“There is a lot of embarrassment in the dressing room”

October 23, 2011 Tags: , , , Opinion 37 comments

It was, said Sir Alex Ferguson, the worst result of a 50-year career in football. Manchester City’s 6-1 victory at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon brought the Blues three vital points in the Premier League title race and total humiliation for the Scot’s side in its own back yard. Defeat to City in last season’s FA Cup semi-final was bad enough but a thrashing at Old Trafford is, for the Scot and fans alike, totally unacceptable. This reality, Ferguson says, hit home in a silent dressing room post-match.

If the result is a media-friendly ‘statement’ by City then Ferguson is right to hold United’s players predominantly to account for it. No amount of United pressure prior to the Blues’ opening goal will mask the Reds’ suicidal second-half performance. Jonny Evans’ dismissal after taking down Mario Ballotelli in the 47th minute was inevitable; the performance from then on in was absolutely not.

“It was our worst ever day,” admitted Ferguson.

“It’s the worst result in my history, ever. Even as a player I don’t think I ever lost 6-1. That’s challenge for me too. I can’t believe the scoreline. The first goal was a blow for sure but it was retrievable at 1-0. The sending off was a killer for us. We kept attacking when we went 4-1 down and we should have just said: ‘We’ve had our day.’

“When we went to 3-1, 4-1 we should have settled for that. We kept attacking and we should have just said: ‘We’ve had our day.’ But our two full-backs were playing like wingers.  It’s all right playing the history books but common sense has to come into it. We just kept attacking. They were attacking three versus two. It was crazy football. I thought with the experience we’ve got – Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra – they would [defend more] but we just kept attacking. Sometimes there has to be common sense about it. It was a bad day.”

Indeed, the result was not only Ferguson’s worst-ever result but United’s heaviest at home for 55 years. Such, perhaps, is City’s progress since Abu Dahbi’s oil-fueled takeover in 2008. But not to this extent. Not at Old Trafford. Not under Ferguson’s watch. This was hara-kiri on a very grand scale, against the worst possible opposition, and a result that will not soon be forgotten.

Certainly the implied assertion that United should have at, say, 3-1, accepted defeat will not sit well with supporters. But Ferguson is also right that in playing to history, as the manager noted , indeed to the hyperbole of a ‘never-say-die’ attitude, United allowed defeat to become a calamity. Loss to City at Old Trafford after all the Blues’ recent spending comes with no overwhelming shock. Conceding six certainly does.

If there is any silver lining in this disaster – at least for those United fans prepared to throw themselves under the nearest bus – it is in knowledge that Ferguson will ensure no permanent damage to the collective consciousness. There can be no better manager for this situation than the Scot.

“We’ll come back. By January we’ll be okay. We usually get the show on the road in the second half of the season and that will have to be the case. We’ve played all the teams around us and they have all to play each other so the second half of the season is important to us now. We will react, no question about that.

“It’s a perfect result for us to react to because there is a lot of embarrassment in the dressing room and that will make an impact. What did concern me was the goals for and against. Goal difference may count. Last year it was in our favour, most years it is in our favour…this time maybe not.”

More results like this and Ferguson will have no need to be concerned with goal difference though – United will be fortunate to be within touching distance come May so inept were the Scot’s defenders. Not to mention a central midfield that was so effectively eviscerated by the opposition from 30 minutes onwards that supporters again offers cause to question both Darren Fletcher and Anderson’s effectiveness.

The manager’s decision to include no central midfield options on the bench was both a mistake and a reflection of Ferguson’s underwhelming resources available in this area. It is a concern repeatedly voiced over the past two years. No matter Tom Cleverley’s continued injury absence, a strategy that relied solely on the rookie’s fitness and form was always a busted flush.

One disaster does not a season make of course, and United will certainly return from this. Upcoming fixtures with Aldershot Town in the Carling Cup and Everton at Goodison Park will provide an immediate opportunity at redemption. In that there is temptation to send out the heavy artillery at Aldershot’s 7,000-capacity Recreation Ground on Tuesday night simply to get the process underway.

For Evans, whose fatal contribution to Sunday’s calamity cannot be ignored, the consequences may be more serious. While Rio Ferdinand’s poor header precipitated another City attack, Evans’ needless foul on Balotelli helped turn loss into club-wide embarrassment. The Northern Irishman recently admitted a downturn in form last season was due to complacency. One wonders whether the 23-year-old has eliminated that scourge from his game.

Belfast-born Evans recent progress will now halt as the defender sits out the Everton game, with Nemanja Vidic and Phil Jones both ready to step in. Whomever takes up the reigns it can, as the well-worn cliché goes, only get better.


shauno - October 23, 2011 Reply

From my point of view this statement is enough “We will react, no question about that.”

Maybe a little too much faith in youth and a lack of experience added to the problem. But this is after all a team in transition. However, it does sit second in the league only 5 points adrift.

City are a financial powerhouse and will win trophies, just like Chelsea did. But we still dominated overall. It’s a brand new challenge are we up to it? Yes we are and how sweet would it be to meet this challenge and succeed. Is it realistic? Yes it is Chelsea have limitless funds and have yet to dominate the Prem and Europe which suggests that long term success is more than simply money.

Spangle - October 23, 2011 Reply

This defeat didn’t happen today, it has been on the cards for a season or more, the 8-2 win against Arsenal gave us false idea’s about how good this team is, the reality is it hasn’t improved one bit from the win by the skin of your teeth team we had last season, we believed all the hype pushed out at OT, about other teams catching up etc.

The truth is that if we hadn’t been paying off loans we could have brought in quality world class players, that is what this team needs, quality and class, it has neither, no not even Rooney meets that status.

The other big problem is Fergie doesn’t know who his best 11 are, we haven’t had a settled side for months, he is changing things far too much too often, sometimes as many as nine in one game.

In January we need a creative midfielder, and we need a defensive midfielder, if that means selling to get them, then sell Carrick, Anderson and Berbatov, even bloody Rooney to get the men we want, he proved last season he’s only at OT for the money, despite all the badge kissing.

Yes it is a rant, yes I am angry, if I performed like that at work I’d get the sack, those players will go home to their luxury lifestyles, I have to go to work and take the stick from 95 City fans for the day.
Perhaps Fergie should let 1000 United fans into Carrington tomorrow, so that the players really know how the fans feel

Damian Garside - October 23, 2011 Reply

Great post: agree totally. Something radical needs to be deone, before we become a team in real deecline.

Mongoletsi - October 24, 2011 Reply

Agreed. If this doesn’t make Fergie do one of the following two things, then he truly has lost it:

A. Fight the Glazers to get AT LEAST one shit hot CM
– or –
B. Fuck it, throw in the kids, blood em.

It’s gonna have to be “A” though. Cleverly, Morrison, Pogba… more “next season” than this one.

RobDiablo - October 23, 2011 Reply

“By January we’ll be okay.” Only if you buy two quality midfielders.

Alfonso Bedoya - October 23, 2011 Reply

Bloody hell…

We’ve still got the nucleus of a great team… we’ve got some great young players…

We have one serious problem… central midfield…

Fix that and we’ll be fine.

shauno - October 24, 2011 Reply


bruce thomas - October 23, 2011 Reply

I completely agree with you Spangle.

Everyone knows we need two class CMFs. Either Ferguson is still too stubborn to admit it or the Glazers are taking us down with them. This has been coming for 2 years and its better that its such an emphatic defeat. It might mean soemthing is done. If not, then we might not even finish in the top 4.

Oliver - October 23, 2011 Reply

Humilating loss! I’m sure the dressing room is embarrassed, even us supporters ! This was coming since the Chelsea game.We seem to struggle to get results recently. Sell Ferdinand,Carrick,Berbatov(lack of games so his is wasting his time at MU),Anderson,Evans,Fletcher and now even Evra…!I don’t think Welbeck is ready for the Priemier league yet. Get Roy Keane & Cantona to kick some butt around……

Mongoletsi - October 24, 2011 Reply

Sorry, you appear to have taken a wrong turn, this blog is for people who actually know what they’re on about. “MU” says it all.

sheesh - October 23, 2011 Reply

We were all hoping, after Barcelona raped us in the last Champions League final, that Fergie would finally invest in a couple of top notch midfielders. I don’t see why us losing to City would now have any effect.

I suspect that Fergie genuinely believes the midfielders we have are good enough for our club. If this weren’t the case, he would have sorted out our midfield issues as a priority.

I don’t believe that we will sign any proven quality, either in January or in the summer.

Euro 2012 is coming up and clubs will be reluctant to sell. More to the point, we wouldn’t stump up the cash, in any event.

zero - October 23, 2011 Reply

You sure? It may only get worse!

Felix - October 23, 2011 Reply

Our cmf iz as gud as dead.fletcher,anderson and carrick.thatz al we hav.NO creative mf.These united players should know the importance of puting on that t-shirt.This is total embarrasment.

uncleknobheadforfucksake - October 23, 2011 Reply

is our best holding mid now playing for sunderland

uncleknobheadforfucksake - October 24, 2011 Reply

rob, we’ll sign a player in the jan window, it’ll be a left back

RobDiablo - October 24, 2011 Reply

uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
rob, we’ll sign a player in the jan window, it’ll be a left back

You might just be right, unless the Fryer kid gets another chance and impresses on Tuesday night. Right now, I don’t like our first choice back four. Rio and Vidic are playing fewer games, the twins can’t manage to stay healthy long enough to cover Right Back, and Evra is overworked and spinning out. I can hardly wait for Jones and Smalling to form the starting Centre Half pairing. I think we also need to purchase a quality Right Back for the first XI – the twins can sub when necessary depending on their availability.

sidney - October 24, 2011 Reply

You’re all forgetting we have Pogba… Who won’t play in the first team this season because he’s not ready

Twisted Blood - October 24, 2011 Reply

I’m sure the sky is falling folks will come out after this one. I still trust in SAF when it comes to transfer dealings and value but the fact that one of our chief transfer targets this summer, Nasri, could only make the bench for City certainly was sobering. All the CM hand wringing aside, let’s talk about the back four. Defensive quality and strength in depth were supposed to be the difference between us and virtually all opposition this season save perhaps Chelsea. Where is it? Enough with the right back by committee, give Jones an extended run in the side IN CENTRAL DEFENSE and let’s find a dignified way of benching Rio and Evra until they show us something this year in either Carling or FA Cup ties. As for the formation, like Paul from the Rant, I wanted to bomb on at kickoff as well. Ironically, SAF’s Liverpool lineup would have served us better here and vice-versa. Da Silva twins, where are you?

As for City, they will face adversity and implode sooner or later. Too much of the roster is made up of me-first, team cancers a la Tevez for this experiment to work. Alternatively, players like Nasri, Super Mario, Dzeko or Adam Johnson will stop putting up with Mancini’s extreme training and still not starting. United will win the title in a photo-finish.

Mongoletsi - October 24, 2011 Reply

It’s a good point. October is “Vidic” on the official calendar (IT WAS AN XMAS PRES!) and I tell him how much we need him back when I walk past.

Vidic would not have allowed that first goal, and the game could have then been a lot different.

Sure, the CM badly needs class, but Twisted Blood is right about the defence.

kramer - October 24, 2011 Reply

it was a fucking humiliation. the players should be embarassed and rightly so, they should be fucking fuming.

but the team’s pretty good at its core, needs no major overhaul. a midfielder would be good, but that’s about it.

redheat - October 24, 2011 Reply

Anyone else think Rooney looks a bit like PS when he plays mid? He was the only one who can hold his head high. If nothing changes with our team in the next year or so (in the way of massive investment) then he should go to Barcelona and do everything he can to get there.

Mancini is a gentleman and a cool guy.

Evans is finished as a United player. Ditto Anderson. Welbeck is touch and go, I think he can make it, just, but for now I’d put him back as 4/5th choice.

What we need:

1.Some aggressiveness and power in midfield. Fletcher looks weak (this is worrying). Anderson is slow, careless and overweight.

2.An Arab owner and the cash to buy Neymar and Snejider who are available at the right price.

We were out-muscled yesterday too. Out-gunned, out-muscled and outright humiliated.

Yang - October 24, 2011 Reply

Ferguson underestimate City I think. Need good defensive mind midfielder. I am not sure why Evans do stupid thing so regularly, better concede dame goal is better than get yourself sent off.

Need a wing-back and DM, Twins cannot play w/o injury.

Wil - October 24, 2011 Reply

Sad day… really can’t think of a worse defeat under SAF… not even the 5-0 thrashing by Newcastle in the 90s hurt as much.

Have said before the Liverpool and Man City game that these two games will show how good our team is and is seems like we have catching up to do. Games against Chelsea, Liverpool and awkwardly enough against Stoke and Norwich just showed our midfield isn’t up to Champion’s material. I was a huge Fletcher fan 2-3 years ago especially in 2008 when we won the Champions League. He was one of the reason why we got to the final…. but after a few games this season, he doesn’t seem to be as good anymore. His passing and shooting is alright but he’s not winning the ball in midfield. Anderson apart from his first season here hasn’t lived up to expectations. His first 5 games this season was good but ever since Cleverley was injured he has been awful. There’s no need to talk about Carrick. Hence, if our midfield doesn’t improve anytime soon… I think winning a cup or if we are REAL lucky, then EPL is our only silverware this year. Forget about the CL.

But awkwardly, yesterday’s game wasn’t lost because of our midfield. In fact, in the first half we were doing well and had what, 60-70% possession. We just didn’t have a creative spark (Rooney & unfortunately Nani as well was quiet). We really lost the game because of Evans. What on earth was he doing…. But WHY we got mauled was explained by SAF nicely and clearly. Why were we still attacking City like we were losing 2-1 in the final few minutes was beyond comprehension. C’mon… at 4-1, we knew the game was over… why go out gung ho and lose 2 more pathetically defended gaols…. WHY? Can ANYONE TELL ME WHY?!?????????

Hurt… deeply hurt

danniitronix - October 24, 2011 Reply

sidney said:
You’re all forgetting we have Pogba… Who won’t play in the first team this season because he’s not ready

i read somewhere that he is wanting first team action and if he don’t get it he wants out. fair johns to him if he sees a little bollock like Anderson in the middle of the park dreaming of monster munch and cake.

ja - October 24, 2011 Reply

Had to happen, it has been make do and mend on the structure of the club since the parasites arrived. Across town money no object refurbishment has brought success.
The only positive is the changing balance of power at home and consolidation of power in Spain where Barca thrashed United then signed Fabregas, will show the Singapore market the purported float, with little or no voting rights to challenge the parasites, is ridiculously overvalued.

Damian Garside - October 24, 2011 Reply

Here’s an irony: how many times over the last few seasons, particularly since CR left, have United been guilty of taking their foot off the pedal a goal up and half an hour or twenty minutes to go, instead of steaming in and wrapping it up with an extra couple of goals. Here we were down to 10 men, three goals down , playing atrociously at the back, and still trying like dambusters desperate to score.

sheesh - October 24, 2011 Reply

danniitronix said:
i read somewhere that he is wanting first team action and if he don’t get it he wants out. fair johns to him if he sees a little bollock like Anderson in the middle of the park dreaming of monster munch and cake.

If pogba leaves I will be pissed off. He has to be an improvement on what we have, surely.

RedAlert260599 - October 24, 2011 Reply

The kids on the rec are a fooking improvement on us! Humiliated. Worst ever performance and I will never forgive any one of them for making me come into work to this today. Twats!…Talking of which, The Glazer loans coming home to roost. 2nd best – even in our home town. Thanks to the Yanky Goblins.

Damian Garside - October 24, 2011 Reply

Goblins is such a good word for them: fits them both in terms of their sneaky money-grabbing qualities, as well as visually (a cross between goblins and gnomes). It’s like they bought United and probaly Tampa Bay Buccanners too, in order to have a life and be noticed. Pity it’s not working out for them.

As I pointed out before: 2 weeks ago the San Francisco 49ers gave Tampa a horrible 48-3 drubbing.

triggs - October 24, 2011 Reply

A guy in front of me left after the second goal, I thought what a prick, now I think he was a fucking genius.
The final 10 minutes was the worst I’ve ever seen United play and without doubt the most embarrassing. It was a disgrace and I fear that Rio will ultimately pay for it. I will be very surprised if he’s at United next season. Evra is also walking on ice: four goals yesterday from his side of the pitch. Evans will get a welcome three-game ban.
The best thing now is to get Vidic fit, give him the armband and play him and Jones regularly together. I think if they can build a partnership then we’ll start to look more solid again.
What I found most puzzling was that Fergie saw fit to man-mark a shitheap like Adam last week, but left Silva unmarked to run the game. Silva was a class act, but Rodwell showed that you can stop him if he’s marked closely – Jones could have done the same. We should have played a midfield 3 or 5 yesterday. He has few fans, but Carrick offers United a level of control and protection that was sorely lacking yesterday. But I think that says more about how poor Fletch and Ando were, as opposed to any endorsement for Carrick.
Although the central midfield was shite yesterday, you can’t ignore the fact that Nani, Welbeck, Rooney and Young were all poor too. We had a lot of possession first half but they failed to provide the necessary spark or piece of quality to create any decent chances. Sneijder anyone? Rooney looked unfit to me: good in possession but laboured without it.
Special shout out to the City fans, despite being 6-1 at the home of their main and local rivals, they still found time to do aeroplane arms in reference to Munich. As classy as always.

Mongoletsi - October 24, 2011 Reply

They were singing Munich songs from the outset. Cunts.

Geno - October 24, 2011 Reply

I’m sure the Glazers pointed out to Messrs Gill and Ferguson that the Singaporeans won’t be buying overpriced shares off the back of any more performances like that one.

RobDiablo - October 24, 2011 Reply

triggs said:
What I found most puzzling was that Fergie saw fit to man-mark a shitheap like Adam last week, but left Silva unmarked to run the game…

An excellent point. Before the Liverpool match, I suggested that Sir Alex would be mad not to start with three in midfield, but this was based on a belief that Liverpool were better than they are – they’ve improved, yes, but still have some way to go. In any case, while watching the match, it occurred to me that had either manager had the balls to play a 4-4-2, his side would have stood a very good chance of winning. When I made the same suggestion about the number of midfielders Sir Alex should employ against City, however, there was no doubt in my mind that three were needed. I still cannot believe that with the kind of movement and finishing Aguero and Balotelli are capable of producing, Sir Alex did not see fit to try to keep Silva from getting the ball to them.

Ed - October 24, 2011 Reply

Rob – Lets be honest, Sir Alex has been flip flopping between 4-4-2 and 4-3-3/4-5-1 for some time now without any clear and defining philosophy. Remember the last time Barca didn’t play 4-3-3… nope I can’t either. It’s one thing being flexible, its quite another giving an impression of changing tactics on a whim. Got it badly wrong against Chelsea, Liverpool and City with three different results… but all could have turned out like the latter.

Bill - October 24, 2011 Reply

Very interesting point about man marking Adam and not Silva or Aguero! Might be to do with playing at home, but still Adam isn’t in the same class at the latter two.

RobDiablo - October 24, 2011 Reply

Ed said:
Rob – Lets be honest, Sir Alex has been flip flopping between 4-4-2 and 4-3-3/4-5-1 for some time now without any clear and defining philosophy. Remember the last time Barca didn’t play 4-3-3… nope I can’t either. It’s one thing being flexible, its quite another giving an impression of changing tactics on a whim. Got it badly wrong against Chelsea, Liverpool and City with three different results… but all could have turned out like the latter.

Too true.

triggs - October 24, 2011 Reply

Ed said:
Got it badly wrong against Chelsea, Liverpool and City with three different results… but all could have turned out like the latter.

You can throw Basle in there too. It was clear at half-time that things were badly wrong. We were 2-0 up though and he could have changed it to just ensure that United saw out the game, however negative that would be, but he didn’t.

Add your comment