Monday, April 9, 2012

Dissent is for losers and not allowed at Manchester United - Ferguson

Manchester United have won 11 of their past 12 league games and drawn the other, not only displaying the sort of precisely timed acceleration that defines champions but giving their rivals an object lesson in team unity and professional focus.

While United have moved eight points clear at the top of the Premier League, Manchester City have been one of the sides caught arguing among themselves, with disappointing results leading to signs of dissent on and off the pitch.

It could be argued that good results promote team harmony, and vice versa, though even in adversity, or the occasions such as Monday evening at Blackburn when the leaders had to wait 80 minutes for a breakthrough, squabbling among United players is rare.

"I wouldn't allow it," Sir Alex Ferguson says, speaking with all the authority of a manager who has faced down internal criticism from Roy Keane, Jaap Stam and others in his time. Even those cases tended to happen away from the pitch, in television studios or books. United players conspicuously fight for each other on the pitch, they do not turn on each other.

"There's a distinction to be made between having your say on the pitch, like Peter Schmeichel used to do when he bawled out his defenders, and squaring up to each other like the two players at Wolves did at the weekend," Ferguson says. "That can happen, particularly at the bottom of the league, because clubs who are struggling are under a lot of pressure and it is easy to understand players becoming frustrated. But really, if you don't have unity you are not playing as a team. The demeanour of a team is important, you can judge it by the way they celebrate a goal.

"We have a lot of experience in our team, and the knowledge of players like Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand will be vital in the coming weeks, but we have also got young lads breaking into the side who are looking at those players and working out what they are doing right to have lasted so long. They are great examples for young players to learn from."

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