Ahead of Sunday’s game between Manchester United and Chelsea, Rory Jennings from CFC Fan TV has spoken to RoM about missing out on Romelu Lukaku, selling us Nemanja Matic and his predictions for the match.
Scott: What did you make of Chelsea’s performance against Barcelona? Do you expect more of the same against United?
Rory: We were incredible. It took everyone by surprise. After Bournemouth knocked in three past us and then Watford followed it up with 4 the general consensus was that the Barca tie would be over after the first leg. The fact that we are gutted with a draw shows how well we played. It was a magical night. It’s an uphill task but I truly believe we can get through. We have to use that performance as a springboard to get back on track, starting at Old Trafford.
S: Chelsea’s results have suffered since Conte got in to a war of words with Mourinho (W4 D6 L3 in 2018). You’ll be very familiar with Mourinho’s mind games. Did he get the better of Conte here?
R: I think it’s a very easy conclusion to draw but I think it’s far more nuanced and layered than that. We have been porous at the back all season, Burnley walloped us on the opening day. Our dip coincided with the spat with Mourinho, so while I don’t think the back and forth was helpful I equally don’t think that Mourinho can take credit for it. Conte gave as good as he got I thought, which is better than anyone else (Guardiola in Spain, Wenger voyeur etc) has ever managed against Mourinho.
S: Conte wanted Lukaku but he came to United. He has 9 goals more than Morata so far this season. Are you happier with your summer striker signing?
R: Haha. Strike one, Scott. If this were an interview, I’d be doing a Roy Hodgson about now.
No. As you well know! I am not happy with our striker. Not at all. I think he’s an exceptionally gifted footballer but is lacking in so many departments. You undoubtedly got a better striker. However, I don’t think either of us have a striker worthy of our clubs. To answer this question though, I concede that Lukaku is better than Morata. But I’ve had the privilege of watching Drogba, Anelka and Costa lead the line over the past decade or so, while you have lived the dream with Van Nistelrooy, Ronaldo and Rooney. For me, neither Lukaku nor Morata’s name can be mentioned in the same breath as our great forwards. Neither of us have a representative in the top five goalscorers, that is an unacceptable situation for the pair of us.
S: If you could have any United player in your squad, who would it be and why?
R: Can we have about four? If you’re forcing me to pick one I think it has to be Anthony Martial. Every time I watch him play he seems to be such a threat. Direct and confident with a great eye for a goal and he’s 22. What more can you ask for?
S: Who should United be most fearful of on Sunday?
R: Eden Hazard. He is so good. He has all of the attributes to one day win a Balon d’Or and the thought of him not signing a new contract is giving me sleepless nights. He has a propensity to play well against United and if he does on Sunday we will win the game. That’s how special he is.
S: Chelsea sold Matic and bought Bakayoko. Was that a mistake?
R: Haha. Strike 2, one more and you’re out. I’m going to break this question into two if that is ok? Selling Matic was the right move for us. He had grown stale at Chelsea. He went about six months without ever playing well and he was stifling our play. In principle we play an explosive, fast-paced game and Matic’s best attribute is slowing the game down. So he wasn’t conducive to what we were trying to achieve therefore he had to move on. Buying Bakayoko has been a disaster though. Personally speaking, I feel a bit sorry for him and think he has been scapegoated but the overall view towards him is so negative. So letting Matic go was right but signing Bakayoko has been pretty disastrous.
S: Prediction for Sunday?
R: I think we will win. I thought we were worthy winners in the 1-0 game earlier this season and Old Trafford has been kind to us over the years. Conte is going to demand a performance and we must build on the Barcelona result in the week. 2-1 Chelsea.