Opponents are not scared of Manchester United anymore

Sharethematch.com ambassador Andy Gray on why United no longer hold a psychological edge over their opposition

sir alex ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson's side trail league leaders Man City by three points Photo: The Sport Review

sir alex ferguson

The problem Manchester United have is they no longer frighten teams.

They used to scare the life out of the opposition, but now teams know they can get at them, and it is their city rivals who scare the rest of the Premier League.

United weren’t quite at the races against Newcastle in midweek and while it is probably just a blip I think there are some big problems for Sir Alex Ferguson to address.

They lacked a strong central midfield pairing and if you put Cheik Tiote and Yohan Cabaye in United’s team, I think they would have won.

United have lost two in a row but they’ve still got 45 points and if they continue like that, they are on course to get 90 points, which would be 10 points more than they got last season.

There’s not an awful lot wrong but, when it’s United, I think people jump on the bandwagon.

Sir Alex does need to strengthen though, particularly in midfield, and if he does that they’ll be successful. But he’s always said he’ll only buy in January if one of their targets becomes available.

Only players who are of Champions League quality are going to attract Sir Alex so it’s difficult to say who that might be because there aren’t many people who would leave a club in the Champions League right now to come to United.

But I do think that for the vast majority of his team he’s got good options all over the field – it’s just that they’re suffering with a horrendous injury list right now.

It’s been a busy and exciting festive period and it’s no surprise Joey Barton has had plenty to say for himself this week, but I never mind players getting involved.

It’s easy for people to sit on the sidelines and say players shouldn’t do this or that. It’s much more difficult when you’re in the heat of battle to not say or do things because it’s a passionate sport and people want to win.

He got fouled twice within about a minute before his red card and in fairness to him I didn’t see him do an awful lot wrong. I know the ban has been upheld but I don’t think the officials did him any favours on the day.

I really do think that because of his reputation, Joey gets treated differently. If you look at Frank Lampard at Wolves, his reputation maybe helped him because it was certainly a tackle that could have got him sent off.

Elsewhere, Liverpool faced their first match without Luis Suárez at the Etihad on Tuesday night, after his ban, but it would be nice if we could move on.

I think Liverpool, when they look back on it, will think they could have handled the situation better, there’s no doubt about that.

But Luis has apologised at last, albeit not to Patrice Evra, but in general and it’s up to others to decide if that apology is enough.

I would love for them to put this situation to bed and get back to football but who knows how long this go on for? I don’t think it will do Liverpool or Suárez any good if the stories continue to run.

Andy Gray is an official ambassador for Sharethematch.com ““ Football’s Social Network. Available now for FREE online or at the App Store.

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