Same old Nani, always childish

They say that madness is defined by doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result. Well then we’re in trouble because for a short while there fans believed Sir Alex Ferguson’s assessment of Nani’s new found maturity. Tell it to the winger, whose two-footed lunge at Stilian Petrov last Wednesday night belied his continuing immaturity.

Another moment of overwhelming frustration for fans and manager alike when it comes to the Portuguese international. In the five games since the winger’s return to the side Nani has excelled – as much against expectation, as the opposition.

Effective against Hull City, following a cameo against Burnley at Old Trafford, Nani was then instrumental in United’s victories over Manchester City and Arsenal.

Then came Wednesday’s red card, handed down for a reckless challenge on Aston Villa’s Bulgarian midfielder. In days gone by the former-Sporting winger could have escaped with yellow for a tackle that took far more ball than man. But in the modern game a raised foot almost always provokes the official’s ire.

“It was a sending off. It was a red card. It was a naïve tackle,” said Ferguson of Nani’s second dismissal in professional football, born seemingly of the winger’s wish to perform well but inability to consistently translate it to the pitch.

“He is not a malicious player but he has gone in with his foot raised off the ground and we cannot complain about it. We have no argument at all with the red card.”

Nani will now miss Premier League games against Everton next weekend, together with the home tie against West Ham United and the Carling Cup final repeat with Villa.

The winger’s ban couldn’t come at a worse time for the team, with Ryan Giggs confirmed sidelined with a broken arm for around a month following an inconspicuous challenge with Villa’s Steve Sidwell.

While Nani is available for Tuesday night’s trip to AC Milan, and the return leg in three weeks time, Ferguson will rely on Antonio Valencia and Park Ji-Sung for the domestic matches bridging the European tie.

At least Nani realised the consequences of his actions, which may have robbed United of an extra two points on Wednesday and one of the squad’s form players for the next month.

“After half-time, I spoke with the coach and he was unhappy with me,” Nani said somewhat remorsefully on Thursday.

“That is normal, as tackles like that are not permitted in the Premier League. I accept my responsibility for my actions, though they were not premeditated. I insist that my objective was to play the ball and not the foot of Petrov.

“The incident happened in the middle of the pitch and I don’t think I merited being sent off. I am not a violent footballer. My career is in this sport.

“I wanted to recover the ball and I saw the chance to stop Petrov.

“Now I am sorry, because I have damaged the performance of my team. I am convinced that had we finished with 11 men we would have won.

“We have wasted the opportunity to be first in the table. And it is very bad for me, as I have been developing my best form of the season.”

The question is now, with Nani seemingly more mature with the ball at his feet, can the 24-year-old player learn from this experience and come back even stronger?

For a player so derided by fans and the media alike at times this season Nani has shown strength of character to force his way back into the team.

Now others will benefit from his absence, and Nani must start from square one.

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  1. i think thats a bit of a tough assessemt

    i think nani is like a new signing…i believe he was that poor before! id have binned him months ago but his performances lately have been superb. the tackle wasnt great but some refs would have given a yellow not a red. it was a tad naive..but it could just have well been Rooney making that same tackle and we would say how commited he was! With the Champions League games Fergie would have rotated the team anyhow so its not that big of deal. I just hope he can keep this form rolling til season end now

  2. I think it’s very harsh to describe it as two footed. The red card was correct and hopefully he will learn but you seem to have jumped on the media bandwagon when describing it as two footed. Even Hansen described it as harsh on MOTD. He’s had a lot of chances has Nani but recent performances demonstrate that he should be given one more.

  3. United Fan UK says:

    Rediculus!! It does not show immaturity at all. It was a lad, desperate to prove his worth and he shouldn’t be chastised for it. Yes it was silly, are you going to tell me Paul Scholes is an “immature player” because I’ve seen him do many more silly tackles than that, in far more important games.

  4. ridiculously harsh, whats wrong with you?

    Scholes does this over and over again yet he doesnt get called immature :S double standards tbh, pathetic

    • Agree with Reddevils. Nani was harshly dealt with by the ref and the attitude of the media, some fans and some of the coaching staff is appalling.

      Let’s rather focus on the fact that it was Nani’s cross to Giggs that brought about the equaliser.

      Great 10 man performance by Utd though.

  5. I think this was Nani’s 2nd sending off as a United player – he ‘headbutted’ Lucas Neill at the end of 2007-08 season.

    But like this time it only highlighted his immaturity, i think if it wasn’t at the end of such a crucial season Ferguson may have had a few things to say that time aswell.

    It was an immature tackle, scholesly knows exactly what he’s doing – red card against roma cl qf 2007 is a perfect example, totti was starting a roma attack and scholes tactically fouled him.
    In Nani’s case he made a ridiculously strong tackle in their half and petrov was running sideways with plenty of utd players ready to intercept him.

  6. ‘Nani’s first dismissal in professional football’? What about the red card he received in the final home game of the 2007/08 season against West Ham for headbutting Lucas Neill?

  7. No problem. Also, think you’ve missed a word in the opening line. Possibly ‘madness’. Good assesment otherwise though I tend to disagree with Fergie on this one, thought a booking would have sufficed.

  8. “scholesly knows exactly what he’s doing – red card against roma cl qf 2007 is a perfect example, totti was starting a roma attack and scholes tactically fouled him.”

    Excuse me?But I find it hard to believe that a player is willing to get sent off for tactical reasons !

    Back to the main topic,Nani did a stupid thing no doubt,and I’m very certain he will come out strong on Tuesday.

  9. Probably a bit harsh…. He’s slowly climbing out of the mire that was his career and fucked up. I can’t really talk as I’ve repeatedly called him a weak cunt – mostly on this forum but think fans just need to lay off him a bit and hopefully his form will continue. He’ll prob fuck off to Spain though just to shit me.

  10. He’s young… he’s going to make mistakes. Look at Rafael … he makes quite a few. All young people do. (and Scholes) I’ve always liked him. We need players like him … players that like to take people on… it’s the United way. Roon can’t do it all by himself. (well he can, but u know what i mean) Plus he has blistering pace and a decent corner kick. I think our fans are to hard on him. He’s not Ronaldo, get over it.

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