By Tom Pattison
1) Prioritise the League.
This might not meet with universal approval but I believe this season our principle focus has to be the League title. I don’t believe for one moment that we are the best team in Europe; that accolade rightly goes to Barcelona and we should not compromise our chances of securing number nineteen by taking risks with an already stretched playing squad. Today’s fixture against West Ham is a classic example – I posted on this site’s forum yesterday a team which saw several changes in anticipation of Wednesday night. As can happen sometimes, I woke up this morning with an entirely different opinion! We should play our best available team against West Ham and deal with the champions’ league game as a bonus. I would give up reaching Wembley in May for securing our record breaking title victory.
2) Stick with a winning formula.
Some days I wish I dream of being in charge at Manchester United, most days however I am happy to offer my five cents from the sidelines. Ferguson has proved to be adept at changing his side to manage the demands on the players. I am in no doubt that being in this position in April has been aided by the rotation of players but I believe that for the remainder of the League fixtures we should stick to the players in form so long as physical condition allows. This sadly might mean a continued peripheral role for one of my favourite players in Berbatov but our best performances have been with Rooney deep behind the pacey Hernandez. Rooney has been playing almost as an attacking midfielder and this has helped us maintain possession and combat the energy of the younger, pacier midfields which have caused us problems throughout the season.
3) Keep faith with the youth.
Ferguson can regularly be found beating his own promotional drum and one of his favourite topics for self-congratulation is his faith in youth. The introduction of a teenage Macheda famously swung the title race a couple of years back and I could see another wildcard having an impact. Last season when we were struggling for form and confidence Ferguson turned to the veterans to get us out of trouble – at City it worked famously but as Man United toiled at Blackburn the policy was exposed. I do not doubt that Scholes and Giggs will play a role in the final run in but I firmly believe that it will be the less experienced talents of Hernandez, Valencia, Nani, and the Da Silva’s who will prove the difference if we are to win this league. Giggs in particular has shown his value at turning a game off the bench (Blackpool away stands out) and that is how he can prove most useful for the remainder of the season. Perhaps this could be balanced with a starting role in Europe? As for the exciting crop bubbling beneath the surface, he might not be ready for a starring role but I fail to see the harm in having Ravel Morrison on the bench. The boy could prove a match winner in unlikely circumstances.
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