Sir Alex Ferguson says that keeping Wayne Rooney will kick-start Manchester United’s season after five draws in the first eight Premier League fixtures this season. The United manager is without Rooney for the trip to Stoke City on Sunday but says that his side will now begin chasing Chelsea in earnest, with the Londoners eight points ahead.
Rooney will miss the next three weeks, possibly returning for the Manchester derby on 10 November, so Ferguson is likely to persist with Dimitar Berbatov as a lone striker at the Britannia. Javier Hernández is in contention, although the smart money is on the Mexican starting on the bench against the tough-tackling Midlanders.
Although Rooney questioned United’s “ambition” this week, Ferguson ordered the player to apologise to his team-mates as the Scot attempts to repair his fractured squad.
“We have to start making up ground quickly,” Ferguson admitted.
“We can only do that with everyone on board. With no one jumping ship then we can see the real Manchester United.
“It has been a turbulent few days, we have important issues ahead, starting with Stoke City on Sunday.
“We have been hurt by events but Wayne has apologised to me and the players. He will do so with the supporters too.
“I always feel it is a quality in a person when they say they are sorry and realise they have made a mistake.”
Rooney reportedly clashed with Ferguson over United’s midfield this week, lambasting the manager over his failure to capture Rafael van der Vaart ahead of Tottenham Hotspur.
It’s a mistake Ferguson may yet rectify in the coming window by adding to United’s creative options in midfield. For now Paul Scholes will return despite United being over-run by Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion recently.
One of Michael Carrick, Darron Gibson, and Anderson will join Scholes and Darren Fletcher in United’s engine room. Ryan Giggs, Michael Owen and Jonny Evans miss out through injury.
Despite, or perhaps because of, the spin over the past seven days Ferguson faces one of the most difficult challenges of his managerial career. With fans and players angered by Rooney’s actions, Ferguson must now rally his troops for one of United’s most demanding away fixtures of the season.
But Full-back Patrice Evra, who suggested Rooney should no longer be picked if he cannot trust his team-mates, is confident United will turn a corner in the coming weeks.
“Anyone can talk about Manchester United, but nobody has beaten us. The problem is just Manchester United because no team has played better than us,” said the Frenchman, who has begun the season quietly.
“People may think I am crazy to say that, but it is true. We have played many games and been 2-0 up and then drawn or made things difficult. The problem is just us because when we defend like we can, we show we are a strong team.
“No-one can tell me we have played badly against anyone. I believe that. I think we are playing well. We are just doing some silly mistakes. That is the true problem.”
“We can be the Manchester United everyone wants to see.”
While defensive errors have contributed to United’s problems, the ‘real Manchester United’, the team that attacks with pace and verve, has largely been held in reserve save for Berbatov’s brilliance against Liverpool and Nani’s newly found consistency.
Indeed, it’s hard to see where that might come from against Stoke, with Tony Pullis’ men expert at breaking up the opposition play, although United has claimed victories in five of the last seven league games at the Britannia. Indeed, the Potters’ last league win against United was on Boxing Day 1984.
Still, with “nobody jumping ship” the trip represents a real opportunity to demonstrate a newly united front.
Stoke, meanwhile, will welcome back striker Ricardo Fuller, despite the striker aggravating a shoulder injury at Bolton Wanderers. Midfielder Dean Whitehead is banned.
Stoke (4-5-1): Sorensen; Huth, Shawcross, Faye, Collins; Pennant, Delap, Whitehead, Etherington, Walters; Jones. Subs from: Begovic, Higginbotham, Wilson, Wilkinson, Fuller, Gudjohnsen, Whelan.
Van der Sar, Kuszczak, Amos, Smalling, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, O’Shea, Rafael, Fabio, Brown, Anderson, Nani, Carrick, Gibson, Fletcher, Hernández, Berbatov, Macheda.
Referee: Andre Marriner
Assistant referees: Mike Cairns & Martin Yerby
Fourth official: Mike Jones
Stoke – WDWWWL
United – WWDWDW
63 thoughts on “Ferguson stokes fires ahead of Potters clash”
If we’re going to start making up ground like Fergie says then he needs to start playing the best team available, not one he thinks is just about good enough
Yep nothing less than a full strength side has to be fielded for this game.
We really need a win here – we are currently 6th in the table after today’s results.
If Liverpool weren’t 3rd bottom then there would be even more of a panic on.
Great pre match review.
It will be brilliant to be able to watch United and discuss football as fans rather than all the jiggery pokery of this past week.
I think its sad that we all have to be wee financers and spend time pouring over Mr Greens facts and figures.
During which time for me I build up a bigger sweat than a sun reader on the simple crossword.
Cmon United show us the United bounce back ability.
No Bebe. Someone said when BEBE left Portugal is was a talented young player but when he got to Old Trafford, SAF cut off his dreadlocks and now he is just an ordinary footballer. That sums up the 8 million pound man.
Unfortunately, your predicted team selection has a very good chance of being spot on. If United can score early, they might be able to overcome the drag of not having any attacking options down the left, which makes defending so much easier for Stoke. Even if Obertan is unlikely to score, his speed and greater strength (compared to Park) will allows him to get into positions from which to cross the ball into the box. Stretching Stoke’s defense from side to side and then attacking any gaps with speed seems the smart way to go.
Yes, They will need to hit Stoke early, give them no time to settle, look for two early goals. The speed of Bebe and Obertan would put them in all kinds of trouble. Thats how I would approach this game, with pace and keep the defence tight.
I just read that Sneijder’s agent and United are in talks with a possible move to OT in January. Sneijder refused to sign his new contract, but SAF is trying to bring down the 40 million price tag for the player. Sneijder is willing to move to OT in January if United come up with the money. SAF is willing to offer 35 million.
@Herbie really, tell me please this is the same player that was on the market on leaving the virus for 12 million euros to go to milan. I realise he might be pissed off with the waiter.
You really must drink more, you will all get on our planet.
I need to get the new championship manager game, as Dell boy says” you know it makes sense”
I don’t know what you are saying but you need to get the inside scoup like most of the United fans on other websites. These are people that work inside of the establishment keeping fans up to date of whats going on.
Behind the scenes, Man Utd are already in talks with Sneijder’s agent and Sanchez’s agent. That does not mean they are on their way to United, just in talks. Just putting out there that there is movement to bring in players. SAF does not want to spend no more than 30 million for Sneijder. They are asking 35 million for Bayle, but these are early days yet.
The same sites that had you convinced that Jose is taking over in 2012, and he’ll be bringing Ronnie with him (and Rooney who we were DEFINITELY selling to Real)?
Really fucking accurate.
By “sites” do you mean “ideas I pick from my tiny little mind”?
Look at the United team. How can they now compete with Chelsea, Man City, Tottenham, Real Madrid, Barcelona with the team they have now? If QPR get promoted, they will buy world class players and they will be pushing for a top 4 place. Where would that leave United? The Glazers are not stupid, they need to spend money in order to compete and win trophies. Van de Sar, Scholes and Giggs are retiring, who do you think will replace these players? Do you think their replacements will be Amos, Cleverley and Eikrem? They cannot afford for United to go downhill, they know they must bring in world class players or they will have to sell the club, but the Glazers do not want to sell so they have no other choice but to invest in players to keeep up with the other teams that are getting stronger than United.
Did you read your news today? Fergie is back in the media saying he is going to rebuild another super team by next summer and that as many as 10 of the players in the team now will not be in the team next season. He names the players that will be replaced. He wants a team that can win everything before he retires. He says he will be 69 this year and he needs to put it all together now.
He says Van de Sar, Wes Brown, Gary Neville, Scholes, Giggs,will all be replaced by next summer and 5 others.
Do you have a link? I cant believe Fergie would announce a mas clearout in public a year before it happens, even if it does happen eventually…he is not stupid to cause so much instability and jack up the prices…
Of course he doesn’t have a link…
The thing is we could have had Sneijder for 8 million last summer, or Ozil for 8 mill or Van Der Vaart for 7 million this & all the carry on of the last week would never have occured!
Now everyone knows we are going splash the cash so prices go up.
I have a feeling Gibson is gonna start
If so it had better be in a 4-5-1!
I fear Neville too
Neville / Ferdinand / Vidic / Evra
Nani / Fletcher / O’Shea / Scholes
Berbatov / Chicharito
I guess it should look more like this:
Neville / Ferdinand / Vidic / Evra
Fletcher / O’Shea / Scholes
Nani / Berbatov / Hernandez
Well, at least Obertan is on the bench instead of Park.
I prepared myself for oshea at fullback….
another away draw i suppose
berbatov thinks he’s the top man in this team, keeps throwing tantrums, fucking cunt
everyone boycotting the match or what
Fucking Commentators are getting up my wick…there wishing for Red Nev to be sent off
well he should be off, he will be if we don’t get him off first
Contact sport…bla bla bla, if he comes in a second too late, that aint a foul, good that the Ref saw it that way as well.
The commentators are acting as if Red Nev did it on purpose….cunts
if neville doent see red scholes will
Just saw that wierd head-goal..ffs that was a dose of luck.
Neville off. great
heard tuncay scored?
conceding a late goal yet again
Scholes is responsible for that one.
Hernandez saves us…for now
Chicha is as clinical as Ole.
shite game. glad we got the result though
Firstly Hernandez is a class act, not just on the pitch, but as was his interview of it. Rooney take note.
Secondly Arsenal one up vs. City – Nasri showing Gareth Barry & the rest of us why England have so far to come before they even get near to winning anything at international level.
But…but.. that font of footballing knowledge Knobhead calls him Hernanshite in the belief that he’s not very good.
Decent performance by most. Nani had a mare, O’Shakey was awful bordering on painful and Carrick totally ineffectual yet again. Berbatov was the brains behind us today, and Chico was always wanting the ball and topped his performance with two great opportunistic goals. Felt sorry for the ginger prince after he gave the ball away, he genuinely did look gutted. Good days work, and that useless Kitchen sink did’nt get on either. Excellent work agent Rooney, seems the message has been fully recieved.
I said he’s a good finisher and nothing more and those type of players aren’t good enough at the top level anymore, then people started comparing him to ruud ole and henry
He scores goals and has the ability to tear defences apart with his quick feet. He looks like he could be a perfect foil for Berbatov. Other than do a Moses and part the Red Sea, what exactly are you expecting him to do – and how can you surmise that he is ‘only a good finisher’ when he’s only played a few matches?
Fucking hell you do talk bollocks sometimes – nay, scratch that, a lot of the time.
Hernanshite? Fuck off.
When I saw him score against Valencia I was in total awe. The first touch to take the ball away from the defenders and the second to plant it beyond the keeper into an angle were just totally sensational. That lad will be a great at manchester United no matter what Knobby says. I pray he steers clear of bad injuries. He also should try to play less with his back to goal. That header today was just out of this world. What improvisation.
Sheesh, do take a bow for that Moses, red sea comment!! So, Knobby, answer that.
All he does is score goals. Oh whoops that’s his job
LKHF WILL be commenting on HERNANSHITE, and we will as ever be right
start writing your apologies ow
FFS what is with some fans, they cant acknowledge a youngster lol.
He has joined our great club and to date has fitted in perfectly, do we all just want to see 30 odd million pound purchases. I think its credit to our scouting system thats in place to discover this player on the cusp of greatness.
In relation to his cost and if you think within 7 months Rooneys wage will have cost the same or thereabouts.
I fucking no who i would be backing, he wins bye a twisted head, hands down.
hernandez looks alright but twice today he broke up our play by putting the ball into the opposition goal..ffs..
If that wasn’t bad enough, the referee then awarded Stoke a free kick from the halfway line both times. Way to lose possession, Chicharito.
Yep well done to the scouts and Fergie on this one. Bought for 7 mill pre World Cup, was worth double after it and stock is rising by the game.
@ Bill exactly, that was my point.
@Fat Maradona, hardly in Stokes box, exageration or what”
They were heavy touches no doubt, give the lad a break eh!
Did he score the goals that won the game for united ?
Ruud was one of my favourite players… “Ruuuuuuuuuuuuud”!
But take away his million and one goals… he didn’t do much else.
Still, I guess goals are kind of important.
what a fucking shit lineup. o’shea was playing left back and evra on the wing.
scholes really fucked up for their goal, chicharito bailed us out twice. the first was super, never seen anyone score with the back of their head.
fergie needs to sort it out. why can’t he start picking a consistent team and cut out the baffling decisions like playing without a left wing.
Knobby’s right when he says players like Hernandez have a limited use
His game is simple & direct; get the ball down and shoot. That’s it. If the team fail to give him service, he has nothing else to give. He doesn’t practice through balls, or link up play, or dropping deep – he practices making runs and scoring.
He’s clearly fucking brilliant at what he does. His stats are impressive n all; he’s up there with the best so far this season and he’s not played much http://therepublikofmancunia.com/stats-chicharito-compared-to-drogba-rooney-tevez-malouda-and-berbatov
But those type of players don’t make regular starters at top clubs because you need more to your game
Wtf are you on about? Chico’s been compared to Fowler, Owen, Ole, etc. He’s fast and he’s accurate, just like them. Do you mean to say that any of those three in their prime were not good enough for Utd?
I don’t agree with those comparions. He’s a different player to Fowler (who started for Liverpool FFS) and he’s certainly no Ole
Those were proper old school Prem strikers. Chico is a getontheendofthings type striker
He’s an Owen, and Owen sat on Madrid’s bench. Chico will be benched as well when Rooney & Berba are both available
He’s the sort of player that can create problems on his own. Defenders will be too shit scared to leave him on his own creating space for our other attacking players.
He’s not as dependent on service as Owen.
That goal he scored against Valencia was no gimme. He still had to make the opportunity once Macheda gave him the ball and beat 2 defenders. That goal shows that he can do something with the ball and isn’t reliant on others giving him a virtually open goal to score from. Owen wouldn’t have the skill or pace to have scored that sort of goal.
Michael Owen’s hatrick against the German champions, Wolfsburg, last season
Ran the length of one half of the pitch like shit off a chrome shovel, held off the defenders and finished brilliantly
I don’t see any evidence to support the case that Hernandez is a limited poacher. He’s got good ball control and movement as far as I can tell, probably better ball control than the vast majority of English players.
FFS… 21 years old… been here 5 minutes. and he already needs defending.
Some fans here are beginning to sound more and more like Real Madrid cunts… the cynical entitlement is unbelievable.