Old Trafford match zone: Ferguson takes Europa rap
21:59 GMT, 26 March 2012
Sir Alex Ferguson used his programme notes for the first home game since United’s Europa League exit in Bilbao to hold up his hands for their poor form in Europe.
'I took too many chances giving young players a run-out in an attempt to speed up their development,’ Ferguson wrote. ‘We let the fans down and I won’t take as many chances next season.’
Noted: Sir Alex Ferguson used his programme note to apologise for the European form
Booked Giggs blots record
An uncharacteristic lunge by Ryan Giggs on Moussa Dembele earned the Welsh veteran a deserved booking. However, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side still have the best disciplinary record in the Premier League this season with 36 yellow cards and just one red.
In the book: Ryan Giggs picked up a yellow card
Fletcher’s focus on a comeback
Darren Fletcher is confident he can overcome a debilitating bowel condition and return to action for Manchester United next season.
Fletcher has assumed some of Paul Scholes’s responsibilities coaching the club’s reserve team while he takes a break from the game. But the 28-year-old is determined to make a comeback, saying: ‘The challenge and the focus is to be ready for next season.
Returning hero: Darren Fletcher aims to comeback next season
‘It’s an unpredictable illness and you don’t know what lies ahead of you. But I’ve got to keep staying strong and believing.’
Fulham and a history of losing
Monday's result means Fulham have still only managed to avoid defeat at Old Trafford once in the past 49 years — a 3-1 Premier League win back in 2003.
Worryingly for Martin Jol’s Cottagers, they had let in 15 goals in their previous five away games against United and had failed to score in the last four. Tellingly, the last player to find the net for them at United’s ground was Rio Ferdinand with an own goal in 2006.
Only win: Junichi Inamoto scored for Fulham the one and only time they have won at Old Trafford, 3-1 in October 2003
Fulham’s previous encounter with United this season hardly gave travelling supporters cause for optimism — a 5-0 hammering at Craven Cottage before Christmas.
United knew all about the Russian’s threat. He scored against them when Zenit St Petersburg won the 2008 European Super Cup.
From Russia with love: Pavel Pogrebnyak has scored against United in the past
It was hardly surprising that United’s captain missed with an acrobatic bicycle kick in the first half. He has scored two League goals in six years.
Close but not close enough: Patrice Evra had an effort but has only scored two league goals in six years
The defender was perhaps fortunate not to concede a first-half penalty when Ashley Young’s cross hit his right hand.
Lucky: Stephen Kelly was fortunate not to concede a penalty with the ball hit his hand after a cross from Ashley Young