It’s been 45 hours 36 minutes and counting since the smackdown at Turf Moor. Fans may hope to wake up, discovering that Manchester United did not lose to Burnley; that this defeat is as true as a FSW facht. Alas, the bad dream seems to be reality. So what can supporters do to make the pain go away? Reach for the comfort blanket and here are six to keep you going fellow reds:
- If Fletcher (formerly known only as the Scottish Player) had played, United would not have lost to Burnley because he is the team’s new midfield general. This now familiar refrain seems to have been formulated during the red invasion of Rome last May. But for all Fletcher ‘s improvement, he has never scored more than three goals during a Premier League campaign. Would the Scot really have been able to change the game at Turf Moor? Fletcher is a player who has improved dramatically but a matchwinner is not a label that suits him.
- If Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic were playing, United would not have conceded at Turf Moor. This may be true. Rio and Vidic have formed on the best defensive partnerships in the Premier League but isn’t it somewhat soul destroying that that United can’t win without them?
- Once Owen Hargreaves is fit, United’s midfield will be unbreakable. We all want to be millionaires but what are the odds?
- If Antonio Valencia and Dimitar Berbatov had started, United would have won the match. Valencia and Berbatov both started against Birmingham and though United won, neither player produced a performance that set the heart racing When the pair came on as substitutes against Burnley, there was the hope that one of them would produce something magical. But in the fans’ hearts few would have believed they were capable of turning things around. And they were right.
- Michael Owen will score goals. It used to be a commentators cliché to repeat the argument each time Owen failed to make the England team. United fans must have chuckled at their active imaginations. Now, the Old Trafford terraces recite the same words. It’s not working.
- Don’t worry, United will buy Silva/De Rossi/Van de Vaart/Sneijder/Ribery/Aguero. Our collective inner transfer muppet yearns for this quick fix, no matter what the cost. So what if the club is £700 million in debt, United need a match winner right now! Then the truth hits like a dagger to the heart; the manager is tight and the club doesn’t buy players over 25 anymore.
And just when the despair becomes overwhelming, hear that faint whisper in the air and close your eyes. It’s the spirit of the Busy Babes. ‘Do not be afraid, we’ve been through worse and triumphed in the end.’ This is United, the most successful team in England. It survived Munich. It’s manager has won 11 Premier League titles, five FA Cups and two Champions Leagues. As comfort blankets go, it doesn’t get better than that.