Former United goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington gives his thoughts on the battering of Birmingham City.
United were in control after just 91 seconds; and although Kevin was happy with how we started, he was also glad to see us seize the initiative. “I thought United were excellent against Birmingham,” said our former stopper. “It always helps to get an early goal but also sometimes you sit back. But United went for their throat. The movement and passing was brilliant and it was a joy to watch.”
Of course, one player stood out. Dimitar Berbatov scored his third treble of the season, and Kevin was quick to sing his praises. “Berbatov’s all round performance was great and to get a hat-trick as well tops it off. He’s just so composed on the ball he seems to have so much time to do what he wants. And his finishes for all three goals were top drawer.”
The forward is often described as “languid” and there have been murmurs, even among United supporters, that he should do it against the “bigger teams”. It’s not a theory Kevin buys into. “I think he’s having a fantastic season. In the past he’s had the tag of being lazy but I think that’s unfair on him. He does his work in the right areas – don’t get me wrong – he’s never going to chase a full back the length of the pitch ! It’s mentioned that he excels in the so called “smaller games”, but I just think that’s where he’s got that ruthless streak.”
One player who certainly can’t be described as having a ruthless streak is Wayne Rooney. There have been glimpses since United put Blackburn to the sword that Rooney is approaching his best form again. Kevin concurs. “I thought Rooney played really well yesterday, he did everything apart from score which he he had a great chance to do! His work rate and approach play was superb and he had a hand in three goals. The touch from the Van Der Sar kick was unbelievable.” And, Kevin believes that a familiar trait of Rooney’s may be just around the corner. “Once he starts scoring he won’t stop.”
Birmingham were poor but that shouldn’t detract from United’s powerful performance. However, the Red Devils really need to put together some momentum, and need to do that by changing track this season and getting an away win to build on Saturday’s performance. Not that it will be easy, with Blackpool the next opponents. Ian Holloway’s team have been a revelation and Kevin acknowledges that. “Blackpool will be a tough game. I have loved watching them this season and have great respect for Ian Holloway and his players. No one gave them a chance at the start of the season and they have proved every one wrong. They won’t sit players behind the ball on Tuesday night they will have a right go. So I’m expecting a high scoring game but with United just having too much.”
You’ll be able to read Kevin’s reflections on the Blackpool game on Wednesday.