As a Man United fan for more years than i care to remember, old enough to recall (albeit as a two year old) my father dancing around the room when George Best dribbled past the Benfica keeper to make it 2-1 in 1968, i thought i would try my hand at some writing for Caughtoffside, hope you enjoy!
There is nothing wrong with exuberance, and nothing wrong with wanting to play the game you love and i can understand the anger a player must occasionally feel when he is hauled off the pitch, but the petulant way the Portuguese genius took the decision to give him a breather yesterday was really out of order.
Sir Alex will hopefully have given the player a dressing down after the game as a failure to do so would go against his entire managerial ethos. It wasn’t as though he was subbed because he played badly it was clearly a decision to keep his key players fresh for the big battles ahead and i am surprised Cristiano didn’t take the decision in the correct way.
I am not advocating any serious punishment for the 24 year old, merely a mild telling off to make sure he knows that the club is not a one man outfit. Maybe he should consider the way Carlos Tevez has had to deal with his season of stops and starts, imagine the Argentine reacted in the same manner everytime he was subbed or every time he realised he wasn’t in the starting eleven.
It’s a long hard season and it seems one of the most important facets of the game in this over saturated era is the ability to use a squad correctly. Some managers go over the top and chop and change at every given opportunity, something Rafa Benitez used to do but has snapped out of. Sir Alex has it about right in my opinion. He keeps a handful of key players in his eleven that play as many of the fixtures as possible and then he has four or five positions that he wisely rotates. Be it to keep his players up for the battle but also he knows which players suit which competitions and which opponents.
So Cristiano, next time you see your number is up in a game that is virtually won, it’s worth telling yourself that it is a sign of your importance to the team that your fitness is key for the next hugely important fixture.