Ferguson stands by Manchester United youngsters

Sir Alex Ferguson has rounded on the critics who have written his youngsters off following Manchester United's Champions League defeat to Besiktas last week.

Ferguson elected to field most of the young players that steered the Red Devils to last season's Carling Cup success, with strikers Federico Macheda and Danny Welbeck both still in their teens.

Gabriel Obertan and Rafael Da Silva are equally lacking in experience, so while Ferguson was disappointed at United's failure to collect the point required to confirm top spot in Group B, he felt it had been a useful workout for players he believes have the talent to reach the pinnacle of their profession.

It was with a sense of total disbelief therefore that Ferguson digested a generally condemnatory assessment of both the performance and players involved.

The response has been equally withering.

"Those lads need to be challenged and I thought they did OK," said Ferguson.

"They did not deserve that kind of criticism.

"Those same people will be going cap in hand to them, begging them for interviews in a few years' time, mark my words. It is so hypocritical.

"What is the difference between that and Alan Hansen doing it in front of millions? Yet one gets slaughtered for it and this guy gets off. Wonderful. What a world."

Ferguson was referring to Hansen's comments about Wayne Bridge on Match of the Day after Manchester City's draw with Burnley earlier this month.

As the person who left Hansen out of Scotland's 1986 World Cup squad, there has never been any particular empathy between the pair.

However, there is a recognition of the respect Hansen has gained in his role as a pundit, and his unique insight into the art of defending.

Ferguson clearly feels others sitting in judgement do not possess the same depth of knowledge which is why he will disregard their opinions completely and play the same bunch of players in tomorrow night's Carling Cup quarter-final against Tottenham, the side United defeated at Wembley to lift the trophy last term.

"I don't need to motivate them with what has been said," said Ferguson. "Their future is well mapped out.

"But the one thing we cannot give them is an old head, which is what we saw in the last third of the pitch last week.

"They got anxious. They created good chances and they hurried the thing. But that is not the biggest crime in the world.

"We are not talking about ability here. We are talking about experience and in that sense is starting to stack up. That is why we have to play them."

There will be an infusion of experience though as United look to reach their fifth semi-final in eight seasons.

Michael Owen will hope to be involved, while Dimitar Berbatov could be make his first appearance in the competition since scoring for Tottenham in their 2008 final victory over Chelsea.

However, Ferguson is committed to using the younger members of his squad.

And, as someone who was in the same situation himself not that long ago, Darren Fletcher has first-hand experience of the benefits now being gained by the stars of tomorrow.

"We don't dismiss the Carling Cup at all," he said.

"It has been an important competition for the younger players and lads on the fringes of the squad for many years.

"Last year the lads went all the way to the final and won it. What a great achievement that was.

"For people like Ben Foster, Jonny Evans and Darron Gibson to win their first trophy provided them invaluable experience which will stay with them for the rest of their careers.

"We have so many games these players are an integral part of the squad.

"It is vitally important for them to go through the experiences they are getting just now because ultimately, it is going to make them better players."

Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
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

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week