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Reactions To Draw Against Benfica

1. Oh bore. Benfica are a good side but they’re not a great side. Why can’t we take out football to them? I completely appreciate the fact that United have got this European football malarky nailed on these days and a score draw away from home against the toughest side in the group is a decent result, but you can’t help but feel it’s 90 minutes of your life you won’t get back when the final whistle blows. Boring. After being blown away with all our performances this season, it was like stepping back in to 2010-2011 tonight. The line-up was uninspiring, as was our football, but with a bigger to play at the weekend, it’s fair enough.

2. Ander Lindegaard is the only one of the players rotated in that we haven’t had a good look at and he put in a great performance. There was nothing he could have done with the goal and made some top saves before and after that. He plays with confidence and after the slatings David de Gea has received in the press, will be trying to claim that #1 jersey. It didn’t matter how well he played tonight though, de Gea is our first choice and will rightly be between the sticks on Sunday.

3. In a contrast, a player we’ve seen a lot of, got us the point tonight. Ryan Giggs is now the only player to have scored in 16 Champions League seasons, even more than Raul on 15. His goal was brilliant. Took on a couple of players then smashed it past the keeper from outside the box. His general performance wasn’t anything to write home about but he got us what we needed.

4. You’ve got to wonder what the fuck is going on with Dimitar Berbatov. The manager insists he isn’t on his way out but how can you come to any other conclusion. He surely had to start tonight. Rooney was completely isolated up front by himself and there was no need to bring Chicharito on in the second half. Last season’s top scorer has repeatedly stated his desire to stay at the club but United clearly have other ideas. He’s on top wages and isn’t first choice but if they wanted rid, they should have forced a sale this summer. Maybe Berba refused to talk to any other clubs, so now Fergie is doing all he can to make him want to leave. My loyalty always lies with the manager but the treatment of Berba is pretty tacky and disappointing.

5. Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher did little to make that central midfield position their own. Anderson is a cert for the weekend but he’ll need someone to play alongside him now Tom Cleverley is injured. Fletch put in some good shifts against Scotland and after playing 90 minutes tonight, I can’t imagine he’ll be starting. Carrick was sloppy and doesn’t breed confidence. Hopefully he’ll pull a big performance out of somewhere on Sunday, if he is to start, although it wouldn’t be unimaginable for Park Ji-Sung to be given this role.

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. José McG says:

    1. I agree that the game as a spectacle was a let down, but I would of settled for a draw before the game and I’m happy with the result. Massive changes to Personnel and Formation but players rested for Sunday is more important in my mind. plus minutes on the clock for others who may be needed.

    2. Lindegaard, After pre-season I was wanting Fergie to start with Anders to give DDG time to settle and learn the language, this belief was strengthened following DDG’s initial performances. Anders is solid, but if DDG continues to settle and improve as he is, i think it won’t be long before everyone forgets the start he had to Manutd life.

    3. Giggs, The goal came from nowhere and was a cracker, but minutes earlier he gave the ball away on the defensive side of MF and it took sharp work from Valencia to prevent a goal scoring opportunity. As with the others minutes on the clock is a plus.

    4. Berba is not exactly an impact sub, so unless he starts I don’t see him being brought on, unless the game is dead and buried. I think he’s a massive talent but can understand fergie wanting to strengthen the partnerships of Rooney/Welbeck/Hernandez. (I note that rooney was a lone striker lasnite but think this was to look at 3 CMF players with sunday in mind.

    5. Fletch/Carrick, by the looks of this performance, neither are ready for sunday. but the plus I take from the game is the RESTING of Anderson. I can not remember the last time Ando was rested for an important game. Areal sign on his progression this season. As I expect 2 up top against Chelsea it should be easier for the CM players to pick a pass, that combined with the return of Nani and Young i’m quite excited.

    I can see Park playing in CMF with Ando on sunday.

  2. RedDevil4Lyfe says:

    What made carrick good at Spurs was when he played as a more attacking midfielder than a defensive one.
    And the thing is – It was Fletchers first game for Utd this season.
    Park and giggs played a bit in the last game.
    Carrick has played in 2 games or so already for Utd. So based on that he should be the sharpest in the mdifield that went out. Granted they were all lacking practise.

    As for Evans – I said when he concentrates he does amazing but he tends to lose his concentration a lot. Not only cause of the goal that was scored – it was a gr8 goal but for other parts of the game. Its happened a few times already this season and a few times the previous few seasons as well. Its a part of his game that he really needs to improve. Im hoping as he gets more games and more experience he will get better.

    Also i am not a carrick hater at all. Im just really pissed of at him after yesterdays performace. Iv often defended carrick in a number of forums saying his work goes un noticed (similar to Fletchers but Fletcher is more combative so we tend to notice him more) but yesterday i felt that Carrick really let the midfield down. his piss poor work rate made the rest of our midfield ineffective as a unit. Giggs was in the middle to be an attacking player. Valencia and Park were on the wings. Fletcher was the box to box runner. Carrick was supposed to be the glue gelling these units in midfield (Which Cleverly was doing really well) but he could not do it.

    @Lovin – I agree about our back up keeper. Lindgaard is gr8. I actually expected him to start this season cause he was terrific in the pre season games – pulled off amazing saves. I think he is a better GK than De Gea atm though De Gea may have the potential to be better in the long run – i dont know. Lindgaards concentration is fantastic and his ability to catch the ball is gr8. And he gives brilliant interviews. asked what he thought of the match he said “it was amusing” LOL.

  3. RedDevil4Lyfe says:

    @Jose – It will prolly be Carrick with Ando on Sunday. Because of the play style. Unless Fergie decides to put in Fletcher to destroy and ando gets permission to push up more.

    Backline im sure we will need Jones. I love him. He is amazing. He came on and provided a few great crosses and a lung bursting run into the Penalty box as well. He is NOT 19 im sure.

    Would like to see Rio and Jones in the center of defence for us.

  4. José McG says:

    I say park as he’s prob the best option of a Like for like replacement for what cleverly offers, Ando can defend and attack so can cleverly, we need both CMs to break when attacking and Defend when necessary, thats why we’v been so good.

    Come to think of it, 4.5 of the goals at bolton came when cleverly was taken off for Carrick, therefore I agree Carrick will prob start against Chelsea.

  5. Ironbrand says:,19528,11667_7178062,00.html

    Eagerly waiting for this. Berbatov rocks! Just hope he’s paired right and in a nice formation

  6. mahadev says:

    Lindegaard – handling top class. kicking suspect. distribution poor. de Gea is already better than him in the last 2 departments and will be better than him in the handling too within a year or too once he bulks up a bit and takes command of his area.

    Berba – :(

  7. King Eric says:

    John Tring – Cunts like you make me sick. You aint a fucking “supporter”. Park over the hill? Yeah course he is you little mug. And once again us fans that defend players against idiots who provide no reasoning to their shit comments are the bad men. Half you cunts criticising will have never even been to a game. Much like Jayunited who called me a fakefan last night yet lives at the other side of the world while I make most games. No offence to those that cant go but just this prick calling me a fakefan. You couldnt make this shit up. This new brand of United “fan” is disgusting. Nuff fucking said.

  8. T4M says:

    Berba will get his games no doubt.You complain about berba but what about kiko?diouf?owen?gibbo?PIG? They haven’t gotten games too so pls stop the whinging berba isn’t the only man on the bench.its a credit to our depth that a player of his quality can’t get a game yet.

  9. WillieRedNut says:

    You’ve got some issues John Tring. You seem frustrated lad. I propose this: Go get lets of porn mate. Go to town on that mother fucker! Don’t stop until all that teenage angst is out of your system. Make sure you have plenty of kleenex handy.

  10. mahadev says:

    @T4M none of those players were the joint top scorers the previous year or in fact a regular member of the starting 11.

  11. lordrt says:

    Saw this photo of Ando on Pies website, looks like he’s on something high lol:

  12. T4M says:

    Berba will get games.we’re just 5 games into the new season.potentially 60 more to go.plenty games to go around

  13. RedDevil4Lyfe says:

    Mahadev – if u want to say De Gea is better use more abilities to differentiate then just picking and choosing 3

    Concentration – Lindgaard
    Handling – Lindgaard
    Command of Area – Lindgaard
    Aerial ability – Lindgaard
    Shot stopping – Dea Gea
    Confidence- De Gea
    Distribution – De Gea
    Kicking – De Gea
    Rushing out of box – De Gea
    Closing Down – Lindgaard

    So those are 10 aspects iv put up there. People can/will add more or argue about twhat iv put down and give their own input as they want. its upto them. 5-5 for them both. But from a keeping point Lindgaard seems better and from a sweeper point De Gea is better. if we could merge them to make Anders De Gea then it would be great

  14. RedDevil4Lyfe says:

    @claytonblackstan –
    First up – I heard clayton blackmore had a fantastic tan. Googled it – i lolled.
    Secondly – spot on with ur assessment of all the players. Couldnt agree more.

    U left out mentioning the subs. I was clamouring for Fergie to put in Jones. I agree with Surreal football that Jones is god. and also he is not 19. Can any1 make a song for Jones that asks him if he is 19? (Lol i msg him every day on twitter asking if he is 19)

    So what u say about the subs?

    my views

    Nani – Looked sharp and hungry and wanted to get on with the game. needed more time to feel his way in.

    Chico – Largely missing after his arrival as he din’t get much service and was being closed down quickly by Benfica defence. Wasn’t used very effectively.

    Jones – this guy is just a gun. he is. Comes on and looked the best player. Sent it a few deadly crosses and a gr8 run.

    Our right side had all fresh players in the closing stages (JONES —> Nani —-> Chico) and they should have done more together. But oh well.

    And about the game – i really did not find it boring. I actually thought it was quite a good game with both sides trying their hands at it.

  15. Balaji Sivaraman says:

    @RedDevil4Lyfe, Interesting comparison. I will agree with a lot of what you said. As I posted before, all of us would ideally want Anders De Gea ( ;) ). The key thing we’re missing here is De Gea has the age advantage over Lindegaard. So, he has a lot more scope to improve and become a truly beast of a goalkeeper. We will be kidding ourselves if we say that De Gea is not pencilled in as the NO. 1 over a long term future. But leaving all comparisons aside, the reality is that we have two world-class goalkeepers competing for the NO. 1 spot. Right now, the competition will remain healthy and both will get their chances as will Amos, so we can all be happy that we are truly spoilt for choices in all departments thanks to Sir Alex.

  16. Costas says:

    Carrick stll getting bashed? Lol. Get over it.

  17. Dragonslayer says:

    Man Utd playing against Benfica was not really something to watch if we expect the team to perform like what they did in BPL. From what I see from SAF reaction, he was not even concern if we are not performing well, he was happy to settle with a draw. Perhaps having that team played was just to test out our B team. We are convinced that our team has the depth to play and win in style as how Utd win in the preseason and BPL. But perhaps it was a total different issue. The A team played another style compared to our B team. In fact, the gameplay was quite similar to when our squad are hampered by injury. This shows a problem, we need to retain our A team. B team still need a lot of polishing. Changing too many players at one time may change our gameplay.

    Benfica has been playing much better considering they have given us more threatening attacks than what we gave back to them. I don’t wish to comment on how our players played against Benfica but if SAF intend to keep our new style of playing for a long time to come, either the senior players need to step up and adapt to it or they might face with probability of not getting chance of playing.

  18. RedDevil4Lyfe says:

    @Balaji – i agree with u

  19. King Eric says:

    willie – Quality mate. Nice one pal.

  20. King Eric says:

    IronBrand – “It feels good to bash Carrick”, Whys that then pal?

  21. mara says:

    hehehehehe Real M was at our stadium yesterday. We lost 0:1. Last 10 minutes, they were in their box. They thought we are shit, but we could get a draw. Ronaldo couldnt do anything. We lost, but played very well.

  22. Scott 4 Life says:

    carrick is shite he needs to be replaced. one of the worst holding midfielders in the premier league shudnt be playing for united..

  23. bayobuya says:

    Carrick is under a microscope from fans folks even count the number of times he touches the ball before he passes. The whole midfeild didnt do well yesterday but we dont hear about how Park for example touched the ball how many times while looking for spaces to pass. Poor Carrick!!!
    IMO he would have done better if he had Anderson alongside him. And lets not forget he is not getting any younger 30. Even Rooney admittted that it helps to play with the young players who have greater movemet and therefore offer more options.

  24. WillieRedNut says:

    @Scott 4 life

    Give it a rest mate.


    Cheers pal!

  25. EDCUNITED1878 says:

    People who consistently slag Carrick probably slagged Anderson and Berbatov many times before.

    Of all the players who SAF has bought since 2005, Carrick has had to make the most change a la Scholes. Carrick’s career at Spurs then at United began farther up the pitch. His technical skill, quick thinking and passing ability is very good closer to goal….this was something very instrumental when United won the league in 06/07.

    But Carrick has slowly dropped farther on the pitch, become a holding midfielder allowing the fullbacks to go forward and the wingers to play a free role or make runs towards the middle of the pitch.

    Remember the Roma Champions League match at Old Trafford where Carrick scored two cheeky goals???? That’s his apex role, but now it’s keep it clean, provide cover and distribute from the back.

    Go on Michael Carrick, do your thankless job.

  26. Ritesh says:

    Hah I see some of you are bashing Carrick, lol am not a fan of his but still I believe he has an important role to play in the team, and this is why SAF decided to start him instead of Anderson. May be he needs to be played more as an attacking midfielder instead of a defensive one, and from there he can win the hearts of many :D
    The real let down for me in this game was Rooney, he seemed to completely lost between the Benfica players, yet, I also give some fault about this to the 4-5-1 formation, United never really adapted to that, it has been always the classical 4-4-2 or now the 4-4-1-1 formation which rocks, and I believe it should be brought back on Sunday. If we can handle the “lady” Torres and his “man” Mata, then am sure we’ll be in for a comfortable win

  27. King Eric says:

    Willie – No worries pal. Now I really am getting fucking sick of this Carrick bashing. Leave the fucking lad alone. No Gibbo or Sheasy to pick on you fucking bandwagon jumping cannot think for yourself cunts. (You know who you are). Answer me this and I will shut up. ” If he is that shit why does Fergie keep picking him”. Go on you clever cunts, answer that?

  28. Costas says:


    Great post. Some much needed perspective in here.


    I believe that question has been asked already in here by you and me with no response. In terms of appearances over the last 5 seasons, Carrick tops the list. How shite…

  29. Denise Williams says:

    Can anyone enlighten me as to why we have seven strikers on our books when Fergie very clearly is only interested in three of them. There have been a lot of complaints about Berba’s treatment which I would wholeheartedly agree with. However Owen is also getting a very raw deal. Personally I have my doubts as to whether Macheda and Diouff are really good enough but they do at least get games in the reserves but Berba and Owen are not getting any football at all. Yet if and when he does play them he will expect absolute brilliance and nothing less. Well my question has to be is that really fair bearing in mind he has treated both as though they do not even exist. To me this is grossly unfair and they are too good as players to be totally ignored.

  30. Vilhelm28 says:

    A typical away game in CL. Worrying is Uniteds backups in the center of the field (Carrick and Fletcher) It’s shocking how large the drop off is from Cleverly/Ando to Carrick/Fletch. A true testament to Clev/Ando. Let’s hope clev stays healthy when he gets back and that Ando is healthy for the duration of the season.

    is it only me or do Fabio and Rafael need to step it up this season… To me it seems like both Smalling and Jones are pretty far ahead of them both defensively and offensivley.

  31. RedDevil4Lyfe says:

    I dont know about U ppl talking about carrick bashers and carrick lovers or trying to defend a pot noodle (in the immortal words of the special1tv Jose) but Carrick was gobshit yesterday. His passing was off. His running was non existant. he was totally out of it.

    Dont just come on here to defend players cause u think its ur right as a utd supporter to defend him. Dont just come on here trying to label everyone thinking ur smart. dont say “oh these ppl bashing carrick are the ones that bashed anderson and berba” (ur forgetting Nani as well) – thats not true.

    Some of us who are here bashing carrick are doing it from objective reasons after having watched pretty much every minute of most of utds games for the past 20 odd years. (yes im a bit sad like that – no i dont go out on saturday night if a utd game is on. no i don’t need to go out and get laid, no i dont need to wank off and no im not gay {tho im sure gay ppl need to get laid/wank off as well})

    So stop trying to think ur cool when u talk about bashers – calling ppl glory supporters (especially when a few of us have supported man utd even be4 u were born and when the team just recruited this guy called Eric Cantona)

    Try to be objective in ur defence like u ask people to be objective in their criticism.

    So now tell me Carrick lovers – what has carrick done last game and the past season to be defended so vehemently? If he was a youngster or someone lacking EPL experience u can forgive 2 seasons of inadequecy – even 3 – but Carrick has the experience so he really doesn’t have much excuse.


    @Smartalex – i know u love the carrick bashing mate :D

  32. RedDevil4Lyfe says:

    and saying if he is shit why does fergie keep picking him doesnt really hold a candle – remember we had ppl like Kleberson and Djemba Djemba play at utd! And Bosnich was GK for a whole season wasn’t he?
    Even Veron the amazing player – who just could not kick it at Utd..

    Fergie gets em wrong sometimes. its ok. as much as we like to think he is god he will make some mistakes. Hell he will admit it to u himself if u ask him.

    And whoever bashed sheasy was stupid. He was a great squad player for utd.

    Gibbo on the other hand – well he has to move on

  33. jayunited says:

    @king eric i see you are childish and love insulting those you don’t feed..i thought i made myself clear and said sorry but then you aint got no class as the great costas,willie,cedar and balaji who i respect and lost my respect.

  34. Costas says:

    So Fergie has been making a mistake with Carrick for 6 seasons? Because I vividly remember that Veron, Djemba and Kleberson didn’t last half as long at United.

    I don’t have a problem with someone saying Carrick was shite yesterday. It’s wrong, but it’s an opinion. Using Carrick’s performance yesterday as a way to crap all over his United career is assinine. Long serving players deserve better than that, even if they are not as good as they once were. Or if their role has changed (the latter applies to Carrick, the former to O’Shea). I never felt cool defending United players. That’s my obligation as a fan. And they all have my support until the manager feels that their contribution is over.

    As for Carrick, last night was he played the role that he’s played in the last couple of years. Shielding the back 4 and keeping the ball moving. It’s not pretty, but that’s his job. He will never get any credit for it, but that’s why he gets picked. Does he move the ball forward? Yes if he sees movement. Did the midfield and forwards offer options for him yesterday? Not a lot and Benfica’s pressing can take credit for that. We are not playing alone…


    If you said sorry, I’m ok with that mate. My 2 cents on the matter is not to judge any player after just 6 games. And that applies to those that have started the season poorly, as well as those that have started the season on fire.

  35. WillieRedNut says:

    Well said Costas! They try to camouflage their intent, but fail miserably. I’ve been critical of Carrick and Berbatov in the past. All for people voicing their opinions, but that’s not the point here. As we all know.

  36. Balaji Sivaraman says:

    @Costas, Top post. I think a lot of that has to do with the unfortunate injuries to both Hargreaves and Fletcher. Without both of those, we did not have a solid defensive mid-fielder in our team and with no youngsters breaking through, Sir Alex looked to the only remaining experienced head he had in his team. Over the past few years, Carrick has definitely been transformed from a once-Cleverley type player to a more traditional sweeping role as others have pointed out.

    Had any of those been perfectly fit over Carrick’s recent seasons, we would’ve seen a different type of Michael. Unfortunately for him, he has been asked to a do a job by the Boss and is reaping the just rewards in the form of poisonous hating from people who should be thankful of the performances he has put in multiple absences. I wonder how the same people would’ve reacted if Carrick had whined about not being able to play in his favorite position like a few others have done.

  37. RedDevil4Lyfe says:

    @Costas some people on these forums need to learn from you on how to talk to others in forums.
    Ur points are well taken. I agree that Carricks task was to shield the back 4 (as has been his job at Utd which was not his job at Spurs)

    And Carrick was good for a number of those years he has been at Utd (never great – never the midfield destroyer like Roy Keane) but he went about doing his job – unselfishly and without any praise from supporters. But last season and towards the latter part of the previous one his form has started to fade. And this season he hasn’t been doing well – but like u said only what 5 games (6 with comm shield) in so u can’t judge them.

    Anyways iv said it for a while that I wasn’t happy with his performance yesterday – yes he did break a few passes but he also did not defend really well either and he gave the ball away with poor passing a lot of times in yesterdays game.

    Defending a Utd player is all good and that but if they don’t play well – u/we have the right to voice ur/our opinion regardless of what u may think about that opinion. But i do think people just coming on and going this guy sucks or this guy sucks is a bit immature – but then same can be said for some people who need to abuse others and question their fan status because their opinion is different than their. But then again someone once said “an opinion is not a right” ei?

    I’m done with this thread – will move on to a new one. I hope people learn how to talk to each other on forums. Sad that some people need to try to get their point accross by using insults.

  38. Costas says:


    Thanks, although at times I am also guilty of losing my patience and resorting to sarcasm. Not insults mind you because they lose their luster and it feels like a penis measuring contest after a while. I appreciate the civilized response.

    What really gets on my nerves is what you said about fans coming here and randomly saying “x player sucks, he always has”. I’ve never had an issue with fans saying “he was crap last night”. I might not agree, but I accept that we have different opinions on said player’s performance. Or, I might actually agree about the player being crap. I just prefer not to single out anyone in particular. The only time I’ve done it was when I felt a player was falsely accused. For example, Evans getting the blame for Pat’s poor positioning against Arsenal.

    Anyway, we’ll see what this season has in store for Carrick. No denying that Tom and Ando started brilliantly, but what a player to have waiting in the wings.

  39. smartalex says:

    RedDevil4Lyfe says “Sad that people need to try to get their point accross by using insults”

    RedDevil4Lyfe also said ” Carrick was shit ” and ” his passing was gobshit. Gave the ball away so many fucking times!” and ” im just sick and tired of him and his useless play. No energy. no creativety. No drive. No passion.” and ” his piss poor work rate made the rest of our midfield ineffective” and “Carrick was gobshit”

    RedDevil4Lyfe also said “@Smartalex – i know u love the carrick bashing mate”

    This is not true! I hate the carrick bashing!

  40. King Eric says:

    Costas – Cheers mate. Well said. Clearly some know better than Fergie it would seem.

  41. King Eric says:

    Edcunited1878 – I second what Costas said, top post fella.

  42. Costas says:


    “Once-Cleverley type player to a more traditional sweeping role”

    I think that’s a great way of putting it mate. There have been times over the last couple of seasons where I wondered why it’s usually Carrick and Fletcher or Carrick and Ando and not Fletcher-Ando. There has to be something about his current role that Fergie likes. Especially in european games where we slow down our tempo. And no doubt that Carrick is 5 years older now, but I have to believe that Carrick’s current role is a product of Fergie’s tactics and not a product of him regressing.


    I guess the question is who’s next. O’Shea was the main scapegoat last season. Carrick, Gibbo and Berba don’t have a lot of seasons left at United, so who will be Mr Popular in the seasons to come? :) Tom? Danny?

  43. King Eric says:

    RedDevil4Lyf – Fuck you. I am sick of folk like you having a pop at lads like me and Kings and Costas who support the team and players unconditionally. Its called “Support”. Summat folk like you know fuck all about. There is nowt wrong with constructive criticism but its wankers like you that just say “Carrick was shit” or “I felt sick when Carrick came on”. Seriously pal have you ever been around when United had it tough? I bet not. These modern day glory fans are disgusting. Curl up and die somewhere you cunt.

  44. King Eric says:

    Bosnich was keeper for a whole season? Whoo. Carrick is now in his 6th season now. But for him we wouldnt have got to the last three Champions League Finals we have appeared in. He was instrumental in all three. Try to be objective in our defence? Thats exactly what we are. He sits infront of the back four, covers for the full backs, intercepts, spreads play, breaks up play, great reader of the game.

    NRD nailed it yesterday when he said that its only when you watch him in the flesh you appreciate his talents, in particular his positioning and reading of the game.

    RedDevil4Lyfe – I take back some of that other post, it was a bit strong and I wouldnt wish death on any United “fan”.

  45. King Eric says:

    jayunited – I didnt see that post, just seen it now. Fair enough pal.

  46. King Eric says:

    Costas – Top post at twenty five past six buddy. Spot on.


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