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Criticising Ferguson’s Tactics? DO ONE!

After the defeat against Barcelona, Cristiano Ronaldo told the press that their tactics were no good. Today, Carlos Tevez has echoed that opinion.

“I wanted to play in the starting line-up in Rome but that decision was down to the coach,” said Tevez. “But with a strategy more attacking in the first minute then perhaps the result would have been different. It has not been a good time for me because I believe that I should have played more minutes. My future will now be decided. My agents are negotiating and I am waiting to hear some news.”

Criticising Sir Alex Ferguson’s decisions in the press but there will still be fans who defend them no matter what.

Whether they are right or not is irrelevant. Since when has any player at our club thought it was appropriate to question the manager’s decisions? To do so is undermining and humiliating and should not be tolerated.


About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Gregory says:

    It has been a long season for all even for fan like me who has been one since early ’70s. It has been a helluva season, and my heart has been at full trotter and beating at all cylinders. Winning the Charity Shield, missing at Super Cup, winning the World Club Cup, winning the League Cup, losing to Liverpool 1-4; then to 0-2 to Fulham, beating Arsenal at Emirates in the Champions League semi-final, went on to win the EPL 3 in a row even before the last game of the season. Losing is good sometimes. I am not talking about the ECL final; what i’m saying is the season long schedule. It is good to lose games like Liverpool & Fulham but the players have to deal with the heartbreaks and come back stronger and the good thing is the loss came at a timely pattern. They won the next game and the winning streak continues again. They achieve it, that’s how they won the EPL and thus equalling Liverpool 18 League Championship . Then the win at Emirates and even the youngsters feel invincible, winning the final game at Hull 0-1 after the seniors’ cautious display at the home scoreless draw. I had a strange feeing prior to the ECL final that the winning streak is going to end. It’s just bad timing! Losing to LIverpool and Fulham were good timing. It was a dreadful feeling and it really happened on the night when nothing seemed to work! However, I like to think that it has been a terrific season that many of the EPL challengers ever dream of, with the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, …… we live to fight another season! Maybe some new faces! Good show LADS!!! Maybe the ECL should change its format, since it is called the League, it should be played like one. All the teams are to play one another and the team standing at the top of the leader board will be declared the Champions of Europe! No more qualifying rounds. Only the champions of the Premier League of each European Club be qualify. I hope this works, the number of games could pose a problem here but I really think this would be a more ideal campaign. It’s just my wishful thought!

  2. rc7 says:

    Looks like Real Madrid are really after Ronaldo as most of us knew.

  3. Xyth says:

    At the end of the day Fergie was not on the pitch to do the running. Whatever the tactics, our midfield in particular was crap on the night. Player should be brave enough sometimes to try things if initial tactics are not working. Just imagine if Keano was playing on Wednesday.

    Had Park been a wee bit quicker and scored when the opportunity was presented to him, and then went on to win, everybody would have been bragging how genius Fergie was. (Sounding like FSW with if and buts now)

    You win some, you lose some. Barca rose to the occasion, we did not. So we should learn the lessons and march on.

  4. AlphaRS says:

    I would rather have Ronnie stay then just let him go so easily.
    He is a world class player who if left would make United a weaker team.

    If he does have to goReal Madrid can have him for no less than £100 million. That is the asking price. The rest is up to them! Hehehe.

  5. costas says:

    If Fergie is guilty of not talking to Ronaldo about something,it’s the fact that he has allowed him not to track back.If anything,Ronaldo has special treatment,playing up front and without an obligation to mark anyone.So before Ronaldo opens his mouth again,he should take a look at Rooney and the sacrifice that he has made for the team.Or maybe i am asking for a lot.

  6. denton davey says:



    The “tactics” worked for exactly nine minutes. Then they had to change BUT they didn’t. That meant Barcelona were presented with a perfect opportunity because UTD’s midfield were not able to get the ball, put their foot on it, and boss the game.

    Given time/space, Xavi and Iniesta looked super-human. That gave breathing room to Busquets and the back four who really should have been attacked with more ferocity.

    To my way of thinking, SAF caught himself between two stools – he had seen what the RentBoyz had done to stifle Barcelona but he was not provided with the players to do that job so he hoped that the formation/”tactics” which embarrassed TheArse would come to his rescue but Carrick, Anderson, and Giggs did not boss the midfield or link up well with the forwards.

    At the heart of SAF’s dilemma was that he paid Barcelona too much respect and that proved to be a disaster when the first goal changed the dynamic of a one-off game. Then, after the remarkably shoddy defending that led to the second goal, the game was over.

    So, all you SAF diehards have to face a cruel reality-check. The “tactics” didn’t work – although if that early chance that just eluded Park had gone in then we might have a totally-different story-line. But Pique just beat Park to that loose ball and the goal that could have changed the game wasn’t to be.

  7. Gudjohnsen says:

    Even though players think the manager got the tactics wrong you NEVER EVER express those feelings to the press. The manager is the boss, you answer to him. This isn’t complicated. Fergie is probably the most respected manager in the world, his record is amazing. To say these things like Tevez did is disrespectful. Does Fergie criticize Tevez in the press when he’s had an off game? No, he backs his players up when they need it the most! Tevez should do the same even though he reckons Fergie made a mistake in the lineup!!

  8. Mahesh says:

    I am going to take some flak here I know, but this is what I think. Contrary to what some have said, its not that we’re missing Keano in the dressing room – we’re actually missing the real SAF. I think SAF has become cautious when it comes to player management, and my guess is that this is because he realizes he’s reaching the end of his management career (2-3 more years?) and he now desperately wants the trophies (especially the CL). He knows he no longer has a the time to build new teams, and he’s desperate now to keep this team together. The result is he’s suddenly willing to tolerate shit from people like Ronaldo and Tevez as long as they have some utility for us. The SAF of old would have gotten rid of them, or relegated them to the bench for such insubordination. He doesn’t do that anymore – and that is why these lads have the bollocks to speak up in public.

  9. costas says:

    @Mahesh: Well said.That is exactly what has happened.All we have to do is look at the reasons why Beckham,Ruud and even Roy Keane left the club.Ronaldo has done far worse.Tevez has also done one-two things in the last month but you could say that he is leaving so he doesn’t have anything to fear anyway.And SAF not only got mad at him but he put him over Berbatov in his preferences.

  10. invertedquestionmark says:

    Where exactly did you see criticism apart from the big flashy tabloid headlines? Tevez said “I wanted” and “perhaps”. That’s all. Seriously, with analyses like this I would soon rather read the Sun than this blog.

  11. Scott the Red says:

    invertedquestionmark – Feel free to sod off and read The Sun then mate! :)

    I’ve never seen a player say “perhaps” the manager should have done this differently or “I wanted” to play but the manager didn’t play me. If you are OK with players saying things publicly which disagree with the manager, then that is up to you. I think it is 100% out of order and Tevez has been a gobby prick recently. Hush up or fuck off, Carlitos.

    Seriously, the guy came on for 45 minutes and did NOTHING… then has the balls to say things might have been different if he’d been on from the start. Hilarious.

    It’s nothing to do with money. He isn’t happy with the amount of time he’s had on the pitch this season. City will play him more than we will so he has a choice to make. If he chooses to go elsewhere and play more, then best of luck to him. Maybe he’ll be whinging to the press about the lack of trophies instead of the lack of game time though!

  12. Pat says:

    Ahh the english media! Gallas gets absolutely blasted for saying his teammates don’t show passion/heart and that they lack fighting spirit, but CR and Tevez criticize the best manager in English football and not a peep from the press. Arsenal fan.

  13. costas says:

    Pat,they love it when United players have a go at the manager.It sells.So naturally they are taking the players’ side on this.They are the ones giving them the headlines.The fact that the media are doing funeral services for a United team that won 3 trophies this season,speaks volumes about how much football they know.

  14. Sunny says:

    what does he think he is? 2 years at the club,2 league titles,1 champions league title and he is not greatful for that.He came to west ham and frankly he belongs there.i never liked the guy and i want him out.How dare he is critisizing SAF.He is a loaney and he was treated like a loaney.Barba,rooney,ronaldo,they are united player,he is not

  15. Kings says:

    How dare they fucking criticise the greatest Manager in public like that. In the words of Drogba: ‘It’s a fucking disgrace’. Whether they are right or wrong, they should keep their fucking mouths shut and keep their thoughts to themselves. I would dearly love them to stay, but if this is their way of engineering a move away, then fuck off! United are, and always will be bigger than any individual.

  16. corea says:

    @ Kings

    “Whether they are right or wrong”

    Manager is responsible for results. If Tevez feels he is right let him do the coaching himself, eh ?

  17. twinnyd says:

    fergie’s tactics were wrong imo.he shud have replaced giggs with scholes at half time just to give the midfield more shape and bite and let rooney be the striker and put cr7 on the wing to run at the little fuckers.we gave barca too much space in midfield and they punished us real badly.such is life.there will be more finals to come for United.all those fans blaming fergie for the defeat need to wake up or go support shitty or dippers.the team just didnt show up.i think ronnie’s comments weren’t too bad though.he just said that the tactics didnt work and the team didnt play well.which is very true.tevez on the other hand…one word…GET RID! if i was fergie i wud let him go to wherever he pleases.he’s always thinkin of present,the CL defeat is very bitter but on the flip side,it will give all the players especially those “stars” and the cocky fans a big kick up the will leave us alot hungrier.dont worry lads,barca were jus lucky.we’ll be back next year even stronger with who stays,comes or goes.i’ll enjoy fm09 in the meantime.

  18. Pat says:

    Its funny how some of you looked at Chelsea’s performance and thought it was going to be easy. I’m an Arsenal fan, but Hiddink is the greatest tactician around and I for one am happy he’s not staying any longer.

  19. enzo says:

    Didn’t read all the comments so I don’t know whether this has been said, but isn’t Ronaldo just building up to him leaving? If he starts a row he can leave and say he was forced out because the fans turned against him. I suspect we will hear a lot more of this type of comment over the next few months. As for Tevez well he knows he is not wanted and who can blame him for being bitter?

  20. FrankieAG says:

    SAF should be praised for what United have achieved this season, not criticised for falling short in one game against an outstanding side.

    The way I look at it, is that United came within 90 minutes of an unprecedented achievement of taking the EPL title, world club cup, League Cup and Champions League cup. And reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup playing a lot of youngsters. SAF did this with probable United’s strongest squad; but it was not United’s best ever starting 11.

    As United fans, we know that while we have a strong squad we do not yet have a fantastic starting 11. Some tweaking is required. SAF has often said he doesn’t know what his best team is: well, it’s time he found out. Over a league season a strong squad is indispensable for a long campaign, and for cup runs. United will have half a dozen really big games a season. It’s essential that the manager knows his best team and that the best team takes the pitch in those games. It is inconceivable that Guardiola would have left his attacking threats Eto’o and Henry on the bench in order to meet perceived threats from United. One or both of Berbatov and Tevez should have started for United.

    There is work to be done. This is my 10 point recommendation for producing United’s best starting 11 next season:

    1. Rooney must be played in his best position, as a second striker.
    2. Berbatov should be used in his best position which is as a central striker working in tandem with a second striker, as he did with Robbie Keane at Spurs. Properly used, Berbatov would clearly score as many goals as he did at Spurs. United create more chances than Spurs; and Rooney is a much better player than Keane.
    3.Pray that Owen Hargreaves fully recovers from his operations and returns to his very best form (eg for England in 2006 world cup).
    4. Use at least one holding midfielder (Hargreaves or Fletcher) in most games; and two of them in all the big games (eg against the Big Four and top sides in Europe).
    5. Give Danny Welbeck as much first team exposure (against the lesser premier league teams) as possible.
    6. Get a sports psychologist to help Vidic overcome the condition known as “the Torres Syndrome” (i.e, acute panic at the sight of world class forwards running at you, with pace).
    7. Use Anderson in his natural position as an attacking midfielder – he’s not a defensive midfielder; but please, please teach him how to shoot.
    8. Make a decision as to who your attacking midfielder(s) is/are and encourage them to get forward to score some goals. The contribution to the goal tally from the midfielders this season has been pitiable.
    9. Let your best players get used to playing with each other in their best positions. Part of the reason United fell apart at the seams against Barcelona is that when put under stress an unfamiliar team were unable to click into gear.
    10.Trust SAF.

  21. UnitedFan says:

    I think its time for ronaldo to go we shud get ribery while he is still available

  22. kennylad says:

    fergie needs to step on some heads before this gets out of hand. These two dick heads need to go if they carry on in this kind of media action.

  23. DanS says:

    On ya bike Tevez!

  24. invertedquestionmark says:

    Scott, yes, I am okay with Tevez saying “I wanted to play more”. Of course he does, he wouldn’t be in United in the first place if he didn’t. As for the second part – just imagine the conversation.

    Journalist: ‘You lost, suckers.’
    Tevez: ‘Yep, we did.’
    Journalist: ‘United started with only one forward. Do you think the end result might have been different if you had played up front from the beginning?’
    Tevez: ‘With a strategy more attacking in the first minute then perhaps the result would have been different.’

    Then translate it into English, remove the interviewee’s questions, tinker the end product a bit so that it looks as controversial as possible without the danger of a lawsuit, add a flashy headline – and there you go. The media uses the same approach to create news all the time – and with reactions like this you give them exactly what they want. It is called Moral Panics Theory, and it’s used to bolster the sales. Currently the trendy panics are Tevez and Ronaldo’s transfers and their questioning of Sir Alex’s tactics.

    And don’t forget that there are other players involved: the agents who want bigger deals. Footballers are not the brightest lads and are not that hard to manipulate, especially by those who have been taking care of them for the last five or ten years. But everybody realies on us, the fans, and the way we react to their stories and bluffs – if we don’t buy it, they’ll have to find something else to profit from.

    For me, at the end of the day it all comes down to this question: Will Sir Alex tolerate this behaviour? And the answer is, ‘No, he won’t.’ Just like he didn’t tolerate it with Keane, or Nistelrooy, or Beckham. When he decides the time to act is right, he will. And by demanding that he does something about it right now, you are the ones who are questioning Sir Alex’s decisions, not Tevez and Ronaldo.

    Two days after the final. One month until the Asia tour, two months until the Community Shield game. It’s going to be a long summer, as always.

  25. Scott the Red says:

    If Tevez wants to stay at our club, he needs to keep his mouth shut. No whinging every few days about much he’s played or talking about what the manager could do differently.

    If he wants off, then brilliant. See ya later. Slag the club off all you like and enjoy winning fuck all with City.

    Tevez should take a leaf out of Park’s book. He looks and sounds less like a United player with every passing week.

  26. kapti14 says:

    people just should stop questionning tactics. the truth is that we conceded from a bad header from carrick and vidic unable to deal with etoo. no tactics just mistakes.

  27. kapti14 says:

    so looks like tevez is going? do we buy a winger and promote macheda and wellbeck?

    or do we get a high profile striker?

  28. tracey says:

    People who don’t understand that bad tactics lead to players playing badly understand fuck all about football. And all those Tevez worshipping twats can fuck off to Argentina if they favour him over Fergie, he’s as self serving as the Portuguese.

  29. denton davey says:

    I’m also disappointed with Carlitos – not because he runs his mouth but because he’s not really improved since he was 18/19. As a teenager he seemed to be an incredible talent but he plateau-ed while others -Messi/Aguero – have continued to improve and elbowed him aside in the Argentine seleccion. Same applies to his club play – a fantastic talent as a kid but no significant improvement as he’s matured; in reality, he became the fourth striker at OT. When he signed for UTD I was delirious because I knew he wouldn’t cramp Rooney’s style and his first year was exciting but this year I’ve been more impressed with the deficiencies in his play – poor ball control/first touch. He’s still a terrific little player but he’s not taken the next step up the ladder to “world class”. So, I really don’t have much opinion – one way or the other – about his future: if he stays, he’s going to have to accept squad rotation; if he goes, he’s replaceable.

  30. ae80 says:

    i’m getting annoyed by tevez comments nowadays..although i like him much as a player..

  31. NickOGS20 says:

    invertedquestionmark – great comment, out of keeping with this place really.

  32. Scott the Red says:

    Nick – meeeowwww


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