Ferguson admits fury at nervy Fulham display but believes his older players will steady the ship
23:29 GMT, 29 March 2012
Sir Alex Ferguson has joked that some of his players might have thought about getting changed at the other end of Old Trafford to avoid the Manchester United manager's displeasure at their performance against Fulham.
After failing to establish a comfortable position against a team with the joint worst Barclays Premier League away record this term, United endured a nervy finish which might well have cost them dearly had referee Michael Oliver awarded Fulham a last-minute penalty for Michael Carrick's foul on Danny Murphy.
Ferguson was evidently unimpressed, taking an unaccustomed position by the touchline for the final few minutes, before starting up the infamous hairdryer after the final whistle.
Steady: Sir Alex Ferguson hopes Ryan Giggs and his other older players will play their part
'When we started giving that ball away I was nearly going to go on myself,' he said.
'We do so much work on possession in training but for a 10 minute period everyone gave the ball away.
'At that time, I think my visibility is important.
'Some of them might have tried to dodge out the other side of the ground at the end of the game.
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Foul: Michael Carrick was not penalised for tripping Danny Murphy
'It is a lesson about possession of the ball, which we are usually very good at.
'But we knew we were close to moving three points clear of City.'
In a season when Ferguson has already
felt compelled to admonish his players for their gung-ho attitude in
trying to score more goals against City in October, an aim he felt
ultimately caused that horrific 6-1 scoreline, it seemed like a worrying
After all, it has been widely assumed that the vast experience in the United squad would be an advantage in the coming games.
Ferguson views it as a bit of a one
off though and is confident the elder statesmen in his squad will bring a
sense of calm to the situation.
'Most of them have the experience,' he said.
'The young ones that aren't accustomed will gather it along the way and hopefully it helps them in the run in.
'Ferdinand, Giggs, Scholes and Carrick help in that situation.
Rivals: Manchester City will push United to the wire
'If they were to lose their nerve then we would be in trouble.
'But I don't expect that. They're well used to it.'
And United know that if they win all
their remaining games, it will only take a draw in the derby clash with
City on April 30 for them to retain their crown.
Not that Ferguson thinks it will be
easy, especially on Monday when United encounter a Blackburn side who
have proved to be particularly stubborn opponents down the years and, in
fellow Scot Steve Kean, have a manager he believes deserves the utmost
praise for the dignity he has shown in the face of the incredible abuse
he received earlier in the campaign.
bad in fact that Everton manager David Moyes walked out of a
pre-Christmas encounter with Bolton, so disgusted was he at the
treatment being meted out to Kean.
'I am sure a lot of them are saying to themselves 'I wish I hadn't done that',' said Ferguson of the Blackburn fans.
'Now no one is talking about fans having protest marches.
Phew: Ferguson is relieved after the final whistle
'He has held his dignity very well and deserves 100% praise from everyone, including his own supporters.
'He has shown his mettle in times when it was difficult for him.'
Improvement came immediately after that Bolton debacle, when Rovers followed up a draw at Liverpool by beating United at Old Trafford, part of an impressive overall Blackburn record against United.
Indeed, United make the short journey up the M61 on Monday looking to improve a woeful return of just two wins on their last 11 visits.
In theory, United's chances of victory are assisted by having a clear week to prepare. But Ferguson does not feel comfortable with that.
Having watched Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich claim Champions League wins in midweek and a fascinating duel between Barcelona and AC Milan, he knows what he would prefer.
'We have been used to playing midweek games for so long that you do miss it,' said the United boss.
'The players miss it too. Yes, we do get freshness but you can't have it all ways. We would rather be in the Champions League.'