Sir Alex Ferguson has accused the Football Association of victimizing his Manchester United team, with the 69-year-old Scot claiming that it is now “an obvious trend” within the governing body. The FA has handed out a five-match touchline ban to the United manager and a two-match playing ban to striker Wayne Rooney in the past month, with the Reds’ management vigorously contesting each sanction.
Indeed Ferguson, whose side meets 10th placed Fulham at Old Trafford on Saturday, accused the FA of pressuring referee Lee Mason to alter his post-match report after United’s victory at the Boleyn Ground last weekend.
“He was put under pressure [by the FA], there is no doubt about that. He’s now put himself in the spotlight and if he doesn’t send a player off for swearing the question will be: has he got double standards? It’s a very difficult position. I don’t know how his career is going to go now.”
And asked if he believed the two-match ban imposed by the FA, was fair, Ferguson said: “I don’t know if you can use that word ‘fair’ any longer.”
“But we can use it. The support will be fantastic now. You watch it. It will be absolutely magnificent. And the players are absolutely brilliant.”
But if off-the-field events have dominated this week’s headlines then Ferguson is at least boosted by an almost fully fit squad for the Londoners’ visit. While Brazilian youngster Rafael da Silva will miss the game with a dead leg, fellow defenders Wes Brown and John O’Shea return following injury, although Jonny Evans is suspended.
Ferguson will also welcome back midfielder Anderson, who scored twice in United reserves’ 2-1 victory over Manchester City this week. The 22-year-old Brazilian has missed two months with a knee injury but could make the bench, with Paul Scholes also in line for a return to United’s midfield. Nani is likely to be given another rest, with the Portuguese winger looking jaded in recent weeks.
Indeed, Ferguson may be tempted to protect key players ahead of United’s crunch Champions League quarter-final second leg with Chelsea on Tuesday night. While Rio Ferdinand came through the tie at Stamford Bridge without reaction, Ferguson could turn to Chris Smalling in defence. Meanwhile, with Rooney suspended Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov will start in attack.
Yet, Ferguson chose to focus on outside pressures, saying that recent events will strengthen United’s resolve to win a record 19th domestic title in May.
“I want us to make it clear that we can rise above recent problems and that we are a club who can overcome all difficulties and attempts to knock us off our perch,” Ferguson wrote in his programme notes for United Review.
“We have done it before, and we can do it again if we pull together at this vital stage of the season as we go from one major fixture to another. This is the fighting spirit that makes Manchester United such a great club, and which has helped us over the line to success so many times in the past.”
Meanwhile, former United favourite Mark Hughes is could be without winger Damien Duff, who is suffering from a sore Achilles but may make the bench. Defender Aaron Hughes is available after recovering from a head injury.
The west London club hasn’t won at Old Trafford since 2003 but boasts just one loss to United in the last four meetings between the sides. United must also guard against complacency with the Reds having taken 49 points from a possible 51 in their last 17 Premier League games at Old Trafford.
“Every game is difficult now,” midfielder Scholes added in United Review.
“Bolton at home proves it – that was a game we were expected to get three points from and we almost didn’t. The games aren’t turning out as people think they will. Bolton were very organised and had chances to win the game themselves. We know Fulham are a similar team. They like to get the ball down and play. They’ve got dangerous players and a manager who’s hungry for them to do well.
“It’s going to be difficult but, being at home, we’d like to think we can win it.”
With league games against Newcastle United and Everton coming after the cup double-header in this week, victory will be another huge step towards regaining the Premier League title. Indeed, should United win each of the next three the title will surely be heading to Old Trafford. And with Arsenal not in action until Sunday, United will move 10 points clear of the Gunners with victory today.
Fulham – 4411 – Schwarzer; Baird, Hughes, Hangeland, Salcido; Davies, Etuhu, Murphy, Sidwell; Dempsey; Zamora. Subs from: Johnson, Dembele, Stockdale, Kelly, Gudjohnsen, Kakuta, Duff, Greening.
United – 442 – van der Sar; O’Shea, Vidic, Smalling, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Scholes, Park; Berbatov, Hernandez. Subs from: Kuszczak, Owen, Bébé, Fabio, Obertan, Gibson, Nani, Anderson, Ferdinand, Giggs.
Referee: Mark Jones
Assistant referees: Stuart Burt & Scott Ledger
Fourth official: Michael Oliver
United – DWWWWW
Fulham – DLDWLW
59 thoughts on “Fergie circles United wagons ahead of Fulham tie”
3-0.. valencia to play a blinder.
we wont lose 2 or 3 nil you bellends
fuck are you on about turdhead?
I fancy a rout.
Berbs will want to make a point, and I’ve a feeling him and Chico will be a good match.
8 changes from weds nite – hope the tempo is high from the off
ffs gibson alongside berbs?
now that is fucking optimistic
Linky any one?
Man Utd: Kuszczak, O’Shea, Smalling, Vidic, Evra, Gibson, Scholes, Anderson, Valencia, Berbatov, Nani. Subs: Van der Sar, Brown, Owen, Park, Hernandez, Carrick, Fabio Da Silva.
thats pretty sound
Thanks mate but this one is awesome!
that scouse prick murphy is still playing for them – cunt
Two corners two turds, come on Toni!
ffs fulham testing kushzxcak twice already
defence spreading their cheeks pretty early for them ffs
What the fuck are the Glazers doing there?
Apparently they are measuring up to see if a statue of Malcolm will fit outside!
they own the club….
trying to boost the ticket sales by 2?
Get in there Berba! Nani made that hes been class this season! EASY EASY! Brillint footy but maybe offside?
Anderson just cant score
berbs on fire
come on reds
Anderson you spunker, got two for the reserves and cant hit a barn door for us! Great play by Berba to put him in tho.
playing some sweet stuff
need to score another before h/t tho
Nani… fuckin about with the ball too much again.
You were saying?
“Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and ching’ tu madre! Come out from that shit-hole of yours. I have to speak to you.”
lovely work by nani for that
Nani… lovely work, but he’ so fuckin selfish, he nearly blew it.
u pulling one off?
Why are all my comments awaiting moderation? Nani was brilliant again in setting up the goal, looks on fire today!
My link has gone down!! ffs
try this u cunt
This one works mate
Just a white screen!
thats the best link ive had this season
pure joy to watch
such crystal clear pictures
shame you can’t share the pleasure
good 1st half
need to keep the tempo up 2nd half
nani, berbs and valencia pretty awesome
but if they had scored from either of their 2 chances in the opening 5 mins, it may have been potentially awkward
Got it now thanks old bean.
One more goal and we are going to give Owen a run-in.
FFS we have fallen asleep
This is a perfect example of how we lack a real leader.
Keane would be foaming at the mouth right now… and handing out slaps.
ha good to see a scholes shot
Evra was a lot better today.
Well, the result is good… but it was a bit of a shit game.
Nearly fell asleep.
would have settled for that at 3.00pm
however, players took it easy 2nd half knowing job was done
Fantastic. Absolutely thrilled at this result. I really worried that we might take our eye off it and drop points. So very well played the lads and technical crew. Don’t care a jot if the match was not all that to watch. Six games left and we are still in the driving seat. Arsenal have to win tomorrow or that tie at The Emirates starts to look meaningless.
Bring on Terry and his band on Tuesday.
Thank goodness for an incident free game. Everyone played calmly and Gibson had a blinder by his standards LOL.
First gear, piece of piss
Just what we need at this time of year
SAF no doubt will be winding wenger up now by saying blackpool’s a hard place to go to etc etc
nice and easy, good result.
nani showed ronaldoesque quality by winning us the game in the first half.
Cannot wait to hear Red Nev at Sky Sports.
ideal for commenting Liveinthepast – Citeh game lol =)
Routine win. Fulham seemed happy to accept a 2-0 defeat. We could have been more comfortable if we’d been a bit more clinical but I have no complaints.
Having dropped just 2 points at home means that Fulham and the like won’t try that hard