Ferguson grapples with Manchester United's selection dilemma
Fulham 0 Man United 4
Published 09/03/2009 | 00:00
Manchester United striker Carlos Tevez has added to Sir Alex Ferguson’s selection dilemmas ahead of the Champions League clash against Inter Milan, according to full-back Patrice Evra.
United boss Ferguson admits his squad is playing so well that his "biggest concern" is which players to use and when, with his hungry squad coming in and out of the starting XI without disruption to performance levels.
That was the case at Craven Cottage as Cristiano Ronaldo was rested and did not travel with the squad, while £30million striker Dimitar Berbatov was an unused substitute in the FA Cup quarter-final win.
Rio Ferdinand went over his ankle but Northern Ireland starlet Jonny Evans came on and he would relish a chance to face Inter Milan.
John O’Shea also picked up a knock and it could lead to Darren Fletcher becoming a makeshift right-back on Wednesday — but that would not be a huge problem, given the ease at which Ferguson’s players have adapted this season.
"My biggest concern is picking the right team and I’m leaving out great players all the time and that is not easy for me," said the United boss.
"I hope by the end of the year we all recognise that everyone has made a great contribution."
Tevez put his case forward with two first-half goals against Fulham, the second a stunning 25-yard drive.
"He does not play every game but when the boss puts him on the pitch he is a different class, an unbelievable player," said Evra.
"He deserved to score two fantastic goals and now against Inter the boss has a massive but nice problem to pick his team."
Wayne Rooney added the third and Ji-sung Park (below) sealed United’s place in the semi-finals against Everton with the final strike in the 4-0 win, with the South Korea midfielder hoping to erase the memory of missing the 2007 FA Cup final against Chelsea.
"I missed the chance to play at Wembley last time because I had an injury, hopefully this time I’ll be there to play," he said.
The win over Fulham kept United on course for a quintuple, having already lifted the Carling Cup and FIFA Club World Cup earlier in the season.
However, Evra added: "None of the players are talking about this. We’re not thinking about winning five trophies."
Rather than looking at an unprecedented trophy haul, Evra is focused on getting the better of Inter boss Jose Mourinho this week after the "Special One" won the Champions League with Porto by beating Monaco.
"When I lost against him with Monaco I was eager to face him for Manchester United against Chelsea," Evra said.
"And when I won my first Premier League medal he was still the manager of Chelsea and it was a nice little victory. I’m not thinking about revenge but its clear I don’t want to lose against him."
The message from the United dressing room, after extending their unbeaten run to 15 games, is that they do not fear any team.
Midfielder Michael Carrick said: "As a squad we’re playing well at the moment and we’re looking forward to every game.
"Fulham is a tough place to come, it was a good win and obviously fills us with confidence. We’re looking forward to Wednesday now."
Fulham boss Roy Hodgson feels United are impossible to catch when they go a goal ahead.
"Your only chance is to go a goal up," he said. "Of course, it’s possible they can win the lot. They have a great springboard in the league but in the cup they will play good opponents as Chelsea also got through.
"Certainly on the performance I’ve seen I wouldn’t want to bet against them.
"And as far as they’re concerned the task that’s the most difficult is the Champions League, but I’m certain that Sir Alex will be anxious to make certain the good performances they’ve given in recent weeks will do on Wednesday night, and they’ll see the tie with Inter off.
"If they go through that one they can go all the way."