Date: 29th January 2008 at 12:27am
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What made you support United mate?
I could make up a cute little story about some kind of childhood trauma or something… but the answer is simple: Eric Cantona. The way he was stamping his authority on the pitch all the time… unbelievable. He was the outstanding player of the Nineties in English football and it was impossible not to notice him.

Are you happy with how your season is going so far?
Yeah, reasonably. I never expected Arsenal to do so well so it’s a surprise they are breathing down our neck, and to be honest I’m still waiting for them to implode. We were impressive in the Champions League and of course we completed the annual beating of Villa in the FA Cup. Carling Cup embarrassment aside, we can be pleased. The highlight was the 6-0 drubbing of Newcastle but there’s more to come.

Fergie spent big money last summer, how do you rate the signings he made?
Well, Nani’s been erratic and inconsistent yet he’s capable of moments of brilliance but that’s what I expected of him. Hargreaves was solid in midfield but was terribly unlucky with his injuries. Tevez is the consistent goalscorer we hoped he would be but there’s something interesting: he’s scored eleven goals at Old Trafford and only one away from home – but as that’s come at Anfield I can’t complain! Anderson’s been a revelation so far. I mean, how on earth did this guy learn to play in central midfield at such a high standard? He’s got steel as well as skill, only the goals are missing but we have more than enough players to supply them.

He is running out of time but will he need more in January – if so will he be given the funds to get them?
We have already agreed a deal with Angola striker Manucho but it’s not certain if he will get a work permit. I think if we were in desperate need then funds would be available but the squad is strong, Fergie himself stated many times he does not think we need strengthening. Most United fans, myself included, believe it’s a risk not to sign a proven striker because relying on Saha’s glass legs to provide cover is not the wisest thing…

United are a classy side, full of quality so they are all dangers but who is the main United danger man that Pompey should watch?
Beware, you’ll probably be astonished: Rooney and Ronaldo are the main danger men. Surprised, eh? 🙂 They scored 46 goals between them last season and have 33 in the current one so they are set to surpass their own record… Whilst we have quality-attacking players, we suffer without them because the attacking play is built around these two. However, when they’re both in form, United are unplayable.

Where do you reckon United will finish this season?
I’ll be bold: if – and it’s a big if – we avoid serious injuries, we’ll retain the league title. It will be close but I think our squad is the best or at least better than Arsenal’s and in the case of Chelsea, forgive me if it looks like arrogance but my belief is that Avram Grant is not the man to outwit Fergie in a close title race.

What about Pompey?
We were linked with Muntari once and I can see why, he’s a class act in midfield. The Distin-Campbell pairing in central defence is impressive but your strikers are frustrating. I think everyone expected more from Nugent and while Kanu and Benjani are both good players, they are inconsistent. They score three in one game then disappear for three games. Fratton Park is a great place with a fantastic atmosphere but it’s not necessarily an advantage: teams are perhaps a bit intimidated by the atmosphere and set out to defend so you’d need deadlier attackers to break them down.

If you could take any Pompey player from our squad and put him in yours, who would it be and why?
We are short on cover in central defence so I would be ready to forgive Distin that he played for Citeh! And I’d gladly swap Kuszczak for James… but I think none of the two players I mentioned would be happy to sit on the bench at Old Trafford.

When we played at Fratton earlier in the season you dominated the first half, we dominated the second – did you fear getting beaten by Pompey at Fratton once again?
That was a great game. No offence but I think we should have put the result beyond doubt by half time. We created chances in the second half, too but were uncharacteristically shaky at the back. The best player of both team was sent off which was a farce in my opinion. And yes, it crossed my mind that we will lose again but that would have been hugely unjust… Last season’s game at Fratton Park was a cracker, I’ve never seen James doing so well before…

Go on – who is going to win, United or Pompey?
We’ve won all our home league games against Pompey since your promotion. This season we scored 25 and conceded only three at Old Trafford – and some of your best players are at the African Nations Cup. Despite your great away record, I predict a 3-1 home win.

Questions answered by Zae from Vital United.

PLAY UP POMPEY!

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