PRE-SEASON: Man United Part 1

For Part 1 of our pre-season look at Man United, we’ve got Paul from the brilliant United Rant Cast to answer a few questions for us. Paul can be found on twitter as well.
Hi Paul. Last season was obviously a disappointment for United. Indeed, at times it was hard to imagine how it could be worse. Are there any positives from last year you are taking forward into the new season?
 
Yes! Moyes has gone! A comically terrible appointment which lead to a comically terrible season (funny from everyone else’s perspective anyway).
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As for proper positives, the arrival of Juan Mata will serve us brilliantly for ages, I suspect. De Gea was great all season too – off the top of my head I can only think of a single egregious error, and that was playing behind a team with all the stability of a three legged table.
You’d think there would be a renewed hunger because of last season too – hopefully that will help us now.
 
There seems to be a mood building in the press that Van Gaal will be taking United back to success almost instantly. Bearing in mind the lack of any European football, what would success look like for United this season?
 
Getting back into the Champions League is par. A trophy would be lovely, particularly the FA Cup. Given that every year Fergie would bang on about how Rio had never win the FA Cup and we should win it for him then put out very sub par teams, it would be sort of funny if we win it the year after he leaves. No excuses to not go for it, at least, given no Europe.
van gaal
Depending on the rest of the transfer window, it wouldn’t be a huge shock to me if we did compete for the title again, or even won it, but that’s not the expectation. The expectation is some proper football again, some squad building and a Champions League place for next season.
 
Fellaini was badly off the pace last season – no more so than in the game at the Etihad where Yaya dominated him. Is he worth keeping?
Lol, no. Some United fans said he could be our Yaya. The only way you could compare them now would be if Fellaini complained about a lack of birthday cake. Which wouldn’t happen because United make the same cake for all the players’ birthdays. It has white icing and lovely pictures of the players on it. They missed a massive trick on Phil Jones’ birthday, and used normal looking pictures of him on his cake. Shame.
(It looks like Fellaini is on his way to Napoli anyway… Probably about time too – Ed.)
 
From the outside, do you think City are capable of defending our trophy properly this year?
 
Because of being swept up in the giddiness of Van Gaal and the World Cup, I’ve not really paid attention to other clubs’ summers. Have you bought anyone? Suarez going to Barca is presumably great news for you lot because Aguero would have been a great fit there too. Has Yaya made up with the club? That seems like it would be vital.
Compared to last season, Chelsea will be better, we’ll be better and Liverpool will be worse. I would imagine City players will be keen not to repeat the 2012/13 capitulation of the title defense (thanks for that by the way, very well timed for us, and you’re welcome for us spectacularly returning the favour last season).
 
And finally, if you could have one of our players for your first XI, who would it be?
 
Up until this summer I would have said Yaya in a heartbeat. What an incredible, incredible player. But it all the shenanigans have been a bit distasteful, Rooney-esque even. We’ve already got one Rooney, and don’t want another one.
Every right thinking football fan should love David Silva – plays the game in such a beautiful way. But we’re well stocked for short footballing wizards who play behind the front men now.
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I’m still gonna say Yaya. Needs must, and our midfield has a lot of needs.
Thanks, Paul! 
Interview by Alex Timperley who is on Twitter

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