A round-up of stories relating to Manchester United over the past 24 hours.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson questioned why Nani took last night’s penalty with Van Persie on the field. Nani’s miss marked United’s third miss from the spot in as many games and Ferguson speculated that Chicharito taking the penalty in United’s previous game against Everton, when Van Persie was not playing, caused some confusion as to who was United’s penalty taker. Ferguson added that Van Persie, who in his opinion takes ‘great penalty kicks’, should always be taking them. It also transpires that United have scored just one of their last seven penalty kicks.
Sir Alex Ferguson also spoke of his delight in seeing Darren Fletcher’s return to first-team action last night at Old Trafford. Fletcher garnered a standing ovation when coming on as a substitute for Paul Scholes and Ferguson believes the gesture from the fans ‘was a mark of respect to a really honest and tremendous young lad’.
And the United boss was content with the 1-0 win over Galatasaray although he admitted there were still concerns about his team’s carelessness: ‘I think there was a lack of concentration at times. It’s unusual for us to be as frivolous with the ball’. However he also spoke of the importance of winning the first game, particularly after last year’s poor performance in the group stages.
Michael Carrick, who scored the only goal of the game, echoed his manager’s thoughts by underlining the need to win games early on in the group stage: ‘It’s vital we got off to a winning start after last year, really. It was vital we won at home, especially against a good team – and they really are a very decent team.’
Torino sporting director Gianluca Petrachi confirmed United as one of the clubs monitoring central defender Angelo Ogbonna. And Petrachi has told potential suitors of the 24-year-old that a bid of at least £16m will be required to acquire his services.
Leading into Sunday’s match against Liverpool, Michael Carrick believes ‘everyone’s got a huge responsibility to respect the situation’. Carrick continued to muse on the game’s magnitude: ‘These games are a one-off, form goes out of the window, the atmosphere is that little bit more special. We’re expecting Liverpool to bring their best game and we’ll have to bring ours. To play in a game like that, they’re the ones you remember. As a player you appreciate what it means to the fans.’
And captain Nemanja Vidic has every confidence that United fans will be respectful of Liverpool in the upcoming game. A small section of supporters in last week’s match against Wigan reportedly sang insensitive chants following findings on the Hillsborough disaster but Vidic is hopeful that it will not be a problem on Sunday.
The Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) have released a statement supporting Sir Alex Ferguson’s calls for an end to the taunting of the Hillsborough disaster, Munich crash or any other sensitive matter. The statement specified that whilst last week’s chanting could have referred to Luis Suarez’s race row – from which the chant had originated – MUST called on fans to be aware of the current context and to leave no room for doubt in singing such chants.
image: © marcel sigg