Scott the Red: United never implode at the end of the season. What do you think happened?
Daniel Taylor: Lots of things. For starters, City played with real nerve. They went to Newcastle and won and then they found something extra to keep going in the QPR game, right to the death. But United did blow it when you think they had an eight-point lead. The 4-4 draw against Everton was careless in the extreme and that gave City new hope. But you also have to say that Fergie got it badly wrong in the derby at City. His team selection that day . . it was so negative and badly conceived and City punished it.
STR: You’d like to think we’ve learnt from it at least Is United’s current squad capable of winning the league?
DT: I think you will win the league. Which is not what I was saying a few weeks ago. In fact, I tipped City in the Guardian and also on a City supporters’ blog, but I did sneakily reserve the right to change my mind depending on what happens before the end of the transfer window and now you have signed Robin van Persie I think that tips it in your favour. That’s the reigning footballer of the year, plus the runner-up (Rooney), in the same same squad. Then add in Welbeck, Hernandez, Nani, Valencia, Young, Giggs, Kagawa – incredible options, attacking-wise – and also the fact that Vidic is back.
It’s been making me laugh reading some of the comments from Arsenal and City supporters about this ‘injury-prone 29-year-old’ etc etc. It’s Robin van Persie! He scored 39 per cent of Arsenal’s goals last season and City had pinpointed him as their main 2012 summer target in the autumn of the previous year. To take a player like that off the team that finished third last season, beating your main rivals in the process, is a major coup.
STR: You’re telling me! So we got Van Persie but missed out on Lucas Moura. It was weird that Fergie talked to the press about them, right?
DT: I suppose so, but not as unusual as some have made out. I’m guessing, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he was trying to appease the supporters at a time when the Glazer issue has come back to the forefront of everything. Some fans see through it, many don’t. But I wouldn’t read too much into it.
STR: Do you think Rooney is here for life now?
DT: No idea. He says he is, but he also says he would never have gone to Manchester City, which is certainly not the message they had received. It will be interesting to see how his partnership with Van Persie goes and whether it will improve him. He’s suddenly not top dog, or not guaranteed, but he can hardly complain given that he was saying he wanted to leave not too long ago because the club were not showing enough ambition.
STR: Finally, what would you is the best Manchester XI?
DT: (4-2-3-1) Hart; Jones, Vidic, Kompany, Clichy; Y Toure, Scholes; Silva, Aguero, Nani; Van Persie. Subs: De Gea, Ferdinand, Valencia, Tevez, Rooney, Giggs.