Ferguson demands response from team
MANCHESTER, United Kingdom - Agence France-Presse
Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea looks dejected after allowing the third goal by Blackburn Rovers in their surprising defeat in the English Premier League. REUTERS photoSir Alex Ferguson will be looking for a typical response from his Manchester United side when they head to Newcastle tonight.
The Premier League champions suffered a surprise 3-2 home defeat on Dec. 31 and although leader City also slipped up with a defeat at Sunderland, Ferguson will still be deeply frustrated at the lost points.
United is still in the grips of an injury crisis and there will be plenty of attention on Wayne Rooney ahead of tonight’s match.
The England striker missed the Blackburn game and has reportedly been fined, along with Jonny Evans and Darron Gibson, after an ill-timed night out following the 5-0 victory over Wigan.
Ferguson has acknowledged that the manner of United’s defeats this season have been particularly painful. After the 6-1 home loss to neighbor Manchester City in October, the team was knocked out of the League Cup by Championship team Crystal Palace and also slipped out of the Champions League with a shock defeat in Basel.
Ferguson described the 3-2 home defeat to Blackburn, which came on his 70th birthday, as “a disaster.”
But as he looks for his United team to bounce back once again, at least he can console himself with their impressive recent record at St James’ Park. United has not lost there since a 4-3 defeat in 2001 but the team will be keen to make up for their 1-1 home draw with Newcastle in November.
Despite his team’s ongoing injury concerns, Ferguson does not expect to dip into the transfer market this month. The United manager has consistently ignored the winter window in recent years and has not made any major additions since snapping up Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra in 2006.
“The reason there may not be many big signings in January is because the players clubs want are not available,” Ferguson said. “Who would want to sell their best player in January?”
Evans, Rio Ferdinand, Chris Smalling, Ashley Young, Tom Cleverley and Michael Owen all look set to miss out once again, while Darren Fletcher and Vidic are long-term absentees.
Newcastle has raised plenty of eyebrows with their impressive start to the campaign - though the team’s recent form has dipped - but Dutch goalkeeper Tim Krul sees no reason why Alan Pardew’s team cannot maintain their good showings.
“This year I want to stay in the team at Newcastle and double the points that we have now and if I can go to the European Championships in the summer, that would be amazing,” he said.
“2011 was a breakthrough year for me. I made my debut for my country, I have been playing for Newcastle week in, week out as number one this season and it has been an incredible change for me.”