Manchester United can’t get carried away, warns Fergie
Sir Alex Ferguson has urged his players not to get carried away by Wednesday's staggering victory over AC Milan.
The four-goal triumph over the seven-times European Cup winners will go down as one of Manchester United's finest European achievements.
Once the fuss over David Beckham's green and gold exit and another two goals for Wayne Rooney has died down, the record books will show a quite staggering aggregate win over a fellow heavyweight that in the short-term has dispelled any remaining concerns about United's ability to challenge for major honours this season.
Ferguson recognises the enormity of the result. But, ahead of tomorrow’s encounter with Fulham, the Scot is also eager to introduce a note of caution.
“We have to calm ourselves down a little bit,” he said.
“It was an emphatic result on Wednesday but they lost Alessandro Nesta on the morning of the game and then lost their centre-back at half-time. That made it difficult for them.
“It is the same as when we played Fulham a couple of months back. We had no centre-backs, so what do you expect?”
What the week's results did do was place a sense of perspective over Ferguson's refusal to spend the vast majority of that world record £80million received from Real Madrid for Cristiano Ronaldo.
One of the arguments put forward by the Manchester United Supporters Trust for their opposition to the Glazer family's ownership of the club is that their massive debt prevented Ferguson plunging into the transfer market.
It is a claim which has been denied by senior figures within Old Trafford, including Ferguson himself, who stressed he has been put off by the vast prices being quoted for players little better than the ones he already has.
That inflation was fuelled by Real and Manchester City. City have known since last month there would be no end to their 34-year wait for a trophy — the Carling Cup semi-final defeat to United being part of the wreckage — whilst the sight of Ronaldo shaking his head as he made his way off at the Bernabeu in midweek after Champions League elimination to Lyon was further proof money does not automatically buy success.
“Spending money never has guaranteed you anything,” said Ferguson. “It is not always the case it doesn't. But it is never a certainty.
“I am just glad that we are into the next stage. That is all we need to concern ourselves with.”