Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

David Healy: Sir Alex should blame Rafael for his exit, not the Germans

Sir Alex Ferguson was not a happy man after Manchester United’s Champions League exit on Wednesday night.

That’s not surprising because going out of any competition upsets the boss.

He’s a winner and anything else is not acceptable to him.

Maybe with so much emotion swirling around inside him, that’s why he let rip at the Bayern Munich players after the match.

He stated they changed the course of the game by getting young full-back Rafael sent off when they crowded round the referee, following the defender’s foul on Franck Ribery.

“Typical Germans,” said Sir Alex.

I agree with most of things that the United boss does or says, but not on this occasion.

The Bayern team were simply being professional when they asked the referee the question about Rafael getting a second yellow card.

Every team would have done the same, including Manchester United.

Sir Alex was clearly defending his young player, but the boss will know it was a silly sending off.

Rafael is a talented young lad, with great pace and good ability on the ball but it’s not the first time that he has made a poor decision which has cost his team.

Yes, you can say he is young and has to learn, but he has to learn quickly because effectively picking up two unnecessary yellow cards and getting dismissed cost United a place in the Champions League semi-finals.

United came out of the traps flying with the crowd really up for it with Wayne Rooney on the pitch. They were brilliant early on. I thought it was going to be Roma all over again when United won 7-1!

Conceding that goal just before the break was sloppy, but United were still in the box seat until Rafael’s rash challenge on Ribery on the half way line.

He deserved to go whether the Bayern players were pressurising the referee or not.

I would think that Sir Alex will have told Rafael in no uncertain terms not to be so reckless and silly again.

From that sending off Bayern grew stronger and Arjen Robben’s volley was a beauty to see them through.

Over the two legs they probably deserved it.

One other observation about United’s exit — does Dimitar Berbatov have a future at Old Trafford? He played just over 10 minutes on Wednesday. Big games require big players. Maybe Berbatov isn’t seen as one now.

As for the rest of the season Manchester United must focus on winning their last five league games and put pressure on Chelsea.

Sir Alex will be desperate to win the title now, otherwise even with the Carling Cup already in the bag, it will be considered a disappointing season by everyone at United.

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