Opposition Focus: Manchester United


Image: Sky Sports

Matt Wiggins spoke to Manchester United  supporter Jay Motty from the YouTube channel Stretford Paddock to get a United perspective ahead of tonight’s game at the Cottage…

Fulham vs Manchester United, what comes to mind when you think of this fixture from years gone by?

This fixture tends to bring back mostly good memories, we’ve had some decent results down at Craven Cottage over the years but we’ve not always had it our own way, the time Rooney got sent off, the week after we’d lost to the Scousers to blow the title race wide open, is one that sticks in my mind. Thankfully the season if not that match had a happy ending. Another one is the 3-0 loss when we had a makeshift defence that massively backfired. The Owen Hargreaves free kick game was a happier memory.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been in charge for a few years now, and it is fair to say it’s not always been plain sailing. How would you describe his reign as boss so far?

It finally looks as though things are coming together for Ole, after his initial caretaker period where he more or less won every game, there was an awful spell. He was lucky he’d been handed the job permanently, as if he hadn’t, by the end of the season things may have been different. Last season was a mixed bag, which looked like it was going to disappoint, until Bruno Fernandes arrived, then it all became f*cking awesome and now we’re suddenly one of the best teams in the league. Unreal. I think Ole deserves credit for having a plan, moving certain players on, trusting the youth and making some astute signings.

United seemed as though they were crying out for improvements in the summer in order to challenge at the top again. How does the squad this season compare to the one that finished 3rd last season?

Donny Van De Beek hasn’t really had much of a chance but seems a useful player, the same with Alex Telles. We were crying out for a player like Edinson Cavani and although I wish we’d got him a few years earlier, he’s still a quality striker and probably gives the squad the much-needed edge it had over the one that finished 3rd.

At the time of writing, United are top by two points. Do you think you can keep this up and is the title the aim this season?

We should always aim to win trophies at United, even titles, but we need to be realistic, we finished 33 points off top last season so it’s a big ask to expect us to win the title. I don’t see us keeping it up and actually think finishing 3rd again wouldn’t be too shabby, especially considering how much Chelsea have spent. Ultimately though, as a United fan, you want to see trophies so I’d be happy if we lifted some silverware, any silverware this season – we’re spoilt but it’s been far too long.

Bruno Fernandes has seemed to be the difference for you in numerous games. How much do you rely on him and is it a worry if he gets injured?

We’re very reliant on him but that doesn’t mean we can’t be. In the past players like Ronaldo, RVP and Rooney have carried the team and in some cases stayed fit all season to help us win the title. If he does get injured then hopefully Paul Pogba and Van De Beek can step up but let’s not kid ourselves, any title chances would end if Bruno was out for any long period of time.

It’s fair to say United’s defence needed something different this season. There haven’t been massive wholesale changes so what is different about the back line this season?

Eric Bailly being fit has helped, plus DDG has regained his form which helps the defenders in front of him, we just need to cut out some of the silly mistakes, defending set pieces in particular. It’s infuriating at times.

Who’s one Manchester United player that Fulham will need to watch out for at the Cottage on Wednesday night?

Sorry to be unoriginal but it has to be Bruno Fernandes, he’s on a different planet and has taken a team that was 6th to the top of the table in a year, it’s daft.

Are there any Fulham players that you think can threaten United?

If I’m being completely honest with Decordova-Reid being suspended I don’t think there’s many who can. I may eat my words but maybe Lookman.

There are a number of players to have played for both sides. Who would you say is the best player to have played for both the Cottagers and United?

Edwin Van Der Sar is the best goalkeeper to ever play in the Premier League and anyone who says anything different is completely wrong.

What are your Top 4 and Bottom 3 predictions?

Top 4: City, LFC, United and Leicester.

Bottom 3: Sheffield United, Leeds and Fulham (sorry).

Finally, how do you see the game panning out and what do you think the score will be?

I think we’ll attack from the start and if you weather the initial storm, it could be a cagey affair where one goal – probably from Bruno – settles it. If we get an early one then it could be a bit one-sided but to be fair whenever I’ve seen Fulham recently, your defence seems pretty decent.

Thanks to Jay Motty from the YouTube channel Stretford Paddock for answering our questions.

Check out their Fulham match preview show here