Fergie guards against complacency ahead of Everton visit

Sir Alex Ferguson says Everton will pose a significant threat to Manchester United’s title aspirations this weekend, with the in-form Toffees at Old Trafford on Saturday. But with just five Premier League games to go, victory against David Moyes’ men will leave United requiring just seven points to secure a 19th domestic league title. It’s a position from which the title is now United’s to lose despite the disappointing draw at Newcastle United on Tuesday night.

Indeed, Ferguson is delighted with the commanding lead built up in this year’s title race, despite his side’s indifferent form away from Old Trafford. However, with the Reds having won all but one game at home this season, Ferguson says the principal risk to achieving the club’s dreams this season lies in complacency. Something the 69-year-old Scot is keen to guard against for the Saturday lunchtime kick off.

“It is good to know someone is behind you,” Ferguson said.

“You have to recognise who is there because we cannot become complacent. In that sense we use our experience of years past in situations like this. Hopefully it will get us where we want to go.

“If we win, we will only have four games left and we will have a six-point lead. That is the way I am looking at it. I am not looking beyond that. It is never going to be easy against Everton. It is a local derby of sorts. But our home record is fantastic and so is our performance level.”

Ferguson can boast an almost fully fit squad for Everton’s visit, although the United manager has concerns over Dimitar Berbatov’s fitness, while Darren Fletcher will not return for another fortnight. However, with Brazilian youngster Rafael da Silva returning to the squad, Ferguson has a plethora of defensive options available for the first time in months. Although fit, Rio Ferdinand has a minor calf strain and may not be risked ahead of the Champions League semi-final.

“Darren is back training now,” Ferguson added.

“He has done a good week and might be available in 10 days’ time. Rafael is back in the squad tomorrow and we will see what Dimitar Berbatov is like because he has a slight groin strain.”

Paul Scholes is suspended for the first of three matches after the red card picked up in last weekend’s defeat to Manchester City. In what is likely to be the final month of Scholes’ United career, the flamed-haired midfielder will also miss games against Arsenal and Chelsea, before returning for the final two Premier League matches of the season.

Manchester United v Everton, Old Trafford, 23 April 2011With Berbatov struggling to be ready – the Bulgarian has a minor groin strain – Ferguson is again likely to pair Javier Hernández and Wayne Rooney is attack, despite the strikers drawing a blank at Newcastle this week.

Ferguson must also lift his troops after the FA Cup semi-final defeat to City and the goalless draw with Newcastle on Tyneside. While Arsenal’s failure to beat either Liverpool or Tottenham Hotspur over the past week has significantly strengthened United’s hand, Ferguson is aware that matches with both the Gunners and Chelsea loom large.

Indeed, with Chelsea also six points behind United and the west Londoners’ visit to Old Trafford coming in early May, the Reds cannot afford to drop any further points at home. Whatever the results between now and the end of the season, should United win the title Ferguson’s outfit will boast the worst away record of any champions since Liverpool in 1977.

Ferguson is also well aware of the challenge posed by Everton, whose form has picked up in recent weeks. Although Moyes has rarely been afforded money to spend in the transfer market, the cash-strapped Toffees have repeatedly over-performed under the Scot’s tutelage.

“It’s amazing what David has done,” added Ferguson.

“He has had to cope with a mountain of injuries over the last few weeks but Everton have still churned out the results. Even last season when he was without Phil Jagielka he still got them motivated. What he did well two or three years ago was to use the money he had available to get all his younger players on long-term contracts.

“That created a consistency in his squad which is proving very beneficial now. He brings people in to freshen his team up and they are able to do a job.”

Moyes is likely to be without three key players for the visit to Old Trafford, where the Toffees have not won in 17 matches. John Heitinga, who was forced off against Blackburn Rovers because of a hamstring problem last week, faces a late fitness test. Meanwhile, Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta are unlikely to make Saturday’s match.

And Moyes has warned United that his side has nothing to lose, with the Liverpudlians unlikely to qualify for Europe next season but safe from any fear of relegation.

“We know that we’re going to have to go and give it a go,” said Moyes.

“But we’re the ones who don’t have much to lose. We’re in a position where we’ve got an early kick-off tomorrow and we’ll try and go there and do something about it.

“I think Man United have gradually got better as the season has gone on, which they tend to do anyway. When they weren’t playing well they ground out results, kept going, picked up the points.

“It’s a great place to play your football but coming with it is a bit of fear because you’re going to play the top side in the country. But we’re going there in decent form and we can go there and given them a good game.”

That is almost certain, but with the title now firmly in focus, it is United’s greater desire that could decide the fixture in the Reds favour. United supporters worldwide will trust it is the case.

Opposition
Everton – 451 – Howard; Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Osman, Rodwell, Neville, Coleman, Bilyaletdinov; Beckford. Subs from: Vellios, Gueye, Mucha, Shkodran Mustafi, Forshaw, Anichebe, Nsiala, McAleny, Saha.

United
United – 442 – van der Sar; Rafael, Vidic, Smalling, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Anderson, Nani; Rooney, Hernandez. Subs from: Kuszczak, Owen, Bébé, Fabio, Park, Obertan, Gibson, Berbatov, Park, O’Shea, Ferdinand, Giggs.

Officials
Referee: Peter Walton
Assistant referees: Mike Cairns & Ron Ganfield
Fourth official: Kevin Friend

Form
United – WWWWLD
Everton – WDWDWW

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Comments

  1. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    If this was at Goodison, I’d worry, but on our patch, with what’s at stake… I’m confident.

    2-0

  2. Sidsidney says

    Aye, we’ll win
    Just 2 dropped points at Old Trafford means Everton won’t even expect a pot to piss in
    Score first and they’ll stop trying, like Fulham, and it will just be a kick about in the sun

  3. sheesh says

    Wakey wakey you cunts. Kick off is little over 2 hours away Ffs and there is no one on here. Not got high expectations of a great performance but I think we will sneak past them in the last minute.

  4. SpudiatorSpudiator says

    I’d expect nothing less than a win. After the last 2 games we’re in danger of losing momentum, and at this time of year that’d be disastrous. Apart from anything else, I’m sure the players will be keen to put out a message to the rest of the league that we’re not taking the title for granted.

    Odd thought though, if Arsenal and Chelsea won every game they’ve got left, and United won their other 3 games, all 3 teams would finish level on points and the title would be decided on goal difference!

  5. sukhy5 says

    Aye Sheesh.

    3-0 win in the sun.

    Remember the 4-1 win of West Ham in the 07/08 season? Tevez long range? Deasn Ashton scissor kick?

    It will be a feel good win today. As soon as the first goal goes in, all nerves will disappear.

  6. ltel says

    han said:
    need to fly from the off
    high tempo
    berbs up front will unlock their sticky toffee grip
    come on united

    berb is injured i think

  7. sukhy5 says

    Aye Tel. Missed training with a grion injury.

    Rooney and Javier up front for me.

    Work finishes for me in 30 mins.

    Go home. A strong coffee. Feet up. Then the game

    P.S

    I like my coffee in the same way Spike likes his men…Strong and black.

    Er…nevermind.

  8. ltel says

    Man Utd: Van der Sar, O’Shea, Ferdinand, Evans, Fabio Da Silva, Valencia, Gibson, Anderson, Nani, Rooney, Hernandez. Subs: Kuszczak, Evra, Brown, Owen, Giggs, Carrick, Rafael Da Silva.
    Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Coleman, Neville, Rodwell, Bilyaletdinov, Osman, Beckford. Subs: Mucha, Cahill, Gueye, Vellios, Anichebe, Mustafi, Duffy.
    Referee: Peter Walton

  9. ltel says

    “74% – Manchester United’s PL win percentage with Nemanja Vidic since Jan 2006, compared to 58% without him. Gamble.”

  10. Gabagool says

    Fuck me, Gibson n evans start vidic out. Got a bad feeling about this, any team with oshite, Evans and Gibson starting is not looking good.

  11. han says

    madredmonkey said:
    hi Han, me two after our last two games, if we win today we will win the league.

    hi mad red
    need to start with a high tempo and push them back

  12. han says

    need an early goal or else pressure to change things around will increase
    owen needs a game and is an option – any one to take their defence out of position

  13. Victor says

    Who else would like us to win the league by beating Chelsea at home?

    Just need to beat Everton, French Academy and the Renties.

  14. ltel says

    Blog Commenter said:
    Who else would like us to win the league by beating Chelsea at home?

    Just need to beat Everton, French Academy and the Renties.

    im at balckpool game, want to win it then

  15. Czuk says

    Blog Commenter said:
    Now win against French Academy and Rent Boys and win the league.

    Prepare for Real Madrid.

    tempting fate
    1 – 0 against that Everton team shouldn’t strike fear into Schalke’s hearts.

    league’s as good as in the bag tho, draws against chelsea and arsenal would do. in a sense it’s an easy run in as their fate is truly in their own hands.

  16. han says

    everton are the in form team and so it proved with the pattern of the game
    just breathed a huge sigh of relief at the end
    i know its a long shot but if the happy hammers can get a result at the rent boys – this would be an immense start to the weekend – obviously i need help if i think those east end cockney wide boys will do anything apart from spread their cheeks tonight

  17. han says

    madredmonkey said:
    can relax and enjoy the sun, have a good weekend everyone.

    cheers mad red
    see u l8r
    cap’n desperate to frolic with us in the sun………

  18. says

    han said:
    everton are the in form team and so it proved with the pattern of the game
    just breathed a huge sigh of relief at the end
    i know its a long shot but if the happy hammers can get a result at the rent boys – this would be an immense start to the weekend – obviously i need help if i think those east end cockney wide boys will do anything apart from spread their cheeks tonight

    han!!! That last line had me laughing out really loud.

  19. says

    Blog Commenter said:
    If it weren’t for that AON logo, I’d buy a Chicharito shirt …

    DO what I did: buy a high-end quality red tshirt, buy the team crest separately and imprint the name & number on the back.

  20. madredmonkeymadredmonkey says

    han said:
    cheers mad red
    see u l8r
    cap’n desperate to frolic with us in the sun………

    he is always in the shade mate.

  21. reddread says

    Hernandez does it again! Best signing on the summer, no question. I was convinced we were going to score, but the closer it got to the end…

  22. sheesh says

    What did Timmy Tourettes think he was doing with his time-wasting? Stupid twat.

    Huge relief we won that game.

  23. Pikey McScumPikey McScum says

    Could someone post Sir Alex’ post match interview on SSN, purely cos it was fucking genius!

    “They should be punished for that” – reference to Everton’s time wasting

    “Why can’t we go to those places and win?” – reference to the media’s view that Utd won’t win their games against Arsenal and Chelski

    SAF>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>God

    Fact.

  24. Sidsidney says

    Missed the match because I knew it would be a piece of piss

    Apparently Anderson was superb – best player on the pitch?

    And Gibson was shite

  25. sheesh says

    I wouldn’t say it was that easy. We had tons of possession but were a bit sloppy in the final third. The longer the game went on, the more on edge everyone became. Yes, everton came to not get beaten but it looked like it might be a frustrating afternoon until hernandez scored.

  26. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    sidney said:
    Missed the match because I knew it would be a piece of piss

    Apparently Anderson was superb – best player on the pitch?

    And Gibson was shite

    That was some of the best I’ve seen from Anderson in a long while… he played a few balls that were pure class.

  27. sheesh says

    He is capable of performances like today and then you wonder why he can be frustrating at times. Maybe he just needs a run of games. He did suffer injury earlier this season and he was out for a while but he played well before his time in the treatment room.

  28. Sidsidney says

    I reckon there are language problems with Ando

    I’ve just watched a post-match interview with him, and Chico had to translate the questions (which he did brilliantly)

    The cunt has been here, what, 4 seasons and he barely knows a word of English by the sound of it

    For a midfielder who has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders, it seems bizarre

  29. baggio365 says

    yeah that seemed odd. maybe he’s just a thick cunt. as long as he can keep playing passes like he did today, who cares

  30. says

    Chico just showing us that he is dedicated and class act all round. First season at the club, scores the winner to almost give us the title and then acts as translator in the post match interview – CLASS!! Green and gold sombreros for the 2011-12 season it is then!!

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