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."

News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
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

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'