Sir Alex Ferguson: Man United making ‘steady progress’
Ferguson feels his side are moving in the right direction as they bid to dislodge BarÃ§a as the kings of Europe
Sir Alex Ferguson says Manchester United are focused on dislodging Barcelona as the kings of European football – and the Red Devils boss believes building his team around a core of young players is the key to success.
United have been beaten by Pep Guardiola’s Catalan maestros in their last two Champions League final appearances, and the 69-year-old manager admits those defeats have caused him to ponder how his side can reach the same “level” as their Spanish counterparts.
But despite having been undone by BarÃ§a in recent seasons, Ferguson feels the Premier League champions have been making “steady progress” as they bid to land their fourth European crown this season.
The United boss has begun to give the likes of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Danny Welbeck regular chances to shine at Old Trafford, while also bringing in 20-year-old goalkeeper David De Gea this summer.
And Ferguson is convinced that focusing on developing promising young talents is the key to long-term consistency.
“Even a few years ago when Barcelona beat us in Rome it was the issue about how we can get to that level,” said Ferguson during an in-depth interview with the BBC.
“I think we’ve made steady progress in some ways. What we’ve done is make sure we have a nucleus of young players ready to take the challenge and be there for a long time. You need a team that lasts five or six years so they get a consistent nature about them.
“We’ve got a nucleus of young players that are 20 or 21. It’s very difficult to get a cycle of players together who are consistently good and who can stay with you a long time – and that’s what we achieved through [Ryan] Giggs, [Paul] Scholes and [Gary] Neville in particular.”
Ferguson, who is United’s longest-serving manager having taken the reigns at Old Trafford in 1986, admits the stability at the club has allowed him to look ahead and build teams around new groups of young talents.
“I’m lucky because I’ve been here such a long time, so I’ve got time on my side always,” he continued.
“Nobody talks about sacking Alex Ferguson so I can have the vision to look two or three years ahead and all my staff can do that.
“Most of my staff have been with me for that lenght of time. There’s a continuity and consistency we can rely on.”