Ferguson backs manager's strong approach

 

Sir Alex Ferguson resisted the urge to gloat, or to remind the world that two years ago he had decided Carlos Tevez was not worth the price, or the trouble.

That may have been in his mind, but he limited his comments yesterday to offering his support to his managerial counterpart, "the most important man" at his local rivals.

"I think Roberto Mancini has come out showing his strength of character, his strength of management. That's important in today's management," said Ferguson.

"We have all experienced our own difficulties in management. You cope with it as best you can. My own experience is strong management is important. There is nobody more important than the manager at a football club."

Though not remotely as dramatic, Ferguson has his own problems at the moment, notably a defence that conceded three goals at home to Basle in midweek and has only kept a trio of clean sheets in 11 matches this season.

"I think people will say our performance on Tuesday was careless and we underestimated our opponents. I think there is an element of truth about that," he said. "I certainly wasn't happy. Even in the first half I could smell we were too lax, we could have lost three goals in the first half. We could have scored three goals but that is the way we are playing at the moment – with that cavalier attitude. Maybe people enjoy it, but it certainly doesn't win leagues. We have to be better defensively.

"It's [getting] a balance of defence and attack, that's why you call it a team. We're too cavalier at the moment. On the second goal, for instance, we only had one defender in the penalty box."

The champions, who lead the Premier League on goal difference from Manchester City, are at home to Norwich City today, which would seem a straightforward three points. In the last five seasons United have won 14 of their 15 home matches against newly promoted teams, scoring 43 goals to 10. However, the one draw was this month last season, against West Bromwich Albion, when, as now, United's defence was still to settle.

Norwich won their last match on the road, at Bolton, and pushed Chelsea hard in their previous away game. Ferguson is keen to ensure his team do not "underestimate" another opponent. He said, "Norwich have had a terrific start. There seems to be a great sense of purpose about the place."

Canaries' manager Paul Lambert was part of the Borussia Dortmund team that knocked Ferguson's United out of the Champions League in 1997, going on to win the competition. Ferguson recalled: "His career in management has taken off quite well, Norwich has been a terrific move for him."

The inequality of resources was exacerbated yesterday when Lambert lost James Vaughan until the New Year following a knee operation while Ferguson welcomed back Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez after injury.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable