They wait for Alex Ferguson’s fall every year, and despite some seasons without the title going to Manchester United, that fall doesn’t happen. Ferguson won’t let it happen. A stronger squad, a weaker squad, it doesn’t matter. Two straight losses, including a 3-0 crushing blow against Newcastle, won’t change that.
Demba Ba with a quality volley, Cabaye with a stunning free kick and a rather pitiful own goal from Phil Jones, having probably his worst day in the Manchester United red. A shaky, not exactly full of confidence defense, is susceptible to long balls against big forwards like Demba Ba. Yakubu was a handful against Blackburn. Ba wasn’t any different, netting his 15th goal of the season.
Jones was actually the player that gave up the free kick that struck gold for Newcastle and Cabaye. Jones was the one who mishandled another huge long ball from Krul and got Ferguson to do his crushing the gum thing at 100 mph, when you know he’s about to go off.
Despite the loss, the first time United have lost consecutively in nearly a year, Ferguson is confident not all is lost. It’s only 3 points from Manchester City, although Tottenham, with a game in hand, can join United at second place with 45 points if they beat Everton a week from now.
This is not a time to be panicking. We’ve got the personal experience to cope with that. Losing the game at this time of the year – you don’t want it, it sometimes can happen, you’ve seen some of the results recently. But obviously we need to get the show on the road in terms of the run-in, particularly in March and April.
Ferguson always preaches about the importance of when to hit the stride, and he’s nearly always right. United struggled with losses against Liverpool and Chelsea last year while Arsenal took over the top spot. Ferguson was the one who had the last laugh as Wenger’s side crumbled in March and April.
They scored a fantastic goal and it really pepped everyone up in the stadium, their supporters get up, they get aggressive against us and made it difficult against us. It was a marvellous volley and the second one just after half time was a killer for us. Marvellous strike from the free-kick. But we didn’t make enough of our possession with the ball anyway.
Newcastle don’t provide us with breathtaking football, masterclass shows. Their defense, for the first time in years, is finally solid, with Tim Krul emerging as one of the more reliable keepers in the Premier League. United have a big problem in midfield from the moment Tom Cleverly went down, and Ferguson knows that. A defense missing its best part can do better if the help was better. Ferguson dreamed of changing discs after watching Barcelona do to his side what they did to everyone else last season.
It looked, for a moment or two during the beginning of the season, that he’s made a change. Soon enough, the same problems United have had with a midfield that hasn’t seen any major reinforcement in over four years doesn’t have the sway on the game a dominant team looks for.
There’s no time for panic, but you can’t ignore the obvious problems as well.