Marc Pugh

United v Bournemouth: Pugh's view

Friday 03 July 2020 14:09

Former Bournemouth midfielder Marc Pugh says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is doing a great job and things are starting to come together at Manchester United.

In an exclusive interview with United ReviewPugh - who left the Vitality Stadium last summer after almost a decade's service - gave his thoughts on whether his old club could craft a result against the in-form Reds at Old Trafford on Saturday.

The 33-year-old also recalled some memorable Cherries' wins over United, and how they could give his former employers inspiration in their battle to beat the drop...

What have you made of your former club this season?
“I haven’t had that many opportunities to watch Bournemouth this season because of my playing commitments at Queens Park Rangers (Pugh departed Loftus Road last month). It has obviously been a difficult season for them… the Premier League gets tougher every season. I obviously have everything crossed that they can get out of the situation they are in. Bournemouth certainly have the quality to survive in the division. The gaffer (Eddie Howe) knows how to get the best out of his players and he’ll be doing everything in his powers to guide them to safety. At this stage in the campaign, performances become of secondary importance… it’s all about getting results now. Despite having a tough run in on paper when you look at the fixtures, I’m confident Bournemouth can get the points they need to survive.”

As a fellow midfielder, what have you made of Harry Wilson’s performances for Bournemouth this season?
“Harry has had a fantastic season. He has a magical left foot and he has scored some wonder goals this season. Harry reminds me of Matt Ritchie when I played with him at Bournemouth, in terms of his ability and the type of player he is. He’ll be a very important player in the run-in.”

Going into the match at Old Trafford, how much confidence will Bournemouth take from their 1-0 victory over Manchester United at the Vitality Stadium earlier in the season?
“It’s always incredibly difficult going to Old Trafford, but Bournemouth can certainly draw on the win over United earlier in the season. Old Trafford is a wonderful stage to play on and you have to go there with confidence and belief. You have to believe in yourselves and believe in your teammates and give it your all.”

What have you made of Manchester United this season?
“The standards and expectations at Manchester United are extremely high. I think we are seeing signs of them moving in the right direction to really re-establishing themselves as a major force. It was always going to take time to re-build after Sir Alex retired. Every manager that has come in since has had massive shoes to fill. But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is doing a great job. The club has really talented players and now it’s about putting together those bits of the jigsaw.”

You went on an amazing journey with AFC Bournemouth during your nine years with the club, with promotions to the Championship in 2013 and the Premier League in 2015. How do you look back on your time with the Cherries?“It was absolutely incredible. We came from nowhere in League One during the 2012/13 season to gain promotion. When Eddie Howe returned from Burnley (in October 2012), we were in 19th position in the table. We went on a great run thereafter… we were 15 league matches unbeaten at one point in the season and then we won eight of the last nine games at the end of season to finish second in League One. We completed the story in 2014/15, by winning the Championship title and getting promoted to the Premier League. I experienced two promotions… some players at the club went on the full journey from League Two all the way to the Premier League.”

Redknapp: United could be a 'real force'


The former Cherries boss has spoken to us ahead of Bournemouth's visit to Old Trafford.

What are your memories of Bournemouth’s matches with Manchester United during your first season in the Premier League in 2015/16?
“I was on the bench for the 2-1 home victory over Manchester United but what a night that was! It was a strange situation with the match at Old Trafford at the end of the season. The game was postponed and then rescheduled a few days later. It was disappointing to lose 3-1 but I still felt privileged to play at Old Trafford. Even though I was raised as a Burnley fan, United were my second team. I went to Old Trafford to watch them from time to time. I remember being at a Champions League match against FC Basel which United won 3-1. My idols growing up were Eric Cantona and Ryan Giggs.

“The following season, we got a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford. I got substituted at half-time because we had a man sent-off (Andrew Surman) and the manager re-shuffled the team. To hold on and get the result with only ten men at a place like Old Trafford shows what we were made of as a team. Artur Boruc saved a penalty from Zlatan (Ibrahimovic) on a great day for us!”

This interview first appeared in United Review, ahead of the United v Bournemouth match on 4 July. Get your copy now.

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