Louis Saha Interview with OLBG

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Louis Saha Interview with OLBG
In this article: Euro 2024
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Editor-In-Chief with 20 years experience covering the betting angles to breaking news stories. Daily slots player, Portsmouth fan and League Snooker Player

Louis Saha Gives his Predictions EURO 2024

In this interview, Louis Saha shares his insights and predictions for Euro 2024, highlighting favourites, standout players, dark horses, and key match outcomes.

🏆 Louis Saha's Euro 2024 Predictions! 🏆

🇫🇷 France will win Euro 2024 due to their strong squad and experienced management.

🏆 Golden Boot Contenders: Kylian Mbappe** is Saha's top choice.

🥇 Golden Ball Prediction: Mbappe again is the favourite, with Kane and Ronaldo in the mix.

🐴 Dark Horses: Netherlands, Belgium, and Czech Republic** are highlighted as potential surprises.

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 England's Prospects: Strong competitor with room to improve, especially in creating chances and stepping up in crucial games.

📊 Match Predictions:

  - France vs Austria: 1-0 to France.

  - France vs Netherlands: 2-1 to France.

  - France vs Poland: 2-0 to France.

Louis Saha Euro 2024 Predictions
Louis Saha
20 Caps for France and played at Euro 2004
Betano

Q: Who do you think will win Euro 2024?

LS: “France are my favourites to win Euro 2024. They do look like a team able to win any competition. In a tournament like this you have to play against big teams like Germany and Italy, the ones who are very experienced. But France have a decent group to go through. So it's France for me.”

EURO2024 Betting Odds

All odds tables on this page are sourced live from the displayed bookmakers. Once the market is closed, no odds box will appear.

Euro 2024 13 Jun @ 03:13 - Win Tournament
England 4.50
France 5.00
Germany 6.50
Portugal 9.00
Spain 9.50

Q: Who will win the Golden Boot at Euro 2024?

LS: “It's not an easy one, but I can predict that Kylian Mbappe is going to be very close. He's done really well in the World Cup. He's still on fire so I do think that it's going to be him but we will maybe see Harry Kane around him too.

“It will be nice to see Cristiano Ronaldo for Portugal too. Some of the great, great players are going to play in that competition so we hope to see a lot of goals.”

EURO2024 Golden Boot Betting Odds

All odds tables on this page are sourced live from the displayed bookmakers. Once the market is closed, no odds box will appear.

Euro 2024 13 Jun @ 03:13 - Top Goalscorer
Kylian Mbappe 5.50
Harry Kane 6.50
Cristiano Ronaldo 13.00
Romelu Lukaku 15.00
Phil Foden 26.00

Q: Who will win the Golden Ball at Euro 2024?

LS: “Kylian Mbappe, Harry Kane and Cristiano could be around there, when they see a good competition to shine they always perform and they have great squads around them. 

“Kylian is going to be motivated because he has personal ambition. This kind of accolade is something that he's really looking forward to because he wants to win the Ballon d 'Or or any trophy out there. So I do think that Kylian is my favourite again.”

Kylian Mbappe is favoured by most of our interviewees for the Golden boot and ball trophies at Euro 2024

Q: Who are your dark horses to win Euro 2024?

LS: “There are a lot of dark horses I can mention, Czech Republic are always there and it would be nice to see Portugal do well but I think they would be surprises

“The Netherlands could do well too, England would not be a surprise either, but there are a lot of teams that can definitely do well there, including Belgium.

“But I think the team who gets their hands on the trophy will have more experience, so definitely Germany and Italy will be in the mix.“

Q: How will England fare at Euro 2024?

LS: “England have a good chance in my view, they are getting closer and closer. England seem to have an understanding of what they need to go out there and do, but they need to step it up.

“Gareth Southgate has done really well in my opinion, but he has so many critics because of his style of play and sometimes the defensive approach.

“Sometimes there isn’t a link between the players, especially creating chances - that’s something they need to improve.

“They need to find a way to excel in that department during the tournament, especially in the last few games. It’s so important because we have seen them be really strong in qualification and they have tremendous players like Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham.”

Gareth Southgate has done well despite critics, but they must step up, especially in creating chances. Key players like Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham are crucial. ⚽️🏆

Louis Saha on England's chance.

Q: Will England again come up short if they face France?

LS: To be totally honest, I can’t tell. It was a very tough game against England in the World Cup, with England doing really well to contain Kylian Mbappe on his side. That’s what football is all about, the close details, it just so happened that France ended up on top.

“But I think Euro 2024 will be different and that experience will help England erase their mistakes and understand the tempo that those kinds of teams need to find at that level.

“Done really well to contain Kylian on the side and I think it was what football is about. It's very in close details and it happens to be France to go on top. 

“It's going to be a very entertaining tournament featuring a lot of teams with a lot of great players, so I can't wait. England is definitely a team to watch for those reasons. 

“They have the quality, they have the history to say that now is their time. They’ve had tremendous teams before and not been close, I think it's the time for them to go out there and believe they can really do it. 

“It’s always easy for people to come about and say, as a manager, I would have done this and I would have done better. But that's not that easy.”

Q: What is it about this France side that has made them favourites to win major honours?

The Perfect Mix for Success!

With 10 years under the same manager, France has a great blend of experience and young talent. Griezmann, Mbappe, Giroud, Dembele, and Coman excel in various roles, backed by strong defense and creativity. Confidence and drive make them formidable! 💪🏆

LS: “There is a good mix in this France team and many have played for the same manager for 10 years so they know exactly what he is asking for. They understand that they need different different types of answers for different types of games. 

“You've seen Griezmann go into the number 10 position, and at other times it’s maybe Kylian Mbappe or Olivier Giroud in that position.

“Ousmane Dembele and Kingsley Coman know the set-up too and it works for them. Plus France have a very strong defence and midfielders that create chances. Technically it’s a very strong set-up and the players also have the confidence and the drive.

“That understanding gives you an advantage in being one or two seconds ahead of their opponents. They have a tremendous squad and the bench is strong. France also have players that have won major trophies with their clubs and many of them are still young.

“They have captains in there and players that are ending their careers at a very high level like Olivier Giroud. They have all sorts of motivation inside the camp, which is great. 

“Even the manager who knows that Zinedine Zidane is out there waiting for the position, so he's always under pressure, or he seems to be always under pressure so he needs to look for better and better performances - that is a great combo for success.”

Q: Is Zinedine Zidane waiting in the wings to be the next France manager?Image: shutterstockLS: ”For me, Zidane is waiting to be the next France manager. When you wait that long for a new job and you love football that much, that’s because your dream job is taken by someone else.

“I think that’s why he’s being patient, he’s been watching other clubs while waiting for that job that’s in his heart - let's just say that winning a trophy with France would be the completion of his art.”

Q: How would you compare the current France side to the iconic 2006 team?

LS: “It's a different era. The rules of football are almost different. The kind of scrutiny that players have and the managers have, the tactical awareness is different. 

“That has made the flow of the game a bit different. So it’s almost impossible to compare Zinedine Zidane with Antoine Griezmann or Thierry Henry with Kylian Mbappe.

“We have so many big names that's why I think it's a privilege to be playing in this country with this flag because there is enormous talent coming every year. 

“The quality is the same and both teams have so much technical ability, we used to have players like Patrick Viera and Claude Makelele and now there is Aurelien Tchouameni and Adrien Rabiot.

“Didier Deschamps has a style that is a bit more pragmatic and there is consistency in that.

“It would’ve been very entertaining to see those teams play against each other and very hard to predict a winner, it would’ve been a 10-10 draw!”

Q: Who were the biggest figures in the dressing room during your time with France?Patrick Viera

LS: ”When you look at the France squad back in 2006, of the 25 there were about 15 captains. People that could lead and many of those captains in their club teams. Some of the players were soldiers like Claude Makelele and Patrick Viera, those players could teach you a lot because they were so dedicated. It says a lot that many of them are managers now.

“Now you see Thierry Henry being the coach of the under 21 side and that was his quality, he was immense in terms of leadership. As a squad we just had less distractions.

“There was no such thing as social media. Yes, you had to speak to the press, but it was not the same distraction. So those guys were 100% focused on their games, into their football, and what they represent.

“That was very intense in some ways and it is worse now, which is why I’m so impressed with Mbappe being a captain and representing so much for his country at his age.

“Not everybody in that generation that I play with could be able to easily cope with this today. Because they are not formatted like that. We were not accustomed to those things. 

“In terms of mentality, I can go through this squad and never stop, just look at William Gallas who was young but had a big personality. We had so many in that squad.”

Q: The French side had a huge bust-up back in 2010, what has changed since?

LS: “Now is that there is a duty to represent your country in such a way, whether you are a player, wherever you are a staff or wherever you are, even a manager, they have to understand that they come after the country

“So marketing wise, they really needed to understand that they had to represent the flag better. And I think those things will not be taken for granted in 2010.

“I think it was down to the manager, 100 percent. He used the character of the players, who were under massive pressure, against them.

“It was a recipe for catastrophe. Now I think everybody understands. There are so many youngsters that look at football, look at any competition that you see that flag and want to fight for it.

“You have to protect the players, you have to protect the legacy and it should not be taken hostage by anybody or any political side. 

“It's not beneficial for anyone so that's the lesson I think. It is very important to remember that and it's good for any country to go through this maybe because otherwise you don't know how to deal with it. Now we know.”

Q: Is the best young player in the France team PSG’s Warren Zaire-Emery?

🌟 Future Star Alert: Warren Zaire-Emery! 🚀

Warren is incredibly versatile, smart, and confident. He reminds me of N'Golo Kante! To excel at PSG and already stand out for France shows his special talent. A powerful asset, he's the kind of new talent France loves to bring to big tournaments. 🇫🇷⚽️

LS: “Warren Zaire-Emery, is very versatile, very smart and very flexible in the way he can play. He can play going forward but also as a number six. It’s very impressive that he makes so few mistakes in the way that he plays.

“He is reminiscent of N’Golo Kante in some ways and that is so impressive at his age. To be able to do that in the PSG first-team is brilliant and he’s shown that he can already do it with France, he can bring something special.

“His awareness about his team-mates and the opposition is brilliant, he is both humble but in a strange way very confident. That’s a really powerful asset to have for any manager because he is reliable but no one really knows about him just yet outside of France.

“They might have seen him at PSG, and probably will in the Champions League semi-finals, but no one will have faced him many times before Euro 2024. 

“He's really very smart. He can give you that confidence because he's always going to be there in some way when you need him. 

“So that's an amazing quality. And that's something that France always have in tournaments. They always bring somebody, you know, like some new talent. I remember in 2006 it was Franck Ribery and in 2018 it was Mbappe, that is so useful for a manager.”

Q: What is your prediction for France vs Austria?

LS: “If you look at previous competitions, France haven’t been fast starters. They tend to start slow, maybe because their players haven’t had much time to adjust, being in the latter stages of the Champions League.

“They tend to pick up momentum as they go and progress physically, they have two games to prepare but I do think that Austria is going to be a really tough game.

“They did really well during the qualification and always tried to upset the bigger sides. But I still think that France are going to be on top because they have better players and more experience on that.

“They are really strong defensively and I am very impressed with the two brothers Theo and Lucas Hernandez. So it's going to be very interesting, the first few games are to set the tempo and I'm sure that they're going to go all the way.

“I think that is the kind of game which has a tendency to have a small scoreline, so I would go for 1-0 for France.”

Austria v France 13 Jun @ 03:13 - Full Time Result
Austria 7.00
Draw 4.50
France 1.50

Q: What is your prediction for France vs Netherlands?

LS: “France and Netherlands games tend to have a lot of goals, the last games were 2-1 and 4-0 to France. But this will be a tough game. I’d say 2-1 to France again.”

Netherlands v France 13 Jun @ 03:13 - Full Time Result
Netherlands 4.33
Draw 3.70
France 1.91

Q: What is your prediction for France vs Poland?

LS: “France vs Poland would depend on the first few games, if France have a good start and win their first two games they could change the team for this one.

“It’s going to be a tough game if France do have a difficult start, but for some reason Poland haven’t performed well in tournaments and didn’t do great in competitions.

“So I do think that France will be on top and 2-0 for me will be the score.”

Louis Saha Profile

Louis Laurent Saha was born on 8 August 1978 in France. He was a scholar at the Clairefontaine football academy, one of the top football academies in Europe, known for producing elite players. There, Saha refined his skills before beginning his professional football career.

Career Beginnings

Saha started his football career at Metz, a professional club in his home country. His impressive performance earned him a loan deal to the English football club Newcastle United, where he further showcased his talent.

Career Breakthrough and Success at Fulham

Ahead of the 2000-2001 season, Saha transferred to Fulham, where he established himself as a first-choice striker. He was instrumental in helping the club achieve promotion to the Premier League in his first season with the team.

Achievements at Manchester United

Saha's performance at Fulham attracted attention from Manchester United, leading to his transfer to Old Trafford mid-way through the 2003-04 season. Despite multiple injuries, Saha achieved significant success at United. He won the Premier League title twice, the UEFA Champions League in 2008, and the League Cup in 2006. In the latter, he emerged as the top scorer and netted in the final.

Later Career at Everton

After almost five years at Manchester United, Saha moved to Everton. In the 2009 FA Cup Final, he set the record as the fastest goal scorer, finding the back of the net after only 25 seconds into the game.

International Career

Saha made his debut for the French national team in 2004, contributing to a 2-0 victory over Belgium. He went on to represent France at UEFA Euro 2004 and the 2006 FIFA World Cup, earning 20 caps and scoring four goals for his country.

Legacy

Despite his recurrent injuries, Saha left a lasting impression on many of his colleagues and fans. His former Manchester United teammate, Wayne Rooney, once stated that Saha was one of his favorite strike partners, indicating the high regard for Saha's skills and commitment to the game.

Interview May 2024

Speaking exclusively to OLBG, former France striker Louis Saha has picked Zinedine Zidane as Manchester United’s ‘dream’ next manager.

The former Red Devils forward has also called criticism of his former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo 'disrespectful’ in backing him to take Euro 2024 by storm.

Saha has also picked out the new N’Golo Kante to shine in Germany this summer while urging England stars to believe that they can go all the way.

Q: Would Zinedine Zidane be a success as a future Manchester United manager?

Could Zidane be a good manager for Manchester Utd?

LS: “Zinedine Zidane has the character and charisma to manage Manchester United.

“What he represents for football, for footballers. I'm sure that if he goes to any club, he would have the same impact. 

“But obviously, I need to see this impact at Manchester United. I hope that can be Erik ten Hag, who brings major trophies back to United, but that’s not what I see at the moment. 

“Zidane is the manager I would dream to have at Manchester United for obvious reasons, he would do well and he’s motivated to come back into football and I think it will be difficult for him to stay out for another year.

“So let's see what happens, but his impact at United would be huge because a lot of players would see him as an inspiration, a motivation to excel and not just accept the standard they are currently at.

Zidane: The Legend Manchester United Needs for a Revival

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“They seem to have an approach that just isn’t like something Zidane would have. Too many players at United tend to drop their level and fail to have consistency when you need to have 10 players obsessed about getting them back to the very top to be successful.

“Some days it can be down to personal drama but United need to figure out a way to get their players to represent the club. Look at Zidane, he was the most talented player in the world for 10 years but was a really hard worker and never complained. 

“He never asked his managers for anything. He was one of the best professionals in the world and had so much passion. Having all that potential and technique, fans might not know how hard he worked but he dedicated his life to football

“His charisma and what he represents as a player and now a manager, I think he would be a step-up.”

Q: Could Roy Keane succeed as next Manchester United manager?

Saha doesn't sound keen on Keane - Editorial credit: Influential Photography / Shutterstock.com

LS: “Roy Keane would have a big impact as Manchester United manager, that’s for sure. But he’d need to have a different kind of communication than 20 or 30 years ago. You can’t just destroy players anymore, it won’t work.

“But he would have an impact, when I was at the club there were so many local boys who were so focused and wanted to win so badly that you didn’t have any other choice.

“The manager then doesn’t need to have as much communication because you have 10 to 15 players that lead the way for foreign players. Now it seems like they only have a few players that provide that kind of leadership.

Legendary Status Not Enough: United needs More than Roy Keane at the Helm

Roy Keane could shine as Man Utd's manager, but not without revisiting his communication strategy! ⚽️ We need more player-leaders with the energy of Varane, Martinez & Maguire to turn the tide 🌊 Keane alone won't do. To win, we need unity! 💪

“I got to play with Keane, Ferdinand, Evra, Vidic, Van der Sar, Gary Neviille, Phil Neville, Ronaldo, Rooney, so if you have Ji Sung Park for instance come into the club then he will soon learn the way to win.

“So what I’m saying is that Roy Keane alone is not going to be enough, United need 15 players to have that calibre and that kind of approach. I do see players with passion like Varane, Martinez and Maguire but they are outnumbered.”

Next Manchester United Manager Odds

Here are the latest odds on who could become the next manager of Manchester United - Odds will only appear when available, If there are no odds below, the market is either suspended or closed.

13 Jun @ 03:13 - Next Permanent Man Utd Manager
David Beckham 0.00
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Sir Alex Ferguson 0.00

Q: Would you rank your former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo over Lionel Messi?

Saha is plainly a CR7 fan!

LS: “I totally understand why there are so many fans of Messi and I totally understand why myself and a lot of other people are fans of Cristiano.

“You can’t really separate those two guys because they are tremendous talents and they’re not at all the same. It’s just two different players.

Two Football Giants with a Legacy Impossible to Surpass

Messi and Ronaldo - two unparalleled geniuses of football ⚽ in our era. Their unique styles and raw talent have set tough benchmarks for future stars like Haaland and Mbappe! Scoring 50 goals a season to match them?

“One is almost a natural genius in Messi who had to adapt his game to be the very best for his size. Ronaldo has used his height and power to go and score over 900 goals. So you have two different players with different styles and attributes.

“Those are the two players in this era who have simply topped their talent, their potential. You can’t ask much more. You will never see again.

“You may have Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe fighting for 10 years but it’s never going to be a close competition in terms of greatness, if they want to catch Messi and Ronaldo then they have to score 50 goals a season for the remainder of their careers, it’s impossible.”

Q: Are Portugal a better side with or without Cristiano Ronaldo?

LS: “He will have to be managed differently than he has been over the years, but Cristiano Ronaldo is definitely still one of the best strikers in the world because he's so focused. 

“People challenge his fitness and his age, but 80% of it is mental strength and advice you get from your manager on how to disrupt the opposition and I would say he’s the best in the world for that.

“Also for getting his team-mates to play at 100%, he doesn’t allow anyone to drop under that standard because he is still so motivated to win trophies and to win another trophy with his country.

“That's a great asset for the manager, but you have to deal with him differently because he's such a character.

Age Is Just a Number, 100% Commitment is the Game!

💪Cristiano Ronaldo is more than just skill, it's mental strength.🧠 Arguably the best in world, he lifts his team to 100%!

“In terms of scoring goals he’s the best in the box, the way he makes his runs attracts plenty of attention to make space for his team-mates too, sometimes the character can be difficult to manage which leads to debate but I think he is one of the guarantees Portugal need in their squad.

“It's a guarantee that he’s going to score goals. I am convinced the manager understands that and respects that. 

“If Ronaldo thinks he’s going to have a pivotal role and play every minute then I think that’s wrong, he has to understand that he is sharing the responsibility and that’s his way forward in the national team.

“But I believe in him, not because I played with him but because I see what he is trying to do and see how he still celebrates every goal.

“He wants to be a real asset and he’s not stupid, he understands that things are moving and his legs and flow might not be what they used to be. He’s not superhuman and he understands that but he’s still showing that he is capable of things nobody could’ve imagined at his age.”

Q: What did you make of Frank Leboeuf saying that Portugal cannot win with Ronaldo playing?

LS: “I heard Frank Leboeuf say that Portugal can't win with Cristiano Ronaldo. I think it's disrespectful. Yes you can have your say and say and yes it’s possible that Portugal are not going to win with or without him, but saying he can’t win the competition at all is very harsh.

“If you can mention his attitude and understand that he’s got a lot of personality and won’t be happy if he’s on the bench, I understand that, but he’s disrespecting the talent of Ronaldo and his capacity of helping his team-mates improve. That’s just not fair.”


Interview May 2023

Speaking to OLBG, Former Manchester United Legend Louis Saha has stated that Erik Ten Hag has been a better manager who has faced more challenges than Mikel Arteta and is therefore the manager of the season. He also suggested Neymar should come to Manchester United as his PSG status worsens and suggests troubled winger Jadon Sancho needs to work harder and be more fearless if he wants to improve at Manchester United.

Q. Will Manchester United achieve top four?

LS: ‘’Manchester United have a better fixture calendar than Liverpool to secure a place in the top four. They have also shown more consistency in their game. It is either down to the approach that the teams take to their game, or it can be down to bad individual mistakes. That is what has punished them. I do believe that United deserve that 4th spot. 

Newcastle also deserve their place and you cannot really take them away from that race. They were really good from the start. Liverpool have the mentality to take teams until the end of the season - we have seen it happen before. Nothing is guaranteed in football, so it will be really entertaining to watch and it is nice to see in football that the battle at the top is also the same as the fight on the bottom.’’

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Q. What did you make of their performance against Wolves?

LS: ‘’Manchester United's performance was very professional against Wolves. Some games happen where they haven't started properly, but against Wolves everything went perfect. When you have players like Garnacho coming off the bench, you have all the ammunition to be a proper contender for next season. It was an entertaining game with a lot of stability in the time- especially the midfield despite the changes. It could be Bruno Fernandes or Eriksen, there was a lot of fight.

It was good to see Martial scoring. Many fans were complaining about the frustration that he can bring as a player because sometimes when he is on the pitch and he is picking his approach to the game and it isn't the right one, it's a shame because he could have scored about 10 to 15 goals more this season. It was good for him to score.’’

Q. Dwight Yorke has recently said Haaland will not have made it into his Manchester United Treble winning squad? Do you agree?

Image: sportingnews

LS: ‘’It is difficult to compare different eras of football when considering if Haaland would have featured in the 99' squad. There are many different factors to consider. The dressing room mentality, the quality of players back then etc. However, in terms of quality I think that there is no doubt that Erling Haaland will fight for a spot on that treble winning team. With all the goals he has scored this season, you can only imagine what he would have done for Man United back in 1999. Physically I have not seen a player so mobile and tall. You would expect Zlatan Ibrahimovic to maybe fit in - but the development that Haaland brings into the game is a challenge for any defender. I'm sure the defenders back in the day were stronger, but now it is a different era.

Nowadays defenders tackle with their hands behind their back and are more careful. It is harsh to compare the two era's and unfair to say a player won't do well. That is like saying that Pele wouldn't do well in this era. I understand Dwight Yorke's opinion as you have to respect his treble winning squad, it was unbelievable due to their mentality and high quality. It was unmatched.’’

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Q. Up next is Bournemouth away at the weekend. What’s your prediction for that?

LS: ‘’As Man United  go away to Bournemouth, I feel the game will be defined in the first 20-25 minutes. We need to show that we want it more than any team. Bournemouth will want to try their best to defend and contain our attackers. Bournemouth are a good side but are nowhere near the level of Manchester United. I expect Manchester United to win with the same level as the Wolverhampton game.’’


13 Jun @ 03:13 - Next Permanent Man Utd Manager
David Beckham 0.00
Ryan Giggs 0.00
Louis Van Gaal 0.00
Sir Alex Ferguson 0.00

Q. If Man Utd fall out of the Champions League places, does that make Erik ten Hag’s first season a failure, even if they win the FA Cup alongside the Carabao Cup?

LS: ‘’Giannis Antetokounmpo said it best about failure. Erik Ten Hag's season will not be considered a failure. There is a process to a season and it can be frustrating. Normally you would expect Manchester United to win trophies week after week but it's a tough league at the moment. What Erik Ten Hag has done and achieved is already an achievement as we couldn't see a legacy being built at Manchester United for a long time. The confidence of young and old players were restored in such a beautiful way over the last eight months. He has done a brilliant job and if he was to achieve a bit more than it would be a bonus.

He has also faced many challenges including that of Cristiano Ronaldo, restoring the form of Sancho and Rashford and signing players like Garnacho and Antony into the club. To see him keep focused despite this, shows he has done a great job.’’

Q. Bruno Fernandes recently raised eyebrows by saying nobody thought Man Utd would challenge for top-four. What did you think of that?

Agência Brasília, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

LS: ‘’I don't agree with Bruno Fernandes' comments about Manchester United's season expectations. He knows he is wrong. He may be right to say that no-one expected Manchester United to play this well but everyone expects Manchester United to challenge for the top 4. They must find a way no matter how difficult it is. This club has done that brilliantly and they deserve that. I guess it is his way of saying that despite the challenges they have faced, this is a good result for Manchester United.

I agree no-one expected us to play so well under Ten Hag, but I disagree that people would have never thought that Manchester United would have never made the top 4. If you look at the signings, they brought players like Casemiro - who hit the ground running, whilst others didn't. They could have done better that's for sure. People have criticised Bruno for his attitude in the past and given their verdict on whether or not they should be captain. However I see he gives his all on the field and I don't really ask for more than that. He is currently the best example and it means the world to me as a fan.’’

Q. David de Gea was at fault in the defeat to West Ham, with questions raised over his future as contract talks stall. Do you think it’s time both parties go their separate ways?

LS: ‘’It's not David De Gea's time to leave but to rather improve. De Gea has to improve if he wants to remain in this club. He has been a top keeper for the past decade and that is what we want from him. We want less mistakes and better communication with the defence. There is no reason why we shouldn't improve as players. Paul Scholes, Roy Keane and Ryan Giggs all improved when they needed to, and even Cristiano Ronaldo is still improving.

If you don't adapt your mentality, you have to face the competition.’’

De gea was third in our list of highest paid EPL player per minute played

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Q. What alternatives should Man Utd consider, should De Gea leave? Brentford’s David Raya is one name linked?

LS: ‘’David Raya is a very good option for Man United. There is also Martinez, Mendy and even Jason Steele. There are many good goalkeepers but the ''Red Devils'' need a keeper who is good and fit. We need someone who is comfortable and works well with the back four and will concede 10 less goals than this season. We want someone that will be confident with playing out from the back like Brighton, which is risky but when you are a good team you can afford to do that.’’

Q. Everton and England star Jordan Pickford is another name linked in reports. Is he good enough to be Man Utd’s number one?

LS: ‘’Well, Jordan Pickford is good enough to be England number one, so I think he has shown enough qualities to play for Manchester United. Being a Goalkeeper is very difficult, especially from an Everton perspective because he will be probably more exposed than if you were playing in a team that were the favourites week in, week out. Also he will have less opportunities to show his skills and when he makes a mistake it would be amplified 100 times more. This is not to say Pickford can't do it, he has done it for his country so I have no doubt he can do it for Man United. De Gea will not give up his place though. He will give Pickford a hard time to be number one.’’

Oleg Bkhambri (Voltmetro), CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Q. According to reports, Roma star Tammy Abraham is a name on Ten Hag’s wish list should the pursuit of Harry Kane fail. Would he be a good move for them?

LS: ‘’Tammy Abraham will be great for Manchester United. He is a terrific lad who has plenty of good qualities and is managed by a tough manager in Jose Mourinho. His work rate is outstanding also. He could be an ideal replacement for Anthony Martial or Marcus Rashford - who in the past haven't performed to the best of their abilities. Tammy could do a really good job here. Whether or not he is good enough to be a number 2 to these players, I am not so sure about. The quality is there. He is tall, mobile and technically gifted. It makes sense to me.’’

Q. According to reports, Man Utd are also preparing a record bid for Goncalo Ramos. What do you make of that?

LS: ‘’Goncalo Ramos I'm not so sure about. I would prefer a number nine who will score 20+ goals per season - like Harry Kane for example. We have a lot of forward options at Manchester at the moment. A lot of quality on the bench in players such as Alejandro Garnacho. I don't think it is wise to mix too many profiles in that position and make a decision on who the best man for the job is.’’

Q. Neymar’s future at PSG is uncertain. Would that be a good move for Man Utd or your other old club, Newcastle?

Image: flickr/Doha Stadium Plus Qatar

LS: ‘’Neymar will be an exciting signing for any club in the world. He is a top 5 player in the world at the moment, and the best dribbler in the world by far. Best entertainer by far. However he will bring his own challenges with him in terms of the press and his lifestyle. He is coming to a point in his life where maybe he has a point to prove. He has a baby on the way and maybe that can bring some stability into his life and he can provide more of a guarantee.

I remember back in my playing days that Sir Alex Ferguson always liked players who had a family and who were settled. It is because you know that you can be very demanding of them and know that they will not get distracted. They have more of an open ear and they want to listen and do more for the club. 

Neymar has been the superstar, which is substantially due to his talent but it can also be hard to manage. He was definitely of that status in Barcelona, but maybe that has changed over the years. He could be difficult to manage. With all due respect, I don't think he can adapt, but he will have to. This current formula he has provided to PSG has not worked at all. 

His fitness has let him down in the last four months of the season - which is the most crucial part. It could be down to lifestyle or just how he is - but at Manchester United, they would expect much more from him because of his enormous price tag. These clubs will be gambling a lot of money and will need a guarantee when these types of players are on the books. He would be a good name but he will need to guarantee that he can perform in the last three months of a season, because that's where trophies are won.’’

Q. Do you expect Newcastle to be challenging for the title next season?

LS: ‘’Newcastle have shown that they can challenge for the title. I will expect a harder season this year. It can happen to anyone and any team can win the league as some teams can have a bad season and other teams can develop a win streak. People's heads can switch off at times. You have transfers and people's status can change.’’

When you have success, you ask and dream bigger and want more. Let's see if they can manage that. It is a different type of animation, the fans and the club always want more. Eddie Howe has managed a good team and done a good job so far. But you must face reality. You have Manchester City who will always remain at the top, you have Liverpool that will come back into that race and Chelsea will come back into the race with their investments. In other European countries the league is always decided between two teams. In the Premier League, it is five or six.’’

Q. If Man City win the treble, do they surpass other great teams including Man Utd’s 99, Arsenal Invincibles and your own double-winning side under Fergie?

Image: Profile/Wikimedia Commons

LS: ‘’I don't like comparing different eras. I do respect Manchester City and what they have done. But if I do make a quick criticism, it will be that the era's of 1999 and the Invincibles era were more mean and more authentic. Nowadays it is different. You have fans all over the world who stream the games and don't really fill up the stadiums. It's a completely different atmosphere in the stadium - there is not the same amount of pressure. However, I do respect the new challenges that players of today do face and what Manchester City have done. There's always issues of money, agents and having to keep up with social media everyday. It's a different animal.’’

Q. With three games to go, who has been your Premier League player of the season?

LS: ‘’For me it has to be Erling Haaland. When he first burst onto the scene people were really trying to pick out his mistakes but i couldn't see them. He was scoring every game from the beginning of the season, week in, week out. He has broken the record and there is no other player for me.’’

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Q. Who has been your manager of the season so far?

Editorial credit: kivnl / Shutterstock.com

LS: ‘’For me it was between Mikel Arteta and Erik Ten Hag. I will give the edge to Erik Ten Hag. I think the challenges that he had to face within the team - such as the Cristiano Ronaldo saga - were way harder than what Arteta had to deal with. 

I respect what Mikel has done with Arsenal but in terms of teams, there are less egos that he had to deal with. In terms of daily challenges, Erik Ten Hag takes it by far. Even David Moyes said that it was only when he started to manage the club that he realised how hard it was. What Erik Ten Hag has done is unbelievable.’’

Q. Should Jadon Sancho consider leaving Man Utd, even on loan? He looks like he needs to regain his confidence?

LS: ‘’Jadon Sancho isn't the player that you loan. His quality is too high for that. You could argue that his head wasn't in the right place and the pressure may have gotten to him. I don't know what happened. When you have that much quality, the chance to make the right decisions is very difficult. The formula is actually to be direct and fearless. At the end of the day, you are going to play football, you are not going to war. Enjoy your football and let the fans enjoy it. I think Sancho asks too many questions of himself, but the way to rectify that is to show that you are good enough and by staying. He needs to be himself and work hard. When you have that, success is guaranteed.’’

Q. Is a move to Saudi Arabia too soon for Lionel Messi? Does he still have enough to offer for a club at the highest level?

Picture: Hossein Zohrevand

LS: ‘’Lionel Messi is going to Saudi Arabia way too soon. He still has a lot to offer any club. I say the same for Cristiano as well. It will be great for the country to have that attention. In this industry people can be mean, demanding and won't respect their legacy as much, so they should always try to protect it themselves. Don't sacrifice your legacy for things you want now. I will never understand why Ronaldo went and I will ask the same question of Messi if he goes as well. Their legacies took 20 years to build, it doesn't make sense!

These guys are the best ambassadors of football and for so many children. They are icons who should be respected and protected by the countries that love football. They motivate kids and people to work harder and want to play football. They shouldn't be on display for all those who jump on the bandwagon and criticise them.’’

Q. What club would he join?

LS: ‘’I would say that he will fit into any top six club in the Premier League. Lionel is a very smart player and can be an Arsenal type player. He will have to have a manager that realises he is not going to run all day. Are Arsenal the players that can do the Xavi and Busquets role well? With Messi, you will be guaranteed 20-30 goals per season. He will also assist you in a lot of  plays. It's about finding the right balance which will help him fit in. But Messi will be exciting to have in the Premier League.’’

Interview March 2023

Here he talks about the current state of affairs at Manchester United and Fulham and provides what he thinks will be the final top 4 in this season premier league as the season moves closer to completion as well as his views on the Europa League situation.

What did you make of the cup tie against Fulham?

The quarter final between Manchester United and Fulham is what we like to see in The FA Cup. A lot of goals and passion, a bit of tension on both sides. I think it was an entertaining game, definitely some drama - which is part of the game and you have to take it in your stride. It seems like every time drama comes Manchester United's way, they seem to deal with it professionally and get the result that they want. Fulham also deserve credit because they played well and provided tense moments as well. Aside from the Liverpool game, Manchester United are showing great progress as of late.

Do you agree with Willian and Mitrovic's Red Cards?

Both Willian and Mitrovic's red cards highlight the inconsistency of the referee's in which everyone can give their opinion on. What we know is that when you stop a goal-scoring opportunity in that way, a referee has to take such decisions. We also know if you go for the referee in a certain way, you can get punished for it. Mitrovic has displayed this type of behaviour before, perhaps if he was someone else, he would get away with it. You have to remember your emotions when you are in the heat of the moment and I think that Mitrovic will understand why he was given a red card. People may say that the referee exaggerated the action, but Mitrovic certainly didn't help his team. I feel for him because he was in the position to help his team win that quarter final.

With Arsenal now out, how do you judge Manchester United’s chances of winning the Europa League and FA Cup?

It's a great position for Man United to be in. It doesn't mean it is going to be easy. Arsenal went out to Sporting Lisbon - a great team. Any team that is beating Arsenal can beat Manchester United as well. Sporting and Sevilla are very difficult teams to be playing against - with Sevilla being the biggest test. For the last 7/8 years, they have been on top of the competition. Lisbon beating Arsenal in that fashion showed that despite their form, Arsenal still has some fragility in their squad, so it will definitely be a tough end to the season for them.

Current FA Cup Betting

13 Jun @ 03:13 - Next Permanent Man Utd Manager
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How will Casemiro’s four game ban affect Manchester United? Do you think it will hurt their top four chances?

Casemiro's absence will provide a tough challenge for Manchester United, but United have a strong squad. Even against Fulham we saw Sabitzer having a good game, Fred and McTominay are playing better and Manchester United are improving in different elements. It shows that they understand the impact of Casemiro and realise that they must also do the same things - to be calm, composed and confident in the right moments. Casemiro has helped the group well on and off the field - especially those who are not playing regularly as they can continue to learn from him and please Erik Ten Hag when they have the opportunity. It's a good opportunity for the rest of the squad to show their prowess as well, though it is always better to have the player that is in form.

However this disciplinary situation could feel a little unfair because he received a red card that I feel other players might have gotten away with - a similar example to Mitrovic and how his reputation maybe went against him. I feel he has been unlucky to be sent off. It's not because he is too aggressive, he has to be! In some moments, you will have some things that won't go your way. It's not him personally, I think it is just his position. Manchester United have a strong squad behind him and it is time for them to show that.

Marcus Rashford surpassed Cristiano Ronaldo’s record of being the sixth highest scoring Manchester United player in Europe. Is he on his way to becoming a Manchester United great?

I think Marcus Rashford is already a Manchester United Legend. People need to realise that he was playing in a team that was going through a transitionary period. He arrived in the team when he was 17/18 and didn't really have the chance to play in a team such as Monaco like Mbappe did when Monaco reached the final of the Champions League. Rashford also hasn't played in a league like the French League where PSG have dominated for so many years. It is only now that Manchester United have a foundation, that Rashford has been able to develop himself to be a better player. Think about him in 1-2 years with higher confidence! He has already scored a lot of goals and proved himself internationally. He has become a big name, and will be really exciting to see how he gets on because he has had a nightmare for the past year and a half prior.

How do you think a partnership with you and Rashford up top would have turned out back in the day?

It would have been a dream to play with Marcus Rashford. It's difficult to compare eras because I was very aggressive and had the quality to complement Rashford - I would have loved to see that. But the game is very different from then and today in terms of the fitness, intensity and the style. Players like to be on either the left or right side in order to cross the ball and get the ball to the traditional number 9. Whereas, in my era there were a lot more combinations on the ball. It would not have been difficult for me to adapt though. It would have been a joy to play with Rashford and i would have really liked to develop myself with that sort of player

If Man Utd qualify for the Champions League and Chelsea and Liverpool don’t, are they a more attractive prospect for Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice?

Once Manchester United qualify for the Champions League, it won't only be Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice that will be more keen to come to Manchester, it can help iwht other players like Harry Kane. They will be seen as a team back in-form that has the whole package. It’s very possible that Bellingham and Rice will want to be up for the challenge of bringing Manchester United back to the very top. Harry Kane and Victor Osimhen may also want to be a part of that. I am not biased, but this is the reality. At this point in time, I feel there is no better club to join.

Could Harry Kane finally go to United in search of Silverware? - Photo: Cosmin Iftode/Shutterstock

Harry Kane will enter the final year of his contract at the end of the season. Should Man Utd go all out to sign him?

If Manchester United want to win the Premier League, then Harry Kane is the man who can help them do that. I respect Weghorst's but he does not have Kane's quality and I am sure that he will want to play with Rashford every week. He has committed to Tottenham for a long time and done wonders for them. I don't think anyone will hold it against him, because he has proven his loyalty and shown that he is a Spurs fan. However, at this point his time he deserves his shot at some accolades and Manchester United is the best team for that

What did you think of Conte’s comments after Spurs’ draw with Southampton?

Tottenham Manager Antonio Conte's comments were unusual, but we all know that Conte is an honest person. He is a very passionate guy who speaks his mind and maybe he had those conversations internally and the frustrations boiled over at some point. What he said isn't new information. A few pundits highlighted this information already. Many have said that when everything clicks, Tottenham play really well, but when it goes wrong, the strength goes away. Conte has spoken out in the strongest way and I think there is some truth in it. 

Whether people like it or not, I believe it is about trying to improve. I remember during my playing days, Roy Keane was quite harsh with his teammates. There are elements to take from that. I think Antonio wants this club to improve and is frustrated and that is why he is speaking like this. 

He is not able to run things like he wants to, so he is showing us the weaknesses and wants everyone to understand. Spurs can change the manager, but it will not solve the problem. If Conte is saying it, then I feel it is true! They have to do some work to solve the problem as it is there to be seen. No-one can deny what is being said. It is a bit harsh from the manager but there is a bit of reality and the players have to take responsibility as well as the board to fix the problem. That's what causes the frustration.

Manchester United have also been linked with Napoli superstar Victor Osimhen, do you think he could adapt to the Premier League?

Victor Osimhen can definitely adapt to the Premier League. He has expressed his desire to come to the Premier League and is also a United fan. He has the quality physically and mentally, and is a good guy with good values. He still has a long way to be recognised and I feel Manchester United will be the perfect club for him to join, Napoli are good, but not on the level of Manchester United and I think that it will be the logical move.

There have also been reports linking Ajax star Mohammad Kudus. Is he what they need?

Mohammad Kudus is the kind of player Manchester United need. When you have the ability to break lines and be aggressive in the midfield - which can be utilised easily show that he is a very talented player. He hasn't made many mistakes and when you have these targets it makes perfect sense. I would like to see players like Osimhen and Kudus arrive at Old Trafford, but it is also important to think about their mindset and values and I believe they align.

Manchester United are also going up against Sevilla in the Quarter finals of the Europa league - what are your predictions for that game?

Sevilla will be a tough game for Manchester United. They are a type of team that will capitalise on any mistake. This is the best side in the Europa league. They upset a lot of teams which people thought would dominate them. They don't have a lot of World Class players but they are a group of guys who know exactly what to do to upset the opposition regardless of where they sit in La Liga. Manchester United must be cautious in their approach.

Current Odds for Man Utd vs Sevilla

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Fulham

You started your English career at Fulham, scoring 50+ goals for the club during your time there. What do you think about their current Premier League run?

Fulham's current Premier league run is brilliant. If you look at their previous Premier league runs it was very difficult for them to have any sort of success. They were always in relegation battles and they were under pressure. They did really well to avoid those things and to be in a position to possibly be in a Europa league position is great. What Marco Silva has done is brilliant. His transfer strategy was great. His ability to create a style of play that the fans really love is admirable. He has been made a good combination of a traditional striker with wingers who are very good on the ball. I hope they do this next season because they are a very difficult team to play against.

Image: Lukas Grüntzer/Wikimedia

What advice would you give to Aleksandar Mitrovic as a former forward?

I can't give Mitrovic any advice as he has his own style. He knows his qualities really well. He is a machine, when he gets the ball he is going to score. The advice that I have is that he should be himself and be focused on his game. it's the only way he will remain at the top of the top goal scorer charts. He is not a rookie either, he has been playing his game for more than 10 years internationally. The only thing I can say is that he should keep his positivity, passion and drive. I would say reduce the red cards also!

Can Fulham make a push for a European spot next season?

Fulham have the means to push for a European spot next season. They have proved that in this season through great performances and dominant performances - no lucky starts or last minute performances. By having this combination and having a manager who is conscious of the game and remains with his philosophies. If the foundation stays the same, they can continue to go to a higher level.

Joao Palhihna has been making a name for himself this season, what do you make of him as a player?

Joao Palhinha is an unbelievable player. I rated him a lot when he was at Sporting. I do think that when a player comes to England, it is like he has just been discovered. Though he has done it for many years in Portugal. I am very convinced that a central midfielder position is very important within a team. Fabinho has done it for Liverpool, Fernandinho for Man City, Thomas Partey for Arsenal. He has been one of the most important players in the squad aside from Mitrovic.

What was it like winning the first division with Fulham in the 2000-01 season?

It was amazing. It felt very natural in that Fulham were ready for that success. The club invested correctly and put a lot of depth into a new style of football in the Championship. We enjoyed our football and connection with the fans, we had everything. As a player, it was a dream to be able to play every weekend like that. I can see that all those elements are coming back. They did really well last year and can see it again this year - it is the same formula. I can see it in Tim Ream, and the passion in Mitrovic. I also saw the same passion in abundance within Luis Boa Morte. Those types of players will break a leg for you. This is a side where previously, players were just happy to be there, but now there is aggression and a willingness to win.

Other

There is the consensus that Odegaard is the best Premier League midfielder right now. Who would you rather have, Casemiro or Odegaard?

Right now, I would possibly have Odegaard in my team over Casemiro, but if you are talking about guarantees, one has 5 champions leagues and the other scores many important goals so you have to respect that. One is a natural leader, will have the right aggression without being dirty. Casemiro can still help you in all different elements of your game. Against any difficult side, Casemiro is going to turn up. Odegaard will have more challenges and have to adapt. Casemiro has more experience and quality to be a more complete player so he is perhaps a safer guarantee of the level he will perform at.

What is your current Top 4 prediction?

I think the current Top will stay the same until the end of the season. Manchester City and Arsenal won't change. You may see a big run from Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool are never afraid to have a big run. I think Newcastle will struggle to keep up when it comes to the very end, they have excelled their expectations this year but their last 10 games will be tough for them. I think Spurs will remain fourth.

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