Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has hit back at the critics who slated some of the young players who produced disappointing displays in last week's 1-0 Champions League defeat to Besiktas.
The veteran United boss is ready to use the same players in Tuesday's Carling Cup quarter-final against Tottenham Hotspur, with Danny Welbeck, Federico Macheda, Rafael, Gabriel Obertan, Anderson and Darron Gibson all set to feature.
"It will be the same players that played on Wednesday," Ferguson said in the build-up to the Spurs game."Their future is well marked out, I think.
"One journalist wrote, 'there's no future for these players, no tomorrow for them'. What an idiot. I can't believe that. It's unbelievable.
"When Beckham, Butt, Scholes and all those lads played in 1996, they were 22 years of age – three years ahead of these players. So that kind of reaction is amazing, isn't it?
"Of course they will grow from that experience. I was confident of playing them and they had every right to play. They will play on Tuesday, too.
"They got anxious. They'd made good chances but hurried things – that's not the biggest crime in the world. We're not talking about ability here, we're talking about experience.
"That's why we have to play them. Games are the one thing we have to give them. We can't just give them that old head that helps you deal with situations like on Wednesday in the final third of the field.
"The number of young players we have is stacking up, they need to be challenged. I thought they did OK and I didn't think they deserved that kind of criticism.
"But the same journalists will be wanting articles from them when they're stars, going cap-in-hand, begging them for interviews in a few years' time – mark my words on that.
"They'll be hypocritical and say, 'I've always said you were going to be a wonderful player'. What a world we live in."