Ferguson Proud As Reds Reach The European Final
Sir Alex Ferguson took a major risk by rotating his squad for Manchester United’s UEFA Champions League Semifinal second leg against Schalke, but the players affirmed the faith he bestowed upon them.
The result in the first leg afforded the Gaffer this opportunity to play some of his squad players, which was desperately needed, especially with a very significant domestic battle with Chelsea in a couple of days’ time, and, to his humbleness, none of his players disappointed him.
Unlike the match against Arsenal, it was very clinical performance by all of his players, but it was quite fitting that two of his squad players – Anderson and Darron Gibson – got their names on the score sheet against Schalke because of the scrutiny that both of them face on a regular basis. If you enjoy a gamble and bet online, you wouldn’t have wagered on those two getting on the scoresheet in this game thats for sure!
It was a huge ask of Ferguson for these players – some of who have not played much in the last couple of months – to perform at a very high level. Each of them, like any footballer, want to contribute to the team’s overall objectives, and, ultimately, to have a chance to be included in the final in a couple weeks.
The Reds will face Barcelona, and a lot of these players will remember their contributions – or lack there of – so it would be a chance to make amends for those performances as well. The 2009 UEFA Champions League Final has lived in the back of the minds of the United players since, and now they have a chance to make things right.
Anderson, who was subbed off at halftime during that match, doubled his goal tally taking his total to four goals in his _-year United career. Goals aside though, he had his typical robust performance by completing passes that very few players can, but the Brazilian midfielder also left the Old Trafford crowd frustrated as well. Take nothing away from Anderson, but the hard work, besides what he made for the first, was done by his teammates – Nani and Dimitar Berbatov. However, Anderson did work hard to get in those attacking positions, which was down to his awareness and willingness to get forward and assist the attack – and was certainly one thing that Sir Alex asked of him to do.
His midfield partner, Gibson, scored his second significant European goal in as many seasons. Fortunately this time, the Irish midfielder scored a goal that saw the Reds not only win, but advance in large part because of it.
United’s No. 28, who recently faced a barrage of insults when he signed up for twitter, has often been told that he does not have the quality to be at Old Trafford. However, against Schalke, he put in a wonderful, disciplined display that saw him earn respect from the United supporters. He almost did not have a chance to perform as he did, because of an injury that would have seen lesser willing players go off, but he stuck it out and registered a goal and an assist as an added bonus.
For obvious reasons, Gibson and Anderson are not the only two players that deserve credit for the win.
Facing one of the greatest goal scorers of all-time, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling held their heads well and to their credit, they were not overwhelmed by the magnitude of the occasion.
Like Gibson, Evans has been written off by the vast majority of the United supporters for putting in sub-par performances this season. Yes, he did make some elementary mistakes when Schalke got their only goal, but Evans was, otherwise, untroubled by anything that they threw his way.
However, his central defensive partner, Smalling, has been heavily involved in most of the European matches this season. The England U-21 international has been on the fast track from a part-time football team to a club that is in the Champions League final in just three seasons. Smalling has not been fazed by any occasion, and he was very lucky to not have opened his European goal scoring account.
Ahead of the game, coupled with the announcement of the starting XI, there was quite a bit of unrest amongst the Manchester United supporters, but as he has done so many times during his managerial career, Sir Alex Ferguson’s tactics came through.
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