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."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice