Manchester United will still be recovering from the despair of their F.A Cup exit to Leeds last weekend and a solitary point from Saturdays match with in-form Birmingham City will have done little to heal their wounds. United fans need no reminder that they were on the end of what will undoubtedly already prove to be one of the giant-killings of the decade as they crashed out the competition at the first hurdle. The famous saying ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ springs to mind and whilst most United fans may claim this is one cloud that doesn’t, if you search hard enough, you can find it.
The United performance was, admittedly, woeful against the League Two side. Whilst Ferguson’s men did miss chances, so did the Yorkshire club and it could have quite easily been worse. There was a lack of fight from the Champions and players such as Wes Brown and Dimitar Berbatov looked like they should have been the ones playing in the third tier of English football and not the Champions League. Ferguson himself led the line of critics, stating:
“I didn’t expect that performance, it was shocking. I’ve no complaints about the result,”
Ferguson and United are still wearing the blushes caused by the shock exit and the silver lining I spoke of is appearing ever more elusive yet the game could just well prove to be a blessing in disguise.
You don’t have to have been in the Old Trafford dressing room after the game to guess what would have taken place. Ferguson will have unleashed hell upon the United players and some of them may have preferred to stay on the pitch in front of the 70,000 angry fans rather than face the Scotsman’s wrath. Alex Ferguson’s sides do not produce that kind of performance very often and you can bet that it will not happen again this season.
The exit may prove the kick up the backside that United need. The sense of invincibility that has been associated with Manchester United sides over the years has gone and the Red Devil’s have already succumbed to defeat five times in the Premier League this season, it is therefore obvious that things need to improve.
It has been widely documented that the United side is the weakest it has been for years and the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo has taken its toll on the Manchester Club. Having crashed out the F.A Cup, the squad will now focus almost solely on retaining their Premier League crown and with the title race being so hotly contested this season, the lack of F.A Cup distraction can only work to United’s advantage. The Leeds game will not only place extra significance on the league title, but United will take the lessons learnt from the game and use it to spur on their title challenge.
The F.A Cup is a great competition but the league has and will always be United’s priority. They may have been the laughing stock of the nation and it will take a while to recover from the blushes caused by the upset, but if it spurs United onto title success come May, then it may have just proved to be a blessing in disguise.
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