having a stinker you know it’s going to be a bad day… Do you think it’s a bit unfair that some fans are singling out the same old scapegoats (Carrick, Berbatov) again?
Kevin : Edwin didn’t have the best of games but he wasn’t the only one! In my opinion only Smalling can come out of yesterday with any credit. He has been excellent in Rio’s absence. Berbatov started quite well and I was expecting a big game from him but it didn’t materialise. Carrick is very frustrating, a very talented player but doesn’t show it often enough. I just wish he would play forward a bit more, he never really hurts the opposition with a pass. But you can’t just blame them because it was poor all over the pitch and we gave away goals which just isn’t like United at all.
Yolkie : It’s a sign of the times; a United side that looked average defeated by an even worse Liverpool side who were simply more committed with an average striker scoring a hat-trick that was basically gift wrapped to him and sent by special delivery. Coming after the Chelsea game and a string of poor performances; are we able to put this down to a bad day at the office or a sign of something more concerning!
Kevin : You can’t keep putting it down to bad days. Even though United are top they haven’t been playing well. Which in one way shows their strength in character but against the top teams you’ll get found out. You can’t concede sloppy goals like yesterday and expect to win. I still think we will win the league and hopefully this will be a kick up the backside to get us going!
Yolkie : Can’t really let this chat go without mentioning Phil Dowd. Much was made of Wayne Rooney’s elbow yet the media turned on Ferguson after Martin Atkinson’s ineptitude at Stamford Bridge. It creates a culture where the reckless behaviour of tackles towards United players is not only encouraged but applauded and rewarded after the event by the media’s glossing over it. But what Jamie Carragher did on Nani was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen on a football pitch. Giving him a yellow invited Maxi Rodriguez to go into a lunge on Rafael, provoking his hot headed reaction. What’s your view of the Carragher incident? And, as a side point, what is your view on dangerous tackles? A lot of people seem to have said Nani “over-reacted” and that it was only a “gash”. Surely the dangerous nature and intent of the tackle is more significant than the injury… it’s only sheer fortune that Nani’s leg wasn’t broken in half.
Kevin : I listened to the the radio this morning and Carragher’s tackle wasn’t even mentioned unlike last weeks incident with Rooney! I thought all three tackles were shocking (Rafael ) but Carragher’s was the worst by a mile. I saw a photo of the tackle and he was no where near the ball. It might have only been a gash but that sort of tackle can end peoples careers. I don’t know where players learn how to tackle now days but in my eyes if you go in two footed or over the ball its a cowards way. I used to watch Stuart Pearce play and he never tackled like that! All three should have been sent off.
Yolkie : Last week I wrote at length about consistency of refereeing and that I in no way agreed with what Rooney did. I would have had no cause for complaint had he been banned, but that was a moment of idiocy, a flashpoint that wasn’t ever intended to ruin someone’s career. Certainly, Carraghers assault was far more serious than what Rooney did… as I just described it, it was more an attack. What’s your view on retrospective punishment and should the rules be changed?
Kevin : I think there should be a panel of ex players who look at incidents like Rooneys and Carragher’s and sit down with the authorities and decide what punishments to hand out. Ex players know what’s a late or mid timed tackle and what is reckless. It would be nice to hear what the two referees thought of the incidents after seeing them again. I think they should be allowed to be interviewed after games. Players and managers are after they make a mistake or lose a game.
Yolkie : The good news – and it is good news – is that players should be returning. Park, Anderson, and probably crucially now, Valencia, are all on their way back while Vidic and Ferdinand *should* be around for the Arsenal game. At times like this it’s probably better for United to have a week off… Fergie refused to speak to the media before the game because of what was made out of his comments after Chelsea and he demanded no-one speak to the press after yesterdays result. Give us an insight into what he’ll be feeling or how he’ll react… he’s got to be furious at how we played but also will presumably use the press’ reaction – particularly to Nani’s injury – to create a siege mentality…?
Kevin : Sir Alex will have had a right go at the players after the game but he will never do it in public. He will back his players 100 percent in front of the press and rightly so. Having Park back will be a massive bonus as I think United miss his energy especially in games like yesterday. Also having Valencia back will be a huge boost – more so if Nani is out for a while. Sir Alex will definitely create that mentality and it has always worked in the past. Still a long way to go this season and a lot to play for. Keep the red flag flying high!