Tag Archives: selflessness

Sir Alex Ferguson birthday: 71 best quotes from the Manchester United manager

On Fergie's birthday, 71 examples of his wit, wisdom and temper from over a quarter-century at Old Trafford

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UPDATED:

13:44 GMT, 31 December 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson celebrates his 71st birthday today and to mark the occasion, Sportsmail has picked out 71 of the Scot's best soundbites from his time as Manchester United manager.

There's pithy observations, musings on great United players, hurricane-force hairdryers, philosophical statements and withering put-downs.

So enjoy, and raise a glass to Sir Alex.

Happy Birthday! Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is 71 today

Happy Birthday! Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is 71 today

ON WINNING THE EUROPEAN CUP IN 1999

'It was the most emphatic display of selflessness I have seen on a football field. Pounding over every blade of grass, competing if he would rather die of exhaustion than lose, he inspired all around him. I felt such an honour to be associated with such a player.'

Speaking after Roy Keane's inspired performance in the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League against Juventus after receiving a booking which meant he would miss the final

'At the end of this game, the European Cup will be only six feet away from you, and you’ll not even able to touch it if we lose. And for many of you, that will be the closest you will ever get. Don’t you dare come back in here without giving your all.'

Ferguson's half-time team-talk during the 1999 European Cup final with Bayern Munich

Crowning glory: Ferguson holds the European Cup aloft after United unforgettable stoppage time win over Bayern Munich in 1999

Crowning glory: Ferguson holds the European Cup aloft after United unforgettable stoppage time win over Bayern Munich in 1999

Treble tops: Ferguson and United won the Premier League, FA Cup and the European Cup in 1999

Treble tops: Ferguson and United won the Premier League, FA Cup and the European Cup in 1999

'I was just starting to adjust to losing the game. I had reminded myself to keep my dignity and accept that it wasn't going to be our year. What then happened simply stunned me.'

As the game entered injury time with United losing 1-0

'Can you f***ing believe him!'

To his assistant Steve McClaren on seeing Peter Schmeichel going up for the first stoppage time corner

'I can't believe it. I can't believe it. Football. Bloody hell.'

After United won with two dramatic goals in stoppage time

ON LIVERPOOL

'My
greatest challenge is not what's happening at the moment, my greatest
challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their f***ing perch. And you
can print that.'

Reacting to remarks by former Liverpool player Alan Hansen that he was past it in 2002

'You must be joking. Do I look as if I'm a masochist ready to cut myself How does relegation sound instead'

When asked if Liverpool were genuine title contenders in 2007

Auld enemy: There have been many defining games with Liverpool during Ferguson's time at United. here, he celebrates a last minute John O'Shea winner at Anfield in 2007

Auld enemy: There have been many defining games with Liverpool during Ferguson's time at United. here, he celebrates a last minute John O'Shea winner at Anfield in 2007

'I
think he was an angry man. He must have been disturbed for some reason.
I think you have got to cut through the venom of it and hopefully he'll
reflect and understand what he said was absolutely ridiculous.'

On Rafael Bentez, reacting to the Spaniard's infamous 'facts' press conference during the 2009 title race

ON NOISY NEIGHBOURS CITY

'There
has been a lot of expectation on Manchester City and with the spending
they have done they have to win something. Sometimes you have a noisy
neighbor and have to live with it. You can't do anything about them…

After City are taken over by billionaire new owners

'It was our worst ever day!'

After the 6-1 defeat at Old Trafford last season

New rivalry: Roberto Mancini and Manchester City have emerged as United's main enemies in the past few years

New rivalry: Roberto Mancini and Manchester City have emerged as United's main enemies in the past few years

ON ARSENE WENGER AND ARSENAL

'They say he's an intelligent man, right Speaks five languages. I've got a 15-year-old boy from the Ivory Coast who speaks five languages!'

On Arsene Wenger, shortly after his appointment as Arsenal manager in 1996

'He's a novice—he should keep his opinions to
Japanese football.'

More harsh words for the Frenchman in 1997

'Oh dearie me, the FA are going to be delighted with that!'

Speaking about United's 4-0 loss to Arsenal in the League Cup in 2001

Mellow: The once frosty relationship between Ferguson and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has thawed over the years

Mellow: The once frosty relationship between Ferguson and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has thawed over the years

Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger shake hands before a Premier League match in January 2012

'It's getting tickly now – squeaky-bum time, I call it.'

During
the climax to the 2002-2003 title race between Arsenal and United,
which ended with Ferguson winning a seventh Premier League crown

'In the tunnel, Wenger was criticising my players, calling them cheats, so I told him to leave them alone and behave himself. He ran at me with his hands raised saying 'What do you want to do about it'

'To not apologise for the behaviour of the players to another manager is unthinkable. It's a disgrace, but I don't expect Wenger to ever apologise…he's that type of person.'

Relations with Wenger hadn't got much better by 2005…

ON CHELSEA

'He could start a row in an empty house.'

On Dennis Wise, the highly-strung former Chelsea player

'He’ll be getting a hug and a kiss from me – maybe even two!'

Speaking about his good friend Sam Allardyce after Bolton stalled Chelsea's title challenge in 2006-2007

'If Chelsea drop points, the cat’s out in the open. And you know what cats are like – sometimes they don’t come home.'

ON JOSE MOURINHO

'He was certainly full of it, calling me “Boss” and “Big Man” when we had our post-match drink after the first leg. But it would help if his greetings were accompanied by a decent glass of wine. What he gave me was paint-stripper.'

Ferguson's first impressions of Jose Mourinho, who got the better of him when Porto dumped United out of the Champions League in 2004

'I would never think a guy who hasn't played a game could be a top coach but then you've got to look at his personality. He's got a marvellous, strong personality and that bridges that gap.

'I remember his first press conference [at Chelsea, in 2004] and I thought: 'Christ, he's a cocky b******, him'. He was telling the players: 'Look, I'm the special one, we don't lose games.'

Remembering Mourinho's grand entrance into English football

Friends and rivals: Ferguson and Jose Mourinho enjoyed a great relationship despite United and Chelsea going toe-to-toe for the title

Friends and rivals: Ferguson and Jose Mourinho enjoyed a great relationship despite United and Chelsea going toe-to-toe for the title

'He can manage anywhere, absolutely. I'm not going to put any forecasts on what is going to happen at this club. I won't last forever, but Jose can manage anywhere, there is no question about that.'

On the possibility of Mourinho succeeding him at Old Trafford

ON DAVID BECKHAM

'David Beckham is Britain’s finest striker of a football not because of God-given talent but because he practises with a relentless application that the vast majority of less gifted players wouldn’t contemplate.'

Waxing lyrical about David Beckham's commitment and talent

'It was a freakish incident. If I tried it 100 or a million times it couldn't happen again. If I could I would have carried on playing!'

Playing down the famous incident in which he allegedly kicked a boot which hit David Beckham in the forehead

Booted out! Beckham was allegedly hit by a boot kicked by Ferguson in the United dressing room in 2003

Booted out! Beckham was allegedly hit by a boot kicked by Ferguson in the United dressing room in 2003. He left Old Trafford that summer

Special talent: But Ferguson had a great deal of respect for Beckham's workrate and natural ability

Special talent: But Ferguson had a great deal of respect for Beckham's workrate and natural ability

'It is totally out of the question. There is no way we would sell him, or any of our best players.'

In April 2003, two months before selling David Beckham to Real Madrid

ON THE ITALIANS

'When an Italian tells me it's pasta on the plate, I check under the sauce to make sure. They are the inventors of the smokescreen.'

Wise, if slightly ambiguous, advice before United played Inter Milan in the 1999 Champions League quarter-final

'Inzaghi was born in an offside position.'

A withering assessment of Italian striker Filippo

'They come out with the ‘English are so strong, we’re terrible in the air, we can’t do this, we can’t do that’. Then they beat you 3 – 0.'

On Italian teams in general

Finding their feet: Ferguson's United struggled against Italian teams like Marcello Lippi's Juventus when they returned to the Champions League - but finally cracked it in 1999 when beating Inter and Juve en route to winning the competition

Finding their feet: Ferguson's United struggled against Italian teams like Marcello Lippi's Juventus when they returned to the Champions League – but finally cracked it in 1999 when beating Inter and Juve en route to winning the competition

ON THE MEN IN THE MIDDLE

'You
can't applaud a referee.'

Very true…

'The pace of the
game demanded a referee who was fit. It is an indictment of our game.
You see referees abroad who are as fit as butcher's dogs. We have some
who are fit. He wasn't fit. He was taking 30 seconds to book a player.
He was needing a rest. It was ridiculous.'

Brutal comments on referee Alan Wiley and his lack of fitness

'There is no doubt about it. They were never getting through that tie; with 11 men we had no problem. The young boy showed a bit of inexperience but they got him sent off. Everyone sprinted towards the referee – typical Germans.'

Reflecting angrily on the dismissal of Rafael da Silva as United crashed out of the Champions League to Bayern Munich in 2010

Taking issue: Fergie bawls at Alan Wiley during the 2009 FA Cup semi-final with Everton

Taking issue: Fergie bawls at Alan Wiley during the 2009 FA Cup semi-final with Everton

'They gave us four minutes [injury time], that's an insult to the game. It denies you a proper chance to win a football match.

'There were six substitutions, the trainer came on, so that's four minutes right away and the goalkeeper must have wasted about two or three minutes and they took their time at every goal kick.

'That's obvious to everyone today and it's a flaw in the game that the referee is responsible for time keeping. It's ridiculous that it's 2012 and the referee still has control of that.'

Talking about Fergie time – or the lack of it – after United lost 3-2 at home to Tottenham earlier this season

ON PLAYERS PAST AND PRESENT

'I used
to have a saying that when a player is at his peak, he feels as though he can
climb Everest in his slippers. That's what he was like.'

On Paul Ince (When at United…)

'He's a bully, a f***ing big-time Charlie.'

On Paul Ince (…after he left United)

Happier times: Ferguson and Paul Ince in 1992

Happier times: Ferguson and Paul Ince in 1992

'If he was an inch taller he'd be the best centre-half in Britain. His father is 6ft 2in – I'd check the milkman.'

On the now retired United right-back Gary Neville

'[Andy] Cole should be scoring from those distances, but I’m not going to single him out.'

Erm…

'He was towering over me and the other players were almost covering their eyes. I’m looking up and thinking ‘if he does hit me, I’m dead’'

Recalling a dressing room disagreement with Peter Schmeichel

Towering figure: Ferguson with Peter Schmeichel after winning the FA Cup, the second leg of the 1999 Treble

Towering figure: Ferguson with Peter Schmeichel after winning the FA Cup, the second leg of the 1999 Treble

'I remember the first time I saw him. He was 13 and just floated over the ground like a cocker spaniel chasing a piece of silver paper in the wind.'

First impressions of Ryan Giggs, his longest serving player at Old Trafford

'Whether dribbling or sprinting, Ryan can leave the best defenders with twisted blood.'

On the enduring brilliance of the Welshman

'Wayne is truly blessed. He doesn’t just have ability, he has a fire inside him.'

After Rooney joined United in 2004

'Sometimes you look in a field and you see a cow and you think it's a better cow than the one you've got in the field.'
Speaking about the amazing U-turn pulled by Wayne Rooney on signing a new contract in 2010

Larking around: Ferguson and Wayne Rooney before the 2011 Champions League semi-final with Schalke

Larking around: Ferguson and Wayne Rooney before the 2011 Champions League semi-final with Schalke

ON ERIC CANTONA

'If ever there was one player, anywhere in the world, that was made for Manchester United, it was Cantona. He swaggered in, stuck his chest out, raised his head and surveyed everything as though he were asking: 'I'm Cantona. How big are you Are you big enough for me''

On a very unique temperament

ON CRISTIANO RONALDO

'I bet him he wouldn’t get 15 league goals and I’m going to have to change my bet with him. If he gets to 15 I can change it and I am allowed to do that because I’m the manager. I’m going to make it 150 now!'

In reference to a rather foolhardy bet with Cristiano Ronaldo

'Do you think I would get into a contract with that mob. Jesus Christ, no chance. I wouldn’t sell them a virus.'

On the chances of selling Ronaldo to Real Madrid (Ronaldo was sold for 80m in 2009… to Real Madrid)

Mentor: Ferguson nurtured Cristiano Ronaldo's abundant talent during his five years at Old Trafford

Mentor: Ferguson nurtured Cristiano Ronaldo's abundant talent during his five years at Old Trafford

ON OTHER MANAGERS

'It can be difficult to pinpoint who would make it as a manager. For instance, nobody here thought Mark Hughes would become a manager, never in a million years, and we all thought Bryan Robson was a certainty to be a top manager.'

On his former players turning to management

'Pardew
has come out and criticised me. He is the worst at haranguing referees.
He shoves them and makes a joke of it. How he can criticise me is
unbelievable.

'He
forgets the help I gave him, by the way. The press have had a field
day. The only person they have not spoken to is Barack Obama because he
is busy.

'It
is unfortunate but I am the manager of the most famous club in the
world. Not Newcastle, a wee club in the North-East. I was demonstrative.
I am always demonstrative. Everyone knows that. I am an emotional guy
but I was not abusive.'

The latest entry to the Fergie litany – a savaging of Alan Pardew and 'wee club' Newcastle last week

'Wee club': Ferguson attracted the ire of Alan Pardew (right) and Newcastle United with his comments last week

'Wee club': Ferguson attracted the ire of Alan Pardew (right) and Newcastle United with his comments last week

SWIPES AT THE MEDIA

'On you go. I'm no f***ing talking to you. He's a f**ing great player. Yous are f***ing idiots.'

Aimed at journalists who criticised Juan Sebastian Veron

'I don't give any of you credibility. You talk about wanting to have an association with people here and you wonder why I don't get on with you But you're a f***ing embarrassment. One of these days the door is going to be shut on you permanently.'

Aimed at the media in general

'There are members of the London press who seek to antagonise me, deliberately.'

A bit of finger pointing

Flop: 28m signing Juan Veron failed at Man United, despite all Fergie's attempts to defend him

Flop: 28m signing Juan Veron failed at Man United, despite all Fergie's attempts to defend him

'They [the BBC] did a story about my son that was whole lot of nonsense. It all [sic] made-up stuff and 'brown paper bags' and all that kind of carry-on. It was a horrible attack on my son's honour and he should never have been accused of that.'

On the BBC documentary about his son, Jason

'Myths
grow all the time. If I was to listen to the number of times I've thrown
teacups then we've gone through some crockery in this place. It's completely
exaggerated, but I don't like people arguing back with me.'

On the notorious 'hairdryer' treatment

'Struggling. Are you serious We’re not struggling.'

Before walking out of a press conference following Manchester United’s clash with Benfica (Basle knocked them out of the group stages in the following game)

HAIRDRYERS

'You’re a f***ing bottler Incey! You cannae handle the stage, can you You are a f***ing bottler!'

To Paul Ince at half time during a Champions League match with Barcelona in 1994

'What the f*** are you lot playing at That is the biggest load of s**** I’ve ever seen. Not one of you can look me in the eye, because not one of you deserves to have a say. I can’t believe you’ve come here and decided to toss it off like that c*** you’re playing out there.'

Half-time at Sheffield Wednesday, 1998 and things aren't going to plan

ON UNITED'S HOME SUPPORT

'We have people coming here to admire the scenery and enjoy their crisps.'

Honour: The North Stand was renamed the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand in November 2011

Honour: The North Stand was renamed the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand in November 2011

ON THE PHILOSOPHY OF WINNING

'I don't like losing but I've mellowed. I maybe have a short fuse but it goes away quicker now.'

'I've never played for a draw in my life.'

'If we can play like that every week we'll get some level of consistency.'

'Sometimes in football you have to hold your hand up and say, yeah, they're better than us.'

'As long as there are games to play it is not over.'

Medallion man: Ferguson with the Premier League trophy and the Carling Manager of the Year Award in 1999

Medallion man: Ferguson with the Premier League trophy and the Carling Manager of the Year Award in 1999

'I do believe in fate.'

'I tell the players that the bus is moving. This club has to progress. And the bus wouldn't wait for them. I tell them to get on board.'

'Sometimes you're not sure about a player. Sometimes you doubt. Sometimes you have to guess. Sometimes… you just know.'

'The work of a team should always embrace a great player but the great player must always work.'

'Well, football is a hard game; there's no denying it. It's a game that can bring out the worst in you, at times.'

Old friend: Renewing acquaintances with the Premier League trophy in 2009

Old friend: Renewing acquaintances with the Premier League trophy in 2009

'Only true champions come out and show their worth after defeat- and I expect us to do that.'

'I'm going to tell you the story about the geese which fly 5,000 miles from Canada to France. They fly in V-formation but the second ones don't fly. They're the subs for the first ones. And then the second ones take over – so it's teamwork.'

A Cantona-esque observation on teamwork

ON RETIREMENT AND LEGACY

'I’m privileged to have followed Sir Matt because all you have to do is to try and maintain the standards that he set so many years ago.'

A proud moment when surpassing Sir Matt Busby's managerial record

'I think it’s important to work and I’m entitled to work. Some people do not want to work but I want to continue working. Retirement is for young people.'

Once again addressing a question about retirement

Masters: Ferguson with Sir Matt Busby after winning the 1991 European Cup Winners' Cup

Masters: Ferguson with Sir Matt Busby after winning the 1991 European Cup Winners' Cup

'If my parents were still alive, they would be very proud. They gave me a good start in life, the values that have driven me, and the confidence to believe in myself.'

On instilled values

'I am such a bloody talented guy. I might go into painting or something like that.'

Move over Da Vinci

'Football management is such a pressurised thing – horse racing is a release. I'm also learning to play the piano – I'm quite determined – it's another release from the pressure of my job.'

On passions outside of football

I want England to learn from Team GB cycling success, says Stuart Lancaster

I want England to learn from Team GB's Olympic pedal power, says Lancaster

By
Chris Foy

PUBLISHED:

23:02 GMT, 14 August 2012

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UPDATED:

23:02 GMT, 14 August 2012

Stuart Lancaster didn't have time for a trip to the Olympic Velodrome while Team GB's cyclists were conquering the world again. But he saw enough from afar to reinforce his view that they provide the perfect template for his England rugby team.

Back in January, Lancaster invited Dave Brailsford, British Cycling performance director and Team Sky general manager, to address the national squad.

Brailsford, mastermind of Britain's cycling triumphs, was unable to attend, but he is likely to receive another invitation soon. Brailsford's success is founded on his philosophy of 'marginal gains' contributing to a decisive edge in competition.

Blueprint: Lancaster is hoping to use the systems implemented by British cycling

Blueprint: Lancaster is hoping to use the systems implemented by British cycling

Lancaster is a student of sports coaching and he, too, advocates the notion that attention to detail is a route to success, but he uses a different culinary analogy to emphasise the point.

For Brailsford it is steak and peas, with the meat representing core preparation and the veg as the finishing touches.

Lancaster considers a sweeter scenario. ‘I see it as a cake and icing,’ he said. 'What we have done in the past is focus on the icing with things like GPS and haven’t actually got a strong team culture and spirit in place with players wanting to work hard for each other.

'I now think we are at that second stage, where we are talking about the detail, the marginal gains bit but you can’t get there before you have the cake. It is about the players adopting that Olympic mindset of, “I will do everything I can to be the fittest I can be”.

‘I read the Team Sky book (Sky's The Limit — about the 2010 Tour de France campaign). I was interested in how they got the selflessness in a team where athletes who were gold medallists or winners themselves were supporting Bradley Wiggins in his attempt to win the Tour.

Winning formula: Brailsford led Team GB to a stunning medal haul in the Velodrome

Winning formula: Brailsford led Team GB to a stunning medal haul in the Velodrome

Winning formula: Brailsford led Team GB to a stunning medal haul in the Velodrome

'I was also interested in how that team was built and how Dave brought in guys from outside cycling, people with new ideas and it is definitely something we need to do in rugby.

‘In my evolution of the management team over the next 12 months there is definitely scope for that.’

The RFU announced on Monday that Sir Ian McGeechan and Peter Keen – former performance director of UK Sport who was instrumental in much of the Olympic success – would be conducting a far-reaching review of the England rugby operation.

They will set about their task with Team GB’s efforts as a reference point and Lancaster has already urged his players to use what they’ve seen from the likes of Sir Chris Hoy, Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis as an inspiration.

He said: 'I talked to the players about Olympic fitness and by that I don’t mean I want them to be like Bradley Wiggins or Mo Farah, what I meant was the dedication to become that good and that professional.'

Tour de Force: Wiggins followed up victory in France with gold in London

Tour de Force: Wiggins followed up victory in France with gold in London

England go into autumn Tests against Fiji, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand needing to protect their place at No 4 in the IRB world rankings to earn a top seeding for the World Cup draw in December. By the end of next year, Lancaster’s target is for his side to be in the top two, which he describes as a ‘realistic goal’.

But if England are to emulate GB cyclists when the next global gathering takes place here, only first place will do.

England’s backroom team work with Lucozade Sport to ensure that the players are properly hydrated.

Euro 2012: Mario Balotelli is a liability – Jamie Redknapp

Super Mario No, he's a bubbling cauldron of fury always looking for the next fight

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UPDATED:

21:40 GMT, 29 June 2012

My friend said to me the other day that Mario Balotelli reminded him of a mixture of Eric Cantona's swagger and Cristiano Ronaldo's power and skill. He went as far as to air the point on the social networking site Twitter.

If I were on Twitter too (and I'm not), I would have used my 140 characters to offer a one-word response. Nonsense.

Balotelli is like a volcano waiting to erupt, a bubbling cauldron of trouble with a giant risk of letting you down.

Looking for a fight: Balotelli is a talent, but also trouble

Looking for a fight: Balotelli is a talent,
but also trouble

Euro 2012 email button

In the stampede to salute his dazzling performance for Italy against Germany, we are forgetting that 83 days ago he was sent off for Manchester City at Arsenal and betrayed his team-mates with an outrageous act of petulance.

If Manchester United had gone about their business in their normal professional manner, that would have been the single most significant moment that cost Manchester City the title.

Instead, he is a champion – thanks mainly to the efforts of his team-mates while he was suspended – and now he may be a European champion, too.

Net gains: Balotelli scored a brace in the 2-1 semi-final victory over Germany

Net gains: Balotelli scored a brace in the 2-1 semi-final victory over Germany

He is playing his part and his goals against Germany took his country through to the final, but it was the maturity and selflessness of his performance that stood out, chasing back after the ball and supporting his team.

It is the first time I can remember him operating as a team player, rather than as an individual with that 'Why always me' rubbish.

I'm told that after the England game he was having a mandatory drugs test and was boasting that he would leave his mark on the tournament, get to the final and score.

Centre of attention: The Manchester City striker is certainly becoming box office

Centre of attention: The Manchester City striker is certainly becoming box office

I admire his confidence, but can we really say with any conviction that he will get safely through tomorrow's game without committing an act of stupidity that will cost his team I wouldn't be surprised if he gets sent off.

Look, he can be an incredible talent. He is lucky to have managers at club level, Roberto Mancini, and at international level, Cesare Prandelli, who want to protect him and tolerate him.

People will say that I don't like mavericks, but I loved playing with Paul Gascoigne, whose mischief often came with a smile. With Balotelli, he wants to do everything with a snarl, like he is seething and looking for the next fight.

Box office: But does Balotelli have the temperament to be a truly world-class player

Box office: But does Balotelli have the temperament to be a truly world-class player

Great players love their time on the training field. Ask the Manchester United players about Cantona's obsession with improving and Sir Alex Ferguson told me that Ronaldo would spend hours on the training ground mastering his art.

Balotelli, by comparison, seems to want a row every day. If he uses the maturity of his performance against Germany – and it's a big if – as the launchpad for his season and the rest of his career, he is an incredible talent.

Mancini talked about him being a world star and I disagreed strongly at the time. I'm still not convinced, although he is having a good tournament. Now all eyes are on him for the final tomorrow and he needs to keep his emotions in check and continue to play his football.

Spain will be wary of him and, if Italy can retain possession, he will get chances. He could end up topping the bill, if he can keep his temper and frustration under control. If not, who knows what will happen

He's certainly becoming box office. But I hope he doesn't waste his talent. I wish him well. Excuse me if I'm not ready yet to put him in the same bracket as Cantona, Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. I will delay my judgment on that, if you don't mind.

Let's see how long he can go without pressing the self-destruct button.

Wigan 1 Manchester United 0 – Match Zone

DW Stadium match zone – Dowd makes Wigan fans blow hot air

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UPDATED:

23:41 GMT, 11 April 2012

For Wigan fans still smarting from the injustices of Chelsea’s offside goals at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, the appointment of Phil Dowd as Wednesday night's referee did not fill them with optimism.

It was Dowd who harshly showed a red card – later rescinded – to striker Conor Sammon when Wigan lost 5-0 at Old Trafford in December. The boos for Dowd only got louder after Victor Moses’s first-half header was ruled out.

Not his night: Javier Hernandez

Not his night: Javier Hernandez

Javier saw his number's up

With his team a goal down and more than half an hour left, Javier Hernandez responded to seeing his number go up by practically sprinting to the touchline so United could replace him with Danny Welbeck.

If only Mario Balotelli had shown such urgency and selflessness when he was sent off in the closing minutes against Arsenal on Sunday.

What were the odds

Hardly surprising bookmakers were offering odds of 4-11 for a United win here. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side had never dropped a point in 13 Premier League games against their hosts. Wigan’s last goal in this fixture came three years ago from Colombian striker Hugo Rodallega.

On the Wayne

Manchester United ace Wayne Rooney might have managed to bag himself 10 goals in his last 14 league and cup games against Wigan, but he was out of luck last night. He was at fault for not closing down Shaun Maloney for the goal before Sir Alex Ferguson hauled off his England striker.

IN FOCUS

Sir Alex Ferguson

United’s boss was almost constantly on the edge of his technical area in the first half as he tried to lift his players, who were putting in a particularly lethargic performance. Not the half of what he had to say afterwards.

Making a point: Sir Alex Ferguson and Wayne Rooney

Making a point: Sir Alex Ferguson and Wayne Rooney

Antonio Valencia

Nice to see United’s Ecuador winger – who came to Old Trafford as a 16million signing from Wigan in June 2009 – given a warm reception from the home fans on his return to the DW
Stadium.

Frano di Santo

Wigan’s Argentine striker paid the price for waving an imaginary card at Phil Dowd when he was fouled by Jonny Evans in the first half – the referee booked both players.