Title matters - Ferguson
Published 06/04/2013 | 08:21
Sir Alex Ferguson is content that Manchester United will end up with the trophy that matters this season.
After their controversial Champions League defeat to Real Madrid, United exited the FA Cup earlier this week when they were beaten by Chelsea. It means instead of a hoped-for treble, the only silverware available to United this season is the Premier League and they currently hold a 15-point advantage over Manchester City, who they play on Monday.
"In the context of the kind of competition we have, teams from London - Tottenham, Arsenal and Chelsea - Liverpool and Everton, there are massive challenges every year," he told MUTV. "For every one of those teams, their supporters hope they win one trophy. We have won the one that really does matter to our fans."
He continued: "Yes, I would have loved to win the European Cup again but we got knocked out in circumstances that everyone is still talking about, and the disappointment of getting knocked out by Chelsea is obvious. But the league form has been consistent."
And so too, in recent times, has been the form of David de Gea. Castigated by Gary Neville, amongst others, as recently as January, De Gea comes into the City game on the back of six successive Premier League clean sheets. And Rio Ferdinand is amongst those who believe the Spain youngster has learned some valuable lessons.
"When you are a keeper, experience comes with games and becoming used to certain situations," said the veteran defender. "He hasn't been here long. He is young, he had to become accustomed to his new surroundings and he wasn't given time."
There was also a quick initiation into life as a United player.
As it transpired, a seamless progression through professional ranks to the extent of featuring in Atletico Madrid's 2010 Europa League final triumph over Fulham proved to be no preparation for Old Trafford, where every mistake has been seized upon.
"When you play for Manchester United you are under incredible scrutiny," added Ferdinand. "That is just the way it is.
"You have to get used to it. You need a thick skin to be a Manchester United player. Because if you cannot take a battering at times you will fall by the wayside and someone else will fill your shoes. He has a huge price tag on his head that carries a lot of weight. But he is resilient, even if he still has a lot to prove because this season is not over yet."