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What Has Changed At Old Trafford? A Look At The Sunderland Match

After days of digesting another unpalatable, inept and cowardly performance against Sunderland, with the team being out played, outfought and generally outdone, what concerned me more were the post match comments made by Knight of the Realm, Sir Alex Ferguson.

For those who haven’t seen or heard the post match interview, here is what the great man said:

“We had to defend very well and the pleasing thing for me is that the back four were fantastic,”

“I can’t class today’s as a disappointment because we had to battle to get the point today. But we have thrown the other three away,”

“The consistency of not losing is something we can take. I am not pleased but I am satisfied,” said Ferguson.

What is worrying me is the acceptance of a draw at Sunderland! Don’t get me wrong I have full respect for the Black Cats; they are a good side and have an excellent home record.

But this season they have only won one match in the Premier League, and even thought they had encouraging results against the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City, they area team we should be taking three points off if we are to regain the title.

What of the team selection?

Michael Owen and Federico Macheda as a front two? That’s not going to strike fear into Michael Turner and Titus Bramble. Leaving Dimitar Berbatov on the bench? He has retired from international football and doesn’t need the rest and is in the best form of his United career. Why interrupt his rhythm?

Given Owen was hooked at half time surely shows Ferguson knew he was wrong to start the striker. But the lack of fight and creativity was also scary for us fans.

Looking at the bench at the weekend, there were three strikers on the sidelines, something that is all well and good provided they have some good service but with Paul Scholes having an off day and Darren Fletcher not much better there was no creativity coming from midfield.

Anderson has his critics but the lad is only just coming back from a long injury so for now we will leave him be.
Even a midfield of Fletch and Scholes should have enough guile and presence to at least compete with Lee Cattermole, but it seems not.

The many problems that need to be addressed need to start with the attitude towards winning, not so long ago we had a hunger, a never say die attitude, an aura that teams feared but if we let comments like the above become more commonplace then this could be destroyed, and that could only be a bad thing.

Something Sir Alex has conceded, recently commenting on the team’s lack of hunger,

“This present team doesn’t kill off sides as well as they should,” Ferguson commented in an interview with Inside United.

“That killer instinct just isn’t there at the moment and it’s something we need to develop,”

“We haven’t had a problem scoring goals. We got three against Liverpool, Everton and West Ham, two away at Fulham, three in the Community Shield; that suggests we don’t have difficulty finding the net.”

“What we’re not doing, though, is killing teams off.” He concluded.

So lets hope the Scot has addressed this issue once and for all, as the ‘never say die attitude’ is something this club is based upon and one quality I do not want to see lost.

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