Sir Alex Ferguson was like a bear with a sore head on Saturday. This usually happens when his team lose, whether it was a deserved victory for the opposition or otherwise. On this particular occasion, the Scotsman lamented the physical tactics employed by Bolton Wanderers:
“You need the protection and we did not get that,” the boss said. “I made my feelings known to the referee and he did not like it. Some referees don’t like the truth and so I had to spend the second half upstairs.”
Arbiter Mark Clattenburg is clearly not the only person who ‘can’t handle the truth’. Like it or not, it’s fast becoming the case that Manchester United are a very ordinary attacking prospect without Wayne Rooney and especially Cristiano Ronaldo. Saturday’s match had a number of parallels with the Manchester derby in August, the only other league match the champions have lost this season.
That day, the Red Devils were again without the services of Rooney and Ronaldo, they largely dominated possession but found themselves on the wrong end of a 1-0 scoreline. Carlos Tevez also missed a fantastic goalscoring opportunity at the City of Manchester stadium, just as he did at the Reebok on Saturday.
Want another example? How about the 1-0 win against Spurs when a wonder-strike from Nani saved United’s blushes? Again the champions were without their deadly duo and they consequently huffed and puffed their way through the match. Not only do they lack a cutting edge without them, it also appears to instill confidence in the opposition when they don’t feel outworked as well as outplayed.
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