Sir Alex Ferguson must look to add new recruits during the summer transfer window after Manchester United uncharacteristically wasted an eight-point lead in the Premier League to Manchester City.
It is now highly unlikely that United will win the title, but even if they pull it off, Ferguson must look to strengthen.
His team selection in the decisive fixture against City was poor, but what it showed was that Ferguson – like everyone else – can see the weaknesses in United’s spine.
Injuries haven’t helped. Losing Nemanja Vidić is never ideal, not to mention the fact that Darren Fletcher, Anderson and Tom Cleverley have all been out of action for most of the season.
But the Red Devils boss needs to look at signing a midfield enforcer, someone who can dominate a game in the same way as City’s Yaya Touré.
He also needs a playmaker, as Paul Scholes will not be able to come to United’s rescue for much longer.
However, if Ferguson can break the bank to finally sign Real Madrid’s Mesut Özil – who they missed out on after his brilliant World Cup in 2010 – as well adding a couple more recruits, then things will look much rosier for the Reds.
Less than a month ago, Roberto Mancini was insisting that his City side had no chance of snatching the Premier League title.
The suave Italian’s reverse psychology was rather surprising.
Considering his closest league rival was Ferguson, a gnarled veteran of mind-games, it seemed crazy.
However, whether by accident or design, Mancini has coaxed his charges into a domineering mind-set – that much is undeniable.
Touré’s heated exchange with Scholes during City’s 1-0 win at Eastlands a month ago was a neat summation of United’s ailing season.
In years of old, there would have been no need for the midfield genius to stoop to a petty, tetchy dispute on the field.
Even in the dug-out as Ferguson aimed a volley of abuse at Mancini in the closing stages, the champions’ big occasion composure was evaporating.
This week, both Touré and Joleon Lescott have been impressive in their words to the media, providing evidence of the inner steel that their boss has instilled, and defeat by Queens Park Rangers on Sunday is utterly inconceivable.
Lescott was unduly modest when finishing his interview with the BBC by saying, “It is crazy to think might win the league.”
He was wrong. With this set of players, with this rugged mentality, it really wouldn’t be crazy to back the Blues to thrive for some time to come.
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