Louis Saha Exclusive

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What did you make of the Patrick Vieira situation?

“Obviously because he’s a manager and a public figure and people expect him to react in a calmer way, but we’re all human beings.

“I hate the way that whoever’s in this position will be judged. I know myself I’m a calm guy but if you come across in my face, I’d have definitely reacted the same.

“It was totally unfair and you have to protect yourself so I defend Patrick as I’d have done the same.

“We need to protect the players.”

 

He may be fined now, what do you make of that?

“It’s absolutely ridiculous. The club has put the manager in this position so they can’t expect him not to react.

“There are things that people should not be allowed to do and when you’re in this situation you’re allowed to defend yourself because the players are in danger.”


How key has Jordan Pickford been to Everton’s survival?

“He’s a very strong fella and has a great mentality. He digs in and works hard and his mentality is right there and he deservedly is now getting the rewards and the praise.

“Goalkeeper is a very tough position, you’re either really good or really bad. He made some really vital saves and for Everton to be a in a bigger position, you need a strong foundation and Pickford can help them reach that level.

“At one point I wasn’t fully comfortable with him and he was making silly mistakes, but he’s worked hard and now he deserves the praise as it’s a very tough position - especially when they’re fighting relegation.”

 

How do you assess Dele Alli’s time at Everton?

“He hasn’t made the biggest impression and there’s no doubting he must improve, but he’s a big player and he’ll eventually come back to what he was.”


What would you first act be if you were Erik ten Hag?

“He needs to build an understanding of the club. I think he should try and talk to Gary Neville and some people inside the club, maybe Darren Fletcher, to help his staff understand the culture of the club.

“There’s been a big problem in terms of mentality which was somewhat restored by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but there still needs to be work on the foundation, the plan and think about the actual players.”

 

Aaron Wan-Bissaka could leave, where’s it gone wrong?

“To be honest, I don’t understand what’s happened with Wan-Bissaka. I thought he was improving but I think criticism has been unfair because he did good in his first two years.

“He’s playing in team which is not showing it’s quality and he needs confidence from the overall structure.

“He’s one of the players who’ve been used as a scapegoat because he’s a brilliant player.”

 

Declan Rice of De Jong for United?

“De Jong hasn’t played in the Premier League so he’ll need time to adapt but what a talent.

“It’s hard to pick. The West Ham captain is a brilliant prospect and very strong in the middle of the park. He’s an asset defending and going forward.

“If I had to pick I’d go for Rice as he provides security and would be easy for him to adapt because of his experience.”

 

Will Pogba be a big miss?

“He’ll be a big miss because of one of the best in his position, but when you look at his overall achievements you can understand his frustration.

“I’m annoyed because there's talk that he hasn’t contributed at all, but just like Wan-Bissaka I’d love to see him in a club who are playing well and winning trophies because he’s an amazing player.

“I can’t see him being missed as no-one is bigger than the club.”

 

Would he be a good fit for Chelsea as they have Kante?

“Chelsea is the obvious match because he loves to play with N’Golo Kante.

“We always try to compare what he does with France and United and the ability of Kante makes Pogba play to another dimension and that’s the truth.

“Only Pogba can indicate where he wants to go, I’m just sad he hasn’t fulfilled his dream.” 

 

Should United go all out for Kane?

“They should absolutely go all out for Kane, yes. He’s the player that will bring United back to the top.

“I’m scared that Man City are going to be stepping up even more and become even more hard to catch as they now have Haaland, a player who allows them to play long balls and counter-attacking football.

“If Man United or even Liverpool need to catch-up, you need those additions and Kane guarantees 25 to 30 goals-a-season and I’m sure it’ll be a nice partnership with Cristiano Ronaldo.”

 

Does he now want to stay?

You can see he’s enjoying his time at Spurs. His partnership with Son is unbelievable.

“They can achieve a lot of things and they have a great manager but United still remain a very attractive destination - even if they aren’t in the Champions League.”

 

Do you think Son is underrated?

“Jurgen Klopp has provided an unbelievable platform for Salah and Mane to perform. Son is seriously underrated as he plays every game with the same intensity and with a smile on his face.

“You can see he wants to improve and make his teammates better. If I had to pick Salah or Son, if you had a Klopp system I’d say Salah, but any system I’d say son.”

 

Fulham got a reputation as a yo-yo club, they have to stay up for good now don’t they?

“Fulham have to stay up for good now. There a great club, a family club but they have to reach that step where they establish themselves. They have to be feared because right now they’re a nice club and I think the next step is to be more aggressive to avoid the yo-yo effect.”

Aleksandr Mitrovic simply needs service and he’ll score loads in the Premier League

“He’s scoring and doing his job and consistent at it.

“He’s scored so many goals in the Championship and he has in the Premier League when he’s given the service.

“They just need to provide him the service and he’ll score.”

 

Would you love Sunderland to go up?

“I’d love them to go up. I only spent six months there and it’s not right for the football league to have such a big club in this division.

“They need to be back in the Premier League but it’s getting tougher and tougher.

“I wish him the best for the game. I can’t tell you how appreciative I am of the fans in Sunderland. This city is amazing the way they love football and I wish them all the best.”

 

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