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Fergie: Shinji Could Have Won Us The Game If I Didn’t Sub Him

Sir Alex Ferguson has conceded that Manchester United could have beaten West Ham earlier this week if he hadn’t subbed off Shinji Kagawa.

Kagawa had made our first equalising goal with a lovely bit of skill before his goalbound shot was deflected and then came off the woodwork to set up Robin van Persie for our second equaliser.

The manager has today talked about why he made the substitutions he did and conceded that taking Kagawa off was a mistake.

“As far as taking Rooney off the other night, it was simple: he wasn’t playing as well as Shinji was. In so many games Wayne is better than most players but on the night Shinji was playing so well,” Ferguson explained. “The ironic thing was, when we were chasing a goal with 14 minutes left, I decided to put Chicharito on and Shinji made the second goal. I’d already given the fourth official the card, Chicha was standing on the touchline and then we scored the second goal. I think if I’d have changed my decision then we would have won it. Shinji was doing really well but unfortunately he came off. Chicha came on simply because you always think he’ll get a chance in the game. At that point we wanted to win it and you make decisions like that that maybe are not fair.”

Ferguson praised Kagawa, whose progress this seson has been damaged by a long-term injury, with him settling in to the team better now.

“He’s doing very well for us now,” Ferguson added. “He has fantastic composure on the ball and his decision-making is good. He has a good selection of passes; he seems to always pick the more sensible pass. And he made a terrific first goal. There were a few involved in that build-up but he had the composure to take the player on in a tight area and roll the ball to Valencia for a tap-in. He’s doing very well.”

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. danielandthebus says:

    People need to recognise what Shinji brings to the team if they haven’t already

  2. Joffrey Baratheon says:

    Well at least Fergie realises it was a mistake. I’d love to know how Kagawa has settled in to life in Manchester. I know he didn’t speak any English when he first came here and traditionally but not always Japanese people tend to be more shy than us as a nation so it must have been a bit daunting for him. I rate the guy highly. He slotted into Dortmund side so well and shone frequently. It’s a completely different style at United and Fergie hasn’t quite figured out where best to play him yet. I really hope next season he get’s more starts and gets a free role playing as the deeper striker rather than having to come in from the left all the time.

  3. kelvinchanpw says:

    all i want is, shinji kagawa, shinji kagawa

  4. cho- cho says:

    Shinji should play the no10 role and move Rooney out to the left.Rooney looking out of sorts maybe sometime on the wing will be good for him.Shinji will shine in no10 role always looks like he has a lot of tome on the ball.

  5. jeffkenyanred says:

    Atleast the great manacknowledges that he made amistake,first if kagawa was playing well which he was actually doing, why on earth did he even think of taking him off at first,simple my blame goes back to his righthand man who cant stand up & tell him he is about to make awrong substitution.No manager can & never will there be one to come close to what the greatman has done but his decisions sometimes make one bitter.

  6. WeAreUnited says:

    I have said it many times before,

    BUILD the team around Kagawa, add Zaha, Rooney, RVP, Nani (possibly sold) and then buy Iker Muniain to be our “Götze” and then 1-2 CM’s.

    add academy players, Powell, Tunnicliffe, Daehli, Januzaj, Perreira, Petrucci.

    then we have Carrick and Cleverley + possibly Ando who I believe will be sold, Fletcher who maybe can’t make it anymore? Scholesy who will retire? And Giggsy who’s the perfect left winger, but not a CM.

    it’s looking good brothas, we have so many “young” player with experience.

    Can’t wait for the next year!


  7. Manutdlife says:

    I can only agree with the above statement. There is plenty of talent in the academy. Plus why is the current UTD not having a 1st 11 like it used to be? Why are we playing a slow sucker ass game? Why is Fergie getting the substitution game wrong? Why isnt Manutd killing off games? Why are we complacent? Where are our wingers?

  8. dev says:

    They don’t say he’s here to sell shirts now eh.

  9. Marq says:

    So… Once the card has been given to the official, it can’t be reversed even if the player hasn’t come off yet? What if there was an injury just before that? I don’t buy that you can’t stop the change

  10. Happy Devil says:

    If Fergie played Kagawa instead of Nani for the Real game at OTwe would be rubbing our palms for the semis. Must have been disappointing for Shinji particularly after his hat trick against Norwich.

  11. GFS says:

    I would like to see Rooney, Kagawa and Nani all play at the same time with Cleverly behind them…


    I’d bet you we would score a goal or two with this line up hahahaha

  12. calebkzh says:

    Excited to see what he brings to the table next season, or rather, excited to see where in the table he will bring us, as he settles in!

  13. Sunny says:

    @WeAreUnited: To the point post – love how you listed the youth, this is how we do it at United: Buy young, mould them in our system. Chelski and Shitty splash the cash and get superficial loyalty.


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