Andy Gray column: Ferguson won’t worry about Man Utd’s slow start
We should judge Manchester United's ability to win the Champions League in February - not now, writes Andy Gray
Manchester United have come in for some criticism after labouring to a 1-0 win over Galatasaray in their group-stage opener – but you don’t win the Champions League in September.
The idea over the next few months is to just ensure they qualify for the knockout stages – it doesn’t matter how they get to the last 16.
How they are playing in February when the competition starts up again will dictate whether they are good enough to go and win it.
United could have won the game by three goals or they could have drawn it 2-2 – they got out of jail with some strong penalty claims for Galatasaray turned down by Wolfgang Stark.
If they had been at the United end they may have been given, but what these fifth officials do now is beyond me if they can’t see these kind of things.
Galatasaray ran them close and it was testament to what Sir Alex Ferguson said when he admitted he had to play his best side.
To be honest United should not have been sweating on the result – they should have been home and dry when they had the chance to take a 2-0 lead from the penalty spot, which they didn’t score.
Sir Alex admitted he was surprised that Robin van Persie didn’t take it and I would have to agree – I have no idea why Nani stepped up.
I would guess that as long as Wayne Rooney is out of the team that Van Persie will take the penalties. He should have taken it to exorcise the one he missed against Southampton at St Mary’s.
Sir Alex just needs to say to Van Persie, ‘while Rooney isn’t playing, you are taking the penalties Robin,’ to end all of the confusion.
It might not have been the performance they wanted but I’m sure the crowd were delighted to see Darren Fletcher back, as was I.
Obviously being a Scot I am twice as happy for him. We are going to need a fit Fletcher if we are going to get back into contention in our qualifying group and slowly but surely he will be back.
There must have been times in Darren’s life in the last year where he thought he wouldn’t be playing football again so he will be delighted.
He has done so much good for United over the years. He is not an Andres Iniesta or a Xavi – and nor does he pretend to be – but he is a very good Premier League player who does a great job for United.
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