Alex Ferguson tells Manchester United players to end FA Cup drought
United have not won the competition for nine years
Friday 04 January 2013
Sir Alex Ferguson has been drilling it home to his Manchester United players that it is time their nine-year FA Cup drought came to an end.
After winning the competition four times in 10 years after Ferguson finally ended his United trophy drought by beating Crystal Palace in 1990, the Red Devils have secured it just once since.
The 2004 win over Millwall has been followed by disappointing final defeats to Arsenal and Chelsea and two semi-final losses, the most recent against Manchester City in 2011.
Of the current squad, only Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Darren Fletcher have winners' medals, and Ferguson has told his players that statistic needs to change.
"The manager has made the point to us that we have not done too well in the last few years," defender Chris Smalling said. "We need to make sure we get back on track in the competition.
"The league is going well and we're into the Champions League knockout stages, so we want to do well in this as well."
Smalling, 23, was less than six months old when Ferguson secured the first silverware of his illustrious reign after United beating Palace in the 1990 final replay at Wembley.
Since then, the advent and continued success of both the Premier League and Champions League have downgraded the FA Cup's status within the English game.
Yet Smalling still views it as a special tournament and certainly one he would want on his CV.
"The FA Cup has always been a massive competition," he said. "You've got the situation where lower league teams have the chance to play some of the top sides. It can be a real adventure."
Not that there is any romance to be had for United this weekend, just the knowledge that tomorrow's trip to West Ham promises to be hazardous in the extreme.
Born in Greenwich, Smalling has been exposed to West Ham from an early age, even if he was not a particular fan of them, or anyone, as a kid.
And he knows just how tough tomorrow's encounter is going to be.
"It wasn't the easiest draw we could have chosen. Sam Allardyce has got a good team together and done very well," Smalling said.
"The fans really get behind them, especially at Upton Park, which will make it more difficult for us. But it is always somewhere I have enjoyed playing and it will be a good atmosphere."
Latest in Sport
Manchester United teased by Monaco after claims they could have signed 'Luis Suarez of Neymar' instead or £58m Anthony Martial
Former Manchester United star Karel Poborsky goes full hipster
England vs San Marino, Euro 2016 qualifier: Jamie Vardy cleared to make first start for country
Manchester United hit back at Real Madrid by claiming they let David De Gea 'slip through their fingers into the back of the net'
Serie B introduces 'green cards' to promote good behaviour, fair play and sportsmanship
- 1 What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible
- 3 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
- 4 Bob Geldof offers to take four refugee families into his home 'immediately' as he condemns humanitarian crisis as a ‘f**king disgrace'
- 5 Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees