Ferguson backs Wenger over star sales

Sir Alex Ferguson has backed Arsene Wenger's controversial decision to sell Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor to Manchester City.

Many pundits felt Arsenal might have been kissing goodbye to their top-four hopes by letting two of their star men leave for a major rival.

Yet the early signs do not indicate there will be a problem.

The Gunners have scored 10 goals in their first two matches, including six at Everton on the opening day, and also reached the group stages of the Champions League by putting five past Celtic.

And Ferguson, whose Manchester United tackle Arsenal in the first blockbuster confrontation of the Premier League campaign at Old Trafford tomorrow, is adamant Wenger knows exactly what he is doing.

"I couldn't understand why they were written off," said the United boss.

"A young team like Arsenal, that is maturing, has to be respected and regarded. Six-one at Everton was an amazing result. In all my time at Manchester United, I can't remember anyone doing that at Goodison Park before.

"But one thing Arsene Wenger has done fantastically well is sell at the right time.

"He has always known the right time for a player to leave and he has done it again with Adebayor and Toure.

"It is not easy to manage that kind of change but I don't think the level of ability has changed one bit and he seems to have a good harmony in the squad."

There was a point when United games against Arsenal needed to be viewed from behind a sofa.

If it was not Martin Keown charging Ruud van Nistelrooy after a missed penalty or Roy Keane going head-to-head in with Patrick Vieira in the Highbury tunnel, it was pieces of pizza being hurled at Ferguson by members of Wenger's squad.

Nothing similar is expected tomorrow, although the quality of the football should be of the same high standard.

"Over the years Manchester United games against Arsenal have been the feature of the Premier League," said Ferguson.

"For a long time we were both competing for the number one spot and some of the games were very feisty.

"The character of the teams has changed a bit. We don't have a Keane, they don't have a Vieira. They were both volatile characters and dominant figures in their teams.

"Tomorrow won't be in any way as competitive. It will be a different type of game."

Ferguson must decide whether to make changes, knowing Michael Carrick and Anderson will be desperate to make an impact after missing last week's five-goal rout of Wigan.

In addition, both Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen got their names on the scoresheet for the first time this season, although both trail Wayne Rooney by three after the England man's double took his United tally to 101.

"I don't really pay attention to that kind of achievement," said Ferguson.

"But he is young and his performance level is getting better, which is what you would expect.

"Wayne is capable of improving his goalscoring level and hopefully he goes on to get more."

Although United have now found their feet after a tricky opening week, that shock defeat at Burnley has left them trailing three clubs, including Arsenal, who still have 100% records.

So, while Ferguson is not convinced much can be gleaned from one battle, no matter how eagerly anticipated it is, he does not want United to drop any more points, particularly given his team struggled against all the big four last season, registering just one win in six outings.

"We dropped six points to Liverpool, four to Arsenal and two to Chelsea," he reflected.

"We need to address that and do better. One opportunity comes along tomorrow. We have lost one game and we cannot afford to lose another."

Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders