Kevin Pilkington joined Yolkie for a quick chat about the form over the Christmas and New Year.
Kevin, hope you had a great Christmas and New Year, you certainly got the right results for Luton! We’ll get to that in a bit, let’s get down to United business. Starting with the good, we got comprehensive wins against Fulham and Wigan. The Fulham game in particular was fantastic – Rooney’s goal at the end was one of his very best, where would you put that among the great goals that he has scored for the club?
Yes, two great victories against two tough opponents! It was nice to see United play some good flowing attacking football and creating lots of chances. Rooney’s goal was fantastic but I’d still put his goals against City and Newcastle above it!
Against Wigan we scored another 5 goals but the formation and selection beforehand suggested that we might not do so well – Berbatov scored a hat-trick and went on to score two more against Blackburn to add to the goal he got at Fulham. With the kind of form he’s in, do you think he’s pushed himself back up the pecking order?
He showed last season what a fantastic goal scorer he is and I have been surprised by his lack of opportunities this season. He is a natural goal scorer who takes his chances in front of goal very well. I’m sure he has put himself back in the frame.
After a comprehensive win against Wigan, Fergie tinkered again and it went wrong – the midfield of Park and Rafael got bullied, while in-form Yakubu scored two in the Blackburn game and Ba scored that incredible goal… What was your opinion of why we lost against Blackburn & Newcastle?
Like you said, I think we got bullied. We lucked vulnerable against set pieces and long balls into our 18 yard box. Midfield is a massive problem. We haven’t looked the same since Cleverley got injured. No creativity and looks like we lacked pace in there.
Of course, De Gea was culpable for the winning goal for Rovers but he wasn’t helped by his defence. I know at the start of the season you did mention you wanted Stekelenburg as our number 1 – having seen half a season of De Gea and the way he has settled, are you convinced by him yet?
He is still very young for a goal keeper so I think we have to be patient with him. I just think he needs to understand that he is going to be tested aerially in most games, but the biggest thing for me is his size – I really think he needs to bulk up which I’m sure they are trying to do any way.
A couple of big stories have been floating around. You were at the club when Eric Cantona was suspended for the “kung fu” kick – three players were reportedly punished this week for a breach of club rules. Jonny Evans, Darron Gibson and Wayne Rooney apparently missed the Blackburn game because they broke a Boxing Day curfew – do you think it is important for the club to be seen to stick to its standards or do you think they should have some leniency? Many will say Rooney’s absence was why we lost against Blackburn…
It has always been the way. I saw people get punished for being out when I was there including myself so I can’t see there being a problem.
On a similar subject. Luis Suarez was found guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra, and Liverpool’s reaction has been just a bit baffling, especially after seeing the amazing FA document on the case. Do you think an eight game suspension is enough? And what do you think of the way Liverpool have responded?
They had a chance to appeal so if they thought he was not guilty surely they would have? I’m not sure how they can defend him if he has admitted to saying it…
Just like your former club you had two back to back 5-0 wins over Christmas, both of them over poor Kettering Town – you’re now in third, though the top two Fleetwood and Wrexham seem to be battling for the title, you look like you might have another crack at the playoffs and Wembley. How was it keeping clean sheets over Christmas? (More than can be said for a couple of the writers on this website!!)
Yes it was nice to have a couple of clean sheets over Christmas and two great performances from the lads. We need to keep the pressure up on the top two and hope they both have a bit of a blip. There are still plenty of games left yet so we won’t mention the play offs yet!
Thanks to Kevin again for his time. Follow him on Twitter.