Manchester United take on Tottenham Hotspur in Shanghai, China in just a few hours, with Ole Gunnar Solskaer looking to keep up with the Red Devils’ pre-season winning streak.
Ahead of the game, we’ve spoken to Alfie from COYS.com about all things United and Spurs. Today’s topics of discussion include Mauricio Pochettino’s genius, Toby Alderweireld still being at White Hart Lane and that famous Champions League run from last season. Do go give them a follow on Twitter here.
Anyway, let’s delve right into the Q&A…
Jordan @ Old Trafford Faithful: Hi Alfie, First of all, tell us a bit about yourself and COYS.com?
Alfie @ COYS.com: Hi there, I’m Alfie and I have been a Spurs fan all my life, taking after my dad and grandad. I started my own Tottenham fan page a few years ago and was approached by a company called Fanzine to run the social accounts for COYS.com.
COYS has its very own Tottenham fan apps in both Apple and Google Play stores and website. I contribute my own views and opinions socially, whilst creating video content for the page also.
Jordan @ OTF: We have to start with Mauricio Pochettino. He’s an excellent manager who extracts the absolute maximum out of his players. You must be delighted with him? I know several reds who wanted him instead of Ole!
Alfie @ COYS.com: The man is a genius. He has built an incredible squad and taken the club to another level. Four consecutive top 4 finishes, under some of the circumstances we have faced like no transfers for 500 days and the injuries, it is a fantastic achievement!
We have achieved that level of consistency but now need to reach the next level and win a trophy. I did fear his head would be turned by the interest from United at one point, but he looks to be fully focused on the project with us.
Jordan @ OTF: That Champions League final loss must have hurt, but do you have the confidence of getting back there? The addition of Tanguy Ndombele no doubt helps, he’s a top player.
Alfie @ COYS.com: It was an amazing journey but we just fell short in the final. It will be hard to reach the Champions League final again, but we certainly have to be aiming for at least one of the cups.
Breaking our record fee in signing Ndombele is a signing of real intent and is a position we needed to strengthen. He was impressive on his debut vs Juventus on the weekend, registering an assist with his first few touches and I hope he can continue that into the season. He is a strong box-to-box midfielder, I think he will suit the Premier League.
Jordan @ OTF: Agreed, he’s class. Are you surprised that United, or anyone else, hasn’t activated the £25m release clause within Toby Alderweireld’s contract? Are you happy that he looks to be staying at White Hart Lane?
Alfie @ COYS.com: I can’t believe that no one has really pursued him this window, it seems to have just all been paper talk. You could have really done with him in your defence.
The clause officially expires tomorrow, and I have been counting down the days! He is a top-class defender and still has 2/3 years in him easily. I hope we can tie him down on a new contract for a couple more years. His partnership with Jan Vertonghen is superb.
Jordan @ OTF: What about Christian Eriksen? Do you think he’ll stick around after his outburst early on in the summer?
Alfie @ COYS.com: From the club’s training photos and the player’s social media videos in Asia, he looks happy within the camp so hopefully it means he is staying, and we have convinced him to sign a new contract!
He is vital to us and his stats back that up, he has the most assists and chances created in the Premier League since his debut in 13/14. We’re rumoured to sign midfielder Le Celso from Celta Vigo, so if we pull that off and Eriksen stays, we have a seriously strong midfield in depth next season.
Jordan @ OTF: Yeah, he’s another I would have liked at Old Trafford! Who do you think will finish higher next season, United or Spurs? Also, would you take a fifth-placed or lower finish if it meant securing the first trophy under Poch?
Alfie @ COYS.com: I think we will – Spurs. I’m interested to see how United will perform next season, given Ole’s fantastic start and then poor end to the season, it’s a tricky one to call.
I would only accept a Champions League trophy for 5th place as it would guarantee our place in the competition the following year. We have world-class players that need to be playing in that competition each season for me and I’d fear that some would be more tempted to leave if we won the Carabao cup but were playing in the Europa League for example.
Jordan @ OTF: That makes sense. If you could sign any United player for Spurs, with no restrictions, who would you pick?
Alfie @ COYS.com: Anthony Martial. I’ve always been a massive fan of him and hoped we would make a move when it seemed he might be leaving United.
On his day, he can be unstoppable and beat any full-back in the world. I feel he’s the type of player Poch could coach and mentor and really improve and maximise his potential.
Jordan @ OTF: That one is interesting! On the flip side, is there one Spurs player who’d drastically improve United?
Alfie @ COYS.com: For what United need, it’s the man we discussed earlier and you have been heavily rumoured with – Toby Alderweireld. A solid rock in central defence, he would organise and command the rest of your backline. I think it’s obvious for any fan how much Man United need a real class Centre Back.
Jordan @ OTF: Finally, I know it’s tough as it’s pre-season, but can you give us a score prediction?
Alfie @ COYS.com: I’m expecting both teams to score and some goals, so I’m going 2-2. I’m interested to see Mason Greenwood play if he features, I’ve heard such positive things about him socially and his goal record within the youth ranks is incredible.
Like him but a product of Spurs’ academy is Troy Parrott, 17-year old who has also scored lots of goals at youth level and recently promoted to the first-team on this pre-season tour. Look out for him United fans and all the best for the season.
Jordan @ OTF: We’ll go for a 2-1 United win. Thanks Alfie, enjoy the game!