Andy Gray: Man United’s Sir Alex wrong to confront Mike Dean pitchside
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will accept confronting Mike Dean pitchside was unwise, writes Andy Gray
Sir Alex Ferguson will realise that what he was party to at half-time during Manchester United’s 4-3 victory over Newcastle United was a little unpalatable.
He’s a manager of one of the biggest clubs in the world, and the biggest club in this country, and has been for some 27 years, and he will know that in the cold light of day, it was in full view of 75,000 fans and a worldwide television audience.
He didn’t use abusive language but he could have handled it better. But then, at the same time, it reflected the atmosphere and the enormity of the game.
It shows the passion that was flowing at Old Trafford, Alan Pardew felt the same about things which went against his side and that’s because both managers want to win.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing to have. If Sir Alex wanted a word with Mike Dean and his officials, he should have done it in the tunnel at half-time, or before his team came out. That was the place to do it. Not almost on the pitch in full view like that.
Part of me thinks he was trying to get the fans going – it wouldn’t surprise anyone. He’s a deep thinker of the psychology of the game, it could have been his way of saying ‘come on fans, we need you’ and if that was part of the plan it certainly worked!
But he doesn’t like losing and I think that manifested itself in that reaction. He hates to lose but he would detest losing to something he feels may have been the wrong decision.
Defensively United have looked very ordinary this year, especially by their standards.
But they’ve managed to come away with a result on the majority of occasions, which I think is what you need to do to be crowned champions. They conceded goals at the Etihad and they still won, they conceded goals against Chelsea and still won, and they conceded goals against Newcastle and still won.
It says a lot about this side that they keep coming out on top like that. It’s not quite the ‘United way’ but while they are scoring goals, Ferguson’s men look like they are going to keep on winning.
United have already conceded 28 goals this season, which is extraordinary when you consider that Manchester City – who are being slaughtered a bit in the media at the moment – have only conceded 16.
It’s quite a massive discrepancy in the ability to keep clean sheets, so I think maybe it’s something Sir Alex Ferguson is getting away with it at the moment.
But at the same time, he won’t need to be told that it isn’t good enough, he will know that better than anyone.
There may be a time in the season when his front men aren’t firing, and they find the goals a bit more difficult to come by and then United will hit trouble if they are still unable to defend.
I’m sure he’s working on it on a daily basis though – there’s plenty of time to improve and the January window to come as well, so it’s not like they are unable to do anything.
He needs to work with his back four to make them a little surer in defence and when that happens he will feel very happy about it because it’s the balance you need to win a title – especially if you don’t do anything to disrupt the rhythm your strikers have.
It makes for exciting football – I’d rather watch a 4-3 than a 1-0, I think we all would. That’s what we got and it was entertaining.
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