Following a big win against Brentford, we caught up with former Manchester United and England ace Paul Parker. He discussed the game against Brentford and what his expectations are like for the upcoming game against Brighton & Hove Albion. He further talked about his verdict on Ralf Rangnick following his appointment as the coach for the Austrian national team, the rumours about a new Paul Pogba deal and why James Ward-Prowse would be a £100m target. Lastly, we asked about Cristiano Ronaldo and what’s next for Chelsea.

What did you make of Manchester United’s performance against Brentford? Who surprised you the most and who was the biggest disappointment? 

“First of all, the performance over 90 minutes was their best one for a long, long while.“

“I couldn’t tell where there was a better one of what I’ve seen of late, nor consistent over a 90-minute period.“

“Once they got that first goal, I just think Brentford lost their belief, I was just really surprised about it. United dominated in a certain way. It wasn’t great, it was still laboured. But Brentford just didn’t have any points about them and there were moments when Brentford could have won the game when they could have maybe made a difference, but didn’t show enough purpose really.”  

“Brentford didn’t give as much as they normally give. I think if you look at it individually I would say that Ronaldo had his best 90 minutes. He was tracing back, winning challenges after he had lost the ball. Demanding of other people to come and cover him when he was going to close people down at the top end.”   

“So, I looked at him and he tried to lead by example to be perfectly honest, which is a hard task for some of the players that were there because they are not really in that mindset to go and do that. So, I would say Ronaldo stuck out more than any other Manchester United player.”   

 

Brighton is up next. What are your thoughts on this match?

“I think what is important is when United get the ball back and what they are going to do with it. Brighton is a side that is going to dominate the ball and have better ideas than what Brentford had. At the moment in time, they are having a decent run and they hit their best points total ever in the top division. I’m sure they are going to go for more.” 

“They believe they can beat Manchester United, especially with their recent results as well. They are scoring goals, which is, for them, it’s a surprising one, because that’s the thing that they’ve always lacked.” 

“I would say that United have got a very, very difficult game coming up, to be perfectly honest. A really, really difficult game to decide the end of the season. Brighton is enjoying it now and they are safe by a long way, they try to set records. So it’s about who wants it the most.” 

“When you look at it, at the moment in time, given the way United have been the whole season, I gotta say that Brighton seems like a side who wants it more than United.”    

 

Ralf Rangnick has taken on the Austria national team. Did you think Manchester United made a mistake with him?

“We can look at that now and say maybe his mind might be elsewhere. Maybe he’s looking at it and thinking to himself, maybe Manchester United is not the job for him. That’s why he may be looking at it and maybe looking like it isn’t going to work out and he’s going to something else.” 

“If you look at performances and results it hasn’t gone his way. I don’t think that anyone is going to blame him for that.” 

“I think what people like about him is that he’s actually coming out and saying what all the problems are. Which I’m sure has made him very, very unpopular with a lot of the players cause a lot of them can’t deal with criticism.” 

“No one likes criticism. It’s impossible to like criticism. But it is more about you having to deal with it yourself and trying to prove a person wrong. I think that it is more about a lot of players who would rather sulk about it wince to their friends or the press, whatever.” 

“So a lot of United fans are praising him because he’s letting them know, he’s actually asking questions and letting the fans know what’s going on. I don’t think he’s going too far, but he’s saying all the stuff that the fans wanna know about. He’s answering questions that the fans have been asking rather than hiding behind things.” 

“He’s saying all of that and he’s respected for that. And for the incoming manager, I think he’s making his job easier as well by highlighting everything to him. I’m sure there’s more that’s been highlighted that hasn’t come out.”

“He is painting a picture of what he’s walking into. Something that other managers have never really had before. They kinda got in there and had a fair idea because of their experiences of managing dressing rooms, managing players, or coaching players. So, I think in certain ways, he’s done a good job. He’s never going to be held responsible for the results and the performances because, you know at the end of the day, if the dog doesn’t want to chase the stick, it’s not going to chase the stick.”

 

Paul Pogba reportedly got offered a new big-money deal. Do you think this is the club making yet another “marketing” decision or could this be Erik Ten Hag’s doing? 

“Maybe he (Erik Ten Hag) thinks he can turn him (Paul Pogba) around. Maybe he’s spoken to Paul Pogba and he thinks that way. But the fans have had enough.They know can’t go through the ups and downs anymore, the mood swings. It’s been too long, it’s been far too long. Too many managers to believe that the next one coming in can change him.” 

“And for him, for his own sake, I think he just needs to change. You know, going to somewhere else, rather than still at Old Trafford. Another manager is not going to make a difference. Because as I always say, if another manager comes in and makes a difference, that means you’ve totally disrespected the previous ones before.”

“I don’t know why Manchester United is still even talking about contracts with him, but if they are talking about keeping him, it is about marketing. Cause there is that worldwide brand about him. If that’s the reason why then Manchester United are still not getting away from their biggest problem. Singing players because of their value off the pitch rather than them proving their worth on the football pitch.”  

Unsurprisingly, the top clubs are circling Pogba like sharks. While his wages are high, the possibility of acquiring a world cup winner for free is too good to turn down for some. He looks destined to leave Man u and Unibet has him at 19/20 to join Juventus, while Betfair are 9/4 on a move to PSG. They seem the two likeliest options but Paddy Power also has 6/1 on a move to Man City.

Odds correct as of May 16th.

James Ward-Prowse is a name that has emerged on the transfer radar for Man Utd. United needs multiple midfielders. Would you like Ward-Prowse to be one of them?

“I think he’s another name that’s been mentioned because he played well last weekend and made a difference for Southampton to come from behind. His name rarely pops up, but he’s Southampton through and through. I think he is the new Matt Le Tissier of Southampton, I think that’s where, in my opinion, he’s gonna spend his time.”

“Is he what the United fans are looking for? I personally don’t think so. He’s not the kind of a midfield player that they are looking for or they would like to see.”  

“There are so many players being named that you don’t want to know. To Southampton, Ward-Prowse is worth a 100 million. There is no difference than Man City paying 100 million for Jack Grealish.” 

“Jack Grealish is not a 100 million pound player, but he was to Aston Villa. So Southampton wants top dollar for him, and what he makes in goals and scores goals definitely keep Southampton in the Premier League. No doubt about it, they can have as many centre forwards as possible, he makes a difference.”          

 

Ralf Rangnick is saying that the team need two more strikers. Who could you see joining the team? If both Ronaldo and Cavani leave the club, should they look to add 4 new?

“They had four strikers when they won the Champions League. They were swapping them around. There was Ole (Gunnar Solskjær), there was Teddy Sheringham, Andy Cole, and Dwight Yorke and the boss was always flipping them for games and they all got a lot of football but he manages the situation, that’s the reason why.”  

“Liverpool is doing something very, very similar. Or maybe even taking it to another level. But everything about them is about pace and movement.” 

“Now he (Luis Diáz) is another Liverpool player who hit the ground running straight away. We might even get Arsene Wenger saying in five years’ time: I could have signed him. Because that is what he always does. (chuckles)” 

“So, for me, if you’re Manchester United, you got to go and look at hungry players. Don’t go in and buy already made players. They are great, but you have to check them out personally and their characters. But go and get a hungry player. You know, Dias has turned up there, if you look at him, he’s like a dog who hasn’t had a bone for ten years. And all of a sudden they are throwing him a bone to play for Liverpool, to play in big games and win medals and he’s doing his best to become a regular.”  

“He’s electrifying. When you’re watching him you go, Wow! And all of a sudden you go: Wait a minute. I’m enjoying this and he’s a Liverpool player. It doesn’t make sense. But that’s where United should be going looking for those kinds of and make their players rather than go and buy already made ones.”

 

Do you think United should keep Ronaldo, considering his recent form?

“If he could accept when the manager talks to him. He has a year left I think. He was good in the game against Brentford.”

“I think he knows that all everyone wants to do is wait and clap at him.” 

“Because you can say that a lot of players just want to get out off the pitch really, really quick. But he’s staying out there, he is that kind of player, taking it all in. If they are going to keep him, he’s got to understand that he might not be playing regular football and when he does play, he’s gotta be nurturing people.” 

“That’s the bit. It has to be about putting a cross to him. And you can see there are moments where it shows up that he is lacking. When he tries to beat people and he hasn’t got the drive anymore and he keeps trying it and it doesn’t work. It just doesn’t, it’s not working anymore, which you would expect.” 

“And if he’s willing to give a bit back, there is a great chance that it could be a better unity in that Manchester United dressing room when someone like Ronaldo is giving a bit back.”      

 

Chelsea seems to be losing Rudiger. What’s next for Chelsea? They are losing all their players on free transfers. 

“I’m quite disappointed in the way Chelse have been treating him (Antonio Rüdiger)  in certain ways. It is not their fault, he’s a victim of the club and the team. It’s affecting the fans. It’s a bit of a kick in the teeth for the fans. We’ve been seeing in their last two Premier League games empty seats. So they can’t sell extra seats for Premier League games and yet they can sell them for Champions League and FA Cup games.” 

“Does Rudiger really want to go? I don’t think so, because he gets so much adulation and the fans actually love him. They absolutely adore him. The man can’t make a mistake as far as those fans are concerned. Thiago Silva is a fantastic footballer, but he needs a Ruidger around him to get the best out of him. Those qualities that he has as a footballer, reading the game. He needs like a warrior around him, like a Rüdiger.”

“Their biggest concern is upfront. They got lots of players who have great ability but one of Tuchel’s biggest problems is Lukaku. Because I still don’t believe that Tuchel signed him. He doesn’t fit the way he wants to play. Chelsea doesn’t wanna be sending him high crosses and hoping all the time. You see Lukaku when he wants the ball, he stands still, he is static and square on. His body isn’t good, he doesn’t take the ball off the line, and he’s a centre-half’s dream to mark. It’s too easy.” 

“When he tries to turn you, he needs to be close, cause he doesn’t have that ability, he doesn’t have a trick. And he’s cost Chelsea a hundred million pounds so there is no return on that investment there by any way, so it’s a tough one at the moment for Chelsea.”

“At the start of the season, I think that a lot of people thought they were gonna compete for the Premier League. They should’ve done that after the previous season. It started well but it disappeared and it’s got worse and worse. They are another team that wants the season over.” 

“But if this had been a normal season and the way Chelsea have performed in the last few months, Tuchel would have lost his job. When you sack a manager after winning a double, the way Ancelotti did for Chelsea and they sacked him, Tuchel would have been gone.”