In the latest Super 6 Class of ’92 diary, Phil Neville expects Manchester United and Salford to step up their title charges in crucial fixtures, while backing David Unsworth to keep the Everton job.
I thought that Manchester United played better than people suggested against Tottenham. The manager and the players deserve more credit than they got.
They controlled the second half and, yes Dele Alli had that chance, it was always a 1-0 game for me and you just cannot write off Jose Mourinho in big games.
I love the anticipation of seeing the teamsheet for a big United game. Tactically he’s phenomenal and always finds a way to get a result.
Bridging the gap
Manchester United’s trip to Chelsea on Sunday (live on Sky Sports Premier League) is a huge game for the Premier League title race. We saw what Manchester City did to Chelsea, beating them 1-0 and probably producing one of the best performances we’ve seen in three or four seasons.
United have to win the game. I don’t think a draw is good enough but I think they are ready to win a game of this magnitude.
Chelsea have the players to hurt you with Eden Hazard coming back to form. Will Jose look to man-mark him with Ander Herrera? Tactically I think it will be another game where he comes up with a plan to win the game.
The new Solskjaer
Anthony Martial is a fantastic weapon because if you’re a full-back and you defend for 60-65 minutes against somebody like Marcus Rashford, and then you bring on Martial, who is similarly quick, it is soul destroying.
I don’t think Martial should be overly concerned about starting games because his importance is huge. Similar to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in 1999, he produces his best performances from the bench, so at this moment in time keep that going.
Manchester United fans adore him, you hear them singing his name as much as any other player, and as an impact substitute he’s as good as anybody.
Lay off Lukaku
I think Romelu Lukaku probably dipped in the previous three games, which happens when you join a new side, but he was better against Tottenham and started bullying their defenders.
Forget the chances he’s missed, if he keeps performing like that he will score goals in the big games and he looked razor sharp.
There’s not actually that many strikers who score lots of goals in the big games so I think it is a harsh criticism, but if United are to to get a result at Chelsea they need another big performance from him.
Matic move a mystery
I don’t actually see Lukaku as a former Chelsea player, unlike Nemanja Matic who has won titles with them. I see Lukaku more as a former Everton and West Brom player, but he will want to prove it was a massive mistake selling him.
I didn’t understand selling Matic at the start of the season and I don’t understand it now, so it will be interesting to see how Chelsea fans react to him.
It seems like a business decision as they’d committed to sign Tiemoue Bakayoko, but as a football decision it is as bizarre as you will see, similar to Leeds selling Eric Cantona to Manchester United.
Give Unsworth the job
There was nothing in the suggestions that I was going for the Everton job. Would I be interested? Yes. Did I apply? No.
I’ve said they should give David Unsworth the chance. He knows the fabric of the club and I’d love to see him get the opportunity to manage the team until the end of the season at least.
As someone who wants British coaches do well I think we need to be promoting our own and giving them the chance to do well. We’ve got the best foreign managers in the Premier League but we also need to start looking after our own.
Management mission impossible
The pressure of dropping out of the Premier League is greater than it has ever been. It is becoming like an almost impossible job and you have 10 games to make your mark. If you don’t, then you’re gone.
Getting sacked as a manager used to be the biggest embarrassment and shame, you questioned yourself, but now, whoever it is, from the best like Carlo Ancelotti at Bayern Munich, you know it is going to happen.
Managers used to not go out the house for a few weeks after being sacked – but now the mentality is that you wake up the next day and look for jobs, because everybody knows it is inevitable.
Targeting top spot
A lot has been made of the sending-off of Salford City goalkeeper Max Crocombe on Saturday and our player has issued a statement, so that’s the end of it from our perspective. The most important thing is we won the game against Bradford Park Avenue and now we can go top of the table at Boston on Tuesday.
We need to kick on now. With the heavy pitches, our power, quality and squad size means we need to be looking at the next couple of months to put our marker down and keep beating teams.
On Tuesday night we’ve also got the FA Youth Cup first-round tie at Wrexham, who have a fantastic youth set up, and that is arguably the biggest game for us. If we win that then it is Blackburn next, and what that young team are doing is fantastic, especially considering they are a year below.
Once you get on a roll you build team spirit and imagine how good our young team is going to be in 12 months. Building character is what it is all about for us.
Super 6 predictions
With Bayern Munich struggling with injuries I’m going for Celtic to produce one of those famous Hampden Park nights and get the victory. I’ll be in Rome for Chelsea’s trip and am going for a narrow win, even though it is a really tough place to go, while Manchester United should secure a comfortable win over Benfica at Old Trafford.
Olympiakos 0-3 Barcelona
Celtic 2-0 Bayern Munich
Manchester United 2-0 Benfica
Roma 1-2 Chelsea
Hull 1-1 Middlesbrough
Cardiff 2-0 Ipswich