Mikael Silvestre Exclusive

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On Man United v Liverpool Friendly

Does this result yesterday show that Man United can compete with Liverpool and Man City in the league or are they still needing to focus on fighting for top four with Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea?

“It’s always good to start on a positive note. It shows that players applied themselves and are trying to apply what has been done in the first couple of weeks.

“It’s good because it’s in front of fans who don’t get to see them a lot and being able to deliver a good victory is always positive.”

 

Jadon Sancho had a great game involving scoring a goal, is this the year he can regularly contribute to Man United’s success?

“He’s picking it up where he left it last season where there was already progress. He will show that he’s worth all the expectation, so I’m quite positive about his momentum and his season if he keeps fit.”

 

Do you think Liverpool will be less competitive without Sadio Mane next season? Although it was just a pre-season game, it was quite a convincing loss.

“Mane was top class and that’s why they took Luis Diaz to plan for the future. With Darwin Nunez being another addition in the space of six months, they’ve already recruited two players to cover his departure.

“Liverpool over the last few years have been able to maintain the same level of competitiveness. Good luck to Mane and I’m sure he’s delighted all the PL fans and Liverpool fans over the years.”

 

Mane’s replacement, Darwin Nunez, didn’t have the best of debuts, do you think he may need a little more time than Luis Diaz to settle at his new club?

“Darwin just joined and those pre-season games you have to take into account that they’re still doing pre-season training and they’re not fully fit or fully rested.”


On Man United

Cristiano Ronaldo currently the main point of speculation at the moment- is it important for Man United to keep hold of him, despite him not joining the pre-season tour?

“It will best if Cristiano stays as he’s an important figure in the dressing room. He showed he can deliver and score goals and he’s still top class.

“Cristiano in a good mood and in good form is a big asset for United and he will be for the new manager.”

 

Harry Maguire to remain as Man United captain. Do you think this is the right decision?

“At this moment, there’s not a lot of players who are distinguished and who could be captain straight away.

“It’s easy to have continuity with Harry as he’s respected in the dressing room.

“We need to give him time to get back to his best so it’s the right call at the moment for the manager.

“What United have is many players who are leaders,Cristiano, Bruno, Varane or David could all be captains.You have all these experienced guys who have to takeresponsibility.”

 

Frenkie De Jong to Man United is now looking unlikely – what do Manchester United have to do to attract the top talent once more?

“I think right now if players have the choice between the domestic winners or United, they might be tempted to go to the other club.

“Right now, the top players want the Champions Leagueso the club isn’t the best proposition that’s for sure.”

 
Is Eriksen a good signing?

“It looks like Eriksen could be a replacement for Juan Mata. In terms of quality and the mentality, he’ll be a great addition to this group of players.

“It’s a good signing as he knows the Premier League and his style of play suits Ten Hag’s.”

 

If you could sign one player realistically for United, who would it be?

“Right now the priority is in midfield. Everybody knows that.

“A player that has the ability to defend and attack. This summer there needs to be replacements, but you named De Jong so who else?”

 

Is Scott McTominay good enough to be starting holding midfielder after his problems last season?

I think he had a difficult season, like most of the team!

I think he has enough qualities to feature for Manchester United and a solid servant for the club from the Academy.

In terms of top quality midfield players? There are other players in the market that should come ahead of him, however into a rotation he can definitely add value.

Scott can be a starter but ideally you want someone with better quality in the middle of the park to bring the team into contention for the top spot in the Premier League.


On Arsenal

William Gallas said that Mikel Arteta failed last season, what do you make of his assertion?

“If you measure the achievement on qualifying for the Champions League, then probably.

“But we need to remember where they started, where they finished the season before and how hard the beginning of the season was.

“This season they need to improve on consistency in 90 minutes and from one game to another.”

“Mikel is still young but he definitely needs to finish above Conte next season.”

 

Jesus has made a good start to pre-season, scoring twice. Will he be able to compete with the likes of Harry Kane, Salah and Haaland next season?

“It’s a good addition, but I still don’t see him as a top goal-scorer or a finisher.

“He’s got so much to his game but right now he’ll just have to try and replace Aubameyang or Lacazette.

“It’s going to take him time to become that number nine because at City, they had Aguero and he didn’t establish himself when he left as the main number nine.”

 

Plenty of links as well - Youri Tielemans and Lucas Paqueta heavily linked. How much of an influence would these players have in taking Arsenal back to the Champions league?

“Both Tielemans and Paqueta are very good midfield players who have been performing well. They have the qualities to play for Arsenal.

“They could be good signings and they suit Arsenal’s style of play.”

 

Kante has also been linked, is he a must for Arteta?

“N’Golo could go to United, too. I don’t know why his name is being linked away but for me he’s blue and blue.

“He could play anywhere and in any of the top teams in Europe.

“He showed last season he’s still on top of his game.”

 

Gabriel linked with moves away for a lot of money. How big of a loss would he be? And, are Ben White and Rob Holding good enough to be Arsenal’s main CB pair? If not, who should Arsenal bring in?

“I hope Gabriel stays because he was looking good and it’s important to have two centre-backs to work together, so it’d be a big loss for Arsenal.

“I like Rob but he’s not up to the same level as Gabriel and he wouldn’t be as strong with Ben at centre-back.”


On Wayne Rooney

Are you surprised that Rooney has gone to DC United and is he destined for Everton or Man United?”

“I’m not shocked that he’s joined DC United as he knows the club really well and there was the opportunity to go there straight away.

“When you are managing the kind of clubs like Everton or Man United, the club even comes first over family so it has to be his full focus.

“He should take his time to master his craft and focus on a big move later on.

“His time will come if he continues his progress.”


On France

Is Mbappe to the Premier League now a possibility again after he signed a new deal?

“It looks like he shut the door on Real Madrid but I’m sure he’d enjoy the Premier League.

“It’s a special league and he could fit it any club there, he’s one of those types of players who could play with any type of manager.

“Pep, Klopp - all of them. He knows how to adapt and keep his own strengths.”

 

What went wrong for Pogba?

“Things went wrong when he wasn’t able to leave when he wanted to.

“You can say he signed a contract and should stay professional, but when you’re not happy it’s hard to lie to yourself.

“The injuries, too, but it’s frustrating because we’ve seen the glimpses of quality so it’s a waste for both Pogba and United.”


On Inter Milan

You obviously had a spell at Inter and must have a soft spot for the club, do you think Antonio Conte can do what he did at Inter and steer Spurs to the title?

“Spurs have signed some good players and Conte is a winning machine wherever he goes,

“The Arsenal fans can be worried, that’s for sure, because it’s his full second season and he’s had his frustrations but when all the players train with him, they get results.

“Spurs certainly have the upper hand over Arsenal, we have to be realistic.”


On Koulibaly 

You used to be a defender yourself, how do you rate Koulibaly and is it a good signing for Chelsea?

“It’s a good signing for Chelsea. He’s top class.

“He’s going to bring power and when you lose Rudigerand Christensen, I don’t think there was a lot of better options than him as he has balance, consistency and he could help them challenge for the title.”


Top four prediction?

Who are you backing to finish in the top-four this season?

“For me the final top four will be the same as last season. So Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham.”

 

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V: 1.10.0 All rights reserved. August 2021
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