Sir Alex Ferguson: Rant was more than justified

Manager: Sir Alex Ferguson

Manager: Sir Alex Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson has been complaining more than usual of late; referees and the media are of course the targets of his ire. From wrongly questioning Alan Wiley’s fitness to bemoaning penalty decisions that his side are not getting in Europe; it appears he has something to moan about every week. The latest complaint was in reference to the media’s reaction to his young side’s performance against Besiktas in the Champions League last week.

Ferguson claims that the match reports last week were overly harsh and that some of the comments about the youngsters were simply unfair. In this case, he may have a point; comment that were made insinuating that the current crop of youngsters aren’t good enough were premature. The side comprised mainly of youngsters only lost by a single deflected goal, for large periods of the game they dominated possession. There was a lack of cutting edge to the play and some individuals did underperform; but to dismiss the group based on one game is crazy. The likes of Anderson, Obertan and Welbeck in particular could go on to have successful careers with United.

It is improbable to the extreme that there is some form of witch-hunt against United this season, but Ferguson’s anger was on this occasion justified. There was no need to write of his youngsters in the manner in which some observers did; the team as a whole struggled in the final third and senior players like Park and Carrick deserved more of the blame than the youngsters. It is understandable that there would be some nerves on such a big stage; for some of them it was a rare opportunity to experience European football.

Ferguson is known for having great faith in his young players, and he is very optimistic about the chances of his current crop. Earlier this season he tipped 19yr old Danny Welbeck to make a surprise bid for the England World Cup squad; while this may seem fanciful, it is a measure of how highly he is rated and rightfully so. Welbeck shows good composure on the ball and has impressed when given the opportunity, his presence is part of the reason Ferguson was so comfortable with not signing another striker after Benzema rebuffed his advances.

Many of Ferguson’s rants are bemusing, some are clearly used to deflect attention away from his side if they are struggling, while others may be designed to influence decisions made by others in the long-term. But in this case, he was right to jump to the defence of his youthful second team; they will take great heart from his passionate support and this could inspire them to succeed when they are next given an opportunity.