Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

David Healy: Ferguson needs to have final say against Manchester City

Sir Alex Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson

If things weren’t going so badly at Liverpool, Manchester United’s season would be under a lot more scrutiny because it’s rare that I can remember them playing well.

Already United have lost FIVE league games.

I knew it would be difficult for my old side without Carlos Tevez and especially Cristiano Ronaldo, but clearly it’s been tougher than anyone thought.

The amazing thing is though that United are still well in the title hunt because the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal have not really taken advantage of their slip-ups.

In past seasons I would have confidently predicted that United would charge back, hunt the rest down and go on and win the title.

I have to say I’m not so sure this time.

One of the biggest disappointments this season has been Dimitar Berbatov.

He just hasn’t delivered the way the fans thought he would.

When Ronaldo and Tevez left the club, United supporters were looking to the likes of Wayne Rooney and Berbatov to really turn it on.

I don’t think anyone could have a go at Rooney for his efforts but United need more from the Bulgarian.

United are at home to Burnley tomorrow and they’ll fancy getting back on track after poor recent results but already a lot of the fans that I know are looking forward to next week’s Carling Cup semi-final with Manchester City.

I get the feeling that United going out of the FA Cup has concentrated a few minds in Manchester.

Suddenly this particular derby has become a lot more important to the Red Devils.

After reaching the last four Sir Alex Ferguson had stated he would continue to play his young players in the competition.

Surely that won’t happen now.

City are a club building monentum. Roberto Mancini has come and things have started to click for the Blues.

While United fans are starting to get a little concerned about the future on and off the field, City supporters are buzzing.

They feel their team is on a roll.

United must stop it and you would think the best way to do it would be to put their strongest side out.

If City overcame United in the semi-final, the confidence that would give everyone at Eastlands would be massive.

Sir Alex remains the boss in English football in every sense.

He has seen off Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Blackburn and Newcastle down the years.

Now Manchester City are the latest to threaten his domination.

United and their manager would love to put them in their place.

The league meeting earlier this season between the two clubs was a classic with Michael Owen scoring the winner in injury time.

I have a feeling that the Carling Cup tie will prove just as memorable.

Everyone at Sunderland would love to enjoy an unforgettable day tomorrow when we visit Chelsea.

They have been the best team we have played this season. At the Stadium of Light early on they beat us 3-1 after being a goal down.

Hopefully it won’t be the same outcome at Stamford Bridge. We are certainly up for it and maybe with four players on African Nations Cup duty, Chelsea won’t be as strong.

To help prepare for our big game, the manager decided to take us to the Algarve for some warm weather training. It was a good idea, as with all the snow in the north east, proper training has been difficult.

True to form, after a couple of days, it started raining!

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