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Reactions To The Draw With Real Madrid

1. From about ten minutes in to yesterday’s game I was clock-watching at a rate I would usually expect in the last five minutes of a game, with United being dominated at the Bernabeu and Real Madrid looking as though they would score any minute. The defence were doing a decent enough job, David de Gea was at his best, but we still looked shaky and faced wave after wave of Real Madrid on the attack. To leave the Bernabeu with a point after not buckling under the pressure we were put under by the likes of Ronaldo, Ozil and Di Maria, was great. If I was to be slightly more optimistic, I’d say we probably should have won the game with the chances we had in the second half through Van Persie and Giggs, so you know your team is doing something right if a draw there leaves you satisfied, rather than ecstatic. We got the away goal we craved and ensured that we take the advantage to Old Trafford. Brilliant.

2. When the starting XI was announced, the only player to raise a few eyebrows was Danny Welbeck, who hasn’t been a regular starter for us in the league. The local boy, who some United fans claim isn’t good enough, did more than enough to justify his inclusion, and was probably our best player on the night. He took his goal so well, getting the better of Sergio Ramos from a Wayne Rooney corner, and left Diego Lopez with no chance. Seeing him wheel away in celebration was brilliant to watch. This lad from Longsight, who grew up kicking a ball on the streets with his neighbours Wes and Reece Brown, had just put United ahead at the Bernabeu. It doesn’t get much bigger than that and I’m sure it will be a night he will never forget. Welbeck is living our dream and I was delighted for him. Of course, it wasn’t just the goal though. Welbeck was good in possession, ran at the Real Madrid defence, and repeatedly provided an option for our players going forward. He’s only 22, lest we forget, so hopefully those who have been whinging about him not being United standard will keep quiet for a while now. “He was marvellous,” said the manager after the game. “It is a pity he got cramp at the end of game, but he worked so hard. They found it difficult to handle him.”

3. The only other player who could rival Welbeck for our best performer is David de Gea, who put on a brilliant show, making incredible saves with his hands and feet. The best of the night came from Coentrao with just a few minutes on the clock. Somehow he managed to get his finger tips to a goal-bound shot and touch it on to the post. To go a goal behind at such an early stage would have been devastating but that wasn’t the only time he kept us in the game. In the second half, Coentrao probably thought he’d scored again, until De Gea got a boot to the ball at waist-height. I’m not entirely sure why he didn’t use his hands but whatever gets the job done is fine by me! “De Gea was excellent,” Ferguson said. “He made three or four top saves. He has been improving all season. There was one save in the first half which he touched onto the post which was superb. I am pleased for him. He is an Atlético boy playing here in Madrid, but he has done well.”

4. Another player who deserves to be singled out for praise is Phil Jones, who, whilst not quite snuffing Cristiano Ronaldo out the game, kept to him closely enough when called upon. With a few minutes left to play Ronaldo had the ball at his feet a few yards out and Jones threw himself in the way to protect the goal. He has repeatedly claimed that he wants to play at centre half but it looks more and more likely that he will settle in midfield. He certainly found it easier keeping Bale and Fellaini quiet in recent weeks but he did a commendable job at the Bernabeu, marking one of the best players in the world at just 20-years-old.

5. Cristiano Ronaldo took his goal well, seeming to levitate in the box when the cross came in, just as he did when scoring in the European Cup final for United against Chelsea. Of course, the task was made a lot easier for him without any physical presence from Patrice Evra, who was rooted to the spot for some reason. There’s no way Evra would have been able to outjump Ronaldo but putting pressure on him and challenging him for the ball might have been enough to put him off at least! Ronaldo, as expected, was respectful with his celebration, and any hope of the night being too “emotional” for him to perform was, as I expected, wishful thinking.

6. Rafael da Silva had a torrid time in the first half with Ronaldo and Ozil forcing their way past him time and again. He was booked just before half time and you had to wonder whether Ferguson would make a change to save us from what looked like a red card in the making. Chris Smalling, who is speedy enough, could have been preferred to him for the second half, particularly with his advantage of height, but the manager stuck with our Brazilian and it paid off. Whilst some newspaper reports have summed up Rafael’s night with a rating of 3 or 4, it should be noted that he got a grip of the game in the second half. We should also remember that 22-year-old Rafael was given the task of handling Coentrao and Ronaldo pretty much by himself at times, with Ozil sometimes swapping sides with Ronaldo to join in on the act. I can’t imagine there are too many right-backs who would have done a much better job. Let’s not forget that highly rated Pablo Zabaleta had a mare for City when he came on at the Bernabeu earlier this season, allowing Ronaldo on to his right foot to score the injury time winner. It was a footballing lesson for our youngster last night and I’m sure he will be all the better for it.

7. One reason for Rafael’s exposure was Rooney’s contribution, or lack of it, particularly in the first half. It was as if he didn’t really know where he was meant to be playing. He seemed to work hard enough, sprinting here and there, but it was his man who delivered the cross for the opening goal after he got nowhere near tight enough to Di Maria. His usual partner in crime, Robin van Persie, will be even more disappointed with his display. An early booking and escaping a possible red card after deliberate handball, didn’t help his cause, but it was missing that sitter in the second half that really summed his game up. After controlling the ball so well he just had to put his foot through it to score, but miskicked and watched it harmlessly bobble towards the line before being cleared. You’d expect him to score chances like that every day of the week. Still, hopefully that frustration will inspire him to do better in the home leg, when you imagine we will need at least two goals to go through.

8. Michael Carrick saw more of the ball than any of our players and covered the most distance. He quietly goes about his business but is so effective at calming our midfield. It would be harsh to expect him to boss the Real Madrid midfield but he certainly wasn’t punching above his weight. Only Ozil (46) and Khedira (44) completed more passes than Carrick (40) last night, and Khedira was the only player on the park who was more accurate with his passing.

9. “Footballing reasons” keep Rio Ferdinand out of the England set up, according to Roy Hodgson. It’s bizarre that Sir Alex Ferguson, the greatest manager this country has ever seen, believes Ferdinand is good enough to face the stars of Real Madrid, but Hodgson doesn’t fancy him enough to even include him in the England squad which will face San Marino in March. It’s all becoming fairly embarrassing for Hodgson, particularly given that Rio played a blinder. Jonny Evans stepped up to the plate too, showing how much he has improved over the past few years.

10. All in all, we have to be happy with that result and performance, which was the first real test for this team. After failing to get out of the group last season and signing a few new players, there were several lads out there last night who’d never played in a Round of 16 game for us, and none of them have faced Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid before. Ferguson said before the game it would be an “acid test” for them and whilst we didn’t pass with flying colours, it was pleasing to see how rigidly our players are capable of sticking to tactics and working so hard as a unit. They will be absolutely knackered today after giving it their all for 90 minutes, so it’s a relief we don’t have to face a strong team this weekend. You assume we will see a lot of rotation to give the XI from last night a rest. The lads did themselves proud though, showing they are ready to compete with the best, and I can’t wait for the second leg!


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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. The Left Bank says:

    It was an excellent game all around and we have every chance of going through on the second leg.

  2. MyCowIsTheBest says:

    guys read this you will crack LOL

    how on earth can this cheap publication become a major news provider

  3. MyCowIsTheBest says:

    I am re-pasting this gem here

    Never thought Marca is this stupid. Wonder how they got so popular

  4. MyCowIsTheBest says:

    aww Scott please delete my first comment on this thread. It was a mistake. And this one too. Thank you. :)

  5. WeAreUnited says:

    Scott I think you nailed it with the reactions.

    I also have thought and certainly SAF also did on this question.. what was Evra doing just standign there? I understand that Cristiano jumped really high, but a bit of pressure and he couldn’t head it so easily,

    Juts look at Evans, who denied him a clear header. Patrice Evra did a good job, but should be ashamed. Even though my example is a bit worst, It’s like Roberto Carlos against France, just standing when Zidane crossed the ball and he let Henry slip and watched when he scored and France went to the finals.

    An experient player like Evra should atleast jump or something. Not bashing or anything, but just wondering. He’s a different player compared to last season, b tu still, you expect a bit more.
    The truth though is, it was against CR7 and it’s a bit harder than some english player playing for Derby County.

  6. LoneStarRed says:

    This result will give us confidence in the EPL . We can really build off this result.

  7. Robin van Gora says:

    Now i hope that was the platform danny needed to become a great player. He was incredible.

  8. StatesideAussie says:

    Good write-up. De Gea was outstanding. Yes, saving that shot with his foot instead of his hands was odd. He does like to use his feet, though, and fortunately seems to have the foot-eye coordination and the skill to do it.

    Rafael had the toughest job on the park. I’m with STR — I don’t get the criticism he’s copped. Rafael has improved so much and is now getting close to the finshed article, and it’s time for the whingers and doubters and nay-sayers to shut the fuck up. Especially those on there who have given him (and the other youngsters so much stick). Rafael will have taken so much away from this match, and it will make him an even better player in future.

    Just to be provocative: I wonder if some on here would classify RVP’s scuffed shot as a “sitter” and I wonder what they would have said if Berbatov had done that, not RVP? (It’s OK, folk, I love ‘em both and yes, RVP is much better player for us than the Berb; indeed, I think he is the player that SAF hoped the Berb would be. And those who have seen my comments about the Berb when he was here, know I wouldn’t say that lightly. Nevertheless, RVP will be kicking himself over THAT shot.)

    CR7 is a beast. I know a lot of folk like Messi better, but I’ll take CR7 any day.

    I hope SAF lets Jones settle into the midfield, gives him some time there. I know some on here disagree but I always felt he was too young to be typecast. Yes, he came to us a centrehalf. Yes, he himself says he prefers that position. But then again, at the same age as Jones is now, Evra was a centre-forward; he ony became a left-back after his coach told him it was that or nothing. And at the same age, Drogba didn’t even start daily football training until he was an adult, and didn’t pursue a pro career until he was 21. Jones is only just about to turn 21. He has plenty of time. He will grow into a great player whatever position he ends up in, but I think he has what it takes to become a midfield colossus.

    I am not sure why STR thinks RVP’s “deliberate handball” was a possible red card. By definition, a handball must be deliberate, or it’s not a handball. And with one exception, the standard penalty for a handball is a free kick (no card). That one exception is when a player denies “the opposing team a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball”. In other words, if you prevent a goal by sticking out a hand to clear the ball off the line, that would be a red card. I don’t see how RVP’s offence fell into that category.

    The return match should be great! I reckon we’ll go through. Cheers lads!

  9. Hans says:

    Everybody was today talking about great result, but I still believe, based on the chances that we had, we should have won the match! Yes most stats flatter them, but who cares, our defence, as it should, dealt with them. The only proper chance they had was the one that deGea saved with his feet. The rest were all long distance shots that you expect lads to deal with.

    It was worrying when we gave the ball away cheaply and needlessly, or getting into trouble with bad decision making.

    Real’s League away form has been terrible. Let’s hope they bring it to OT on March 5th. In any case we should go through this time.

  10. parryheid says:

    I thought the team played great,no bad game by any of them.Only thing that bothered me was we didn’t get the win but no matter were going through anyway.

  11. Hans says:

    From Marca:

    On all four occasions when Real Madrid drew the first leg of a European tie 1-1, it went on to be knocked out. The curse began in the semi-final match against Bayern Munich in the 75-76 season

    May this tradition long continue!!!!!!

  12. denton davey says:

    StateSideAussie – the bouncer that RVP sent toward goal WAS a sitter; he should have hit it hard and low. You’re right that it was Dimmy-esque AND overall he’s been a bit of a passenger the last few matches. He should do better – I would have taken him off and brought Chicharito rather than the Rooney/Anderson swap.

    Scott – don’t be so harsh on CaptainEvra. He slipped which was why he was in no position to challenge CR7 and, even if he hadn’t slipped, Ronaldo was better positioned AND six inches taller. Besides, why was the passer afforded so much time/space to cross the ball from the wing, pretty-much unchallenged -that’s where the real defensive breakdown occurred. If you are going to dole out blame for that goal then it would be 20% Evra BUT 80% for TheWayneBoy and LittleRedRafa who combined to lose their men.

  13. Gaffer says:

    Your summary Scott is spot on. Why on earth cant any paper write stuff like that?
    Think though you got a lot of respect for Real, and Im expecting more accurate passes and even improved performance comes 5. march.

    Cant wait either.

  14. Che Guevarist says:

    United have 3 games until the replay (2 at home, 1 away)
    Real have 4 games until the replay (2 home, 2 away). The interesting thing is that the 2 games Real play right before coming to OT are against-yep you guessed it-Barcelona.

    Although Real have already surrendered the title, let’s just hope that the fear of a spanking by Barca will make them take this game seriously and field their regulars before they travel to Manchester.

  15. Hans says:

    If you did not see it, watch the Lyon equaliser against Spurs.

    That’s what Giggsy should have done last night when he had the chance, hit it first time. He was in even better position than the French lad!

  16. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Fantastic second half performance. Sir Alex had his tactics a bit off first half, worked much better with Welbeck tucked up higher.

    But the story of the game was our youngsters for me. De Gea especially but the graft of Jones and Danny.

    If you want to know how good Jones was, I hear that Xabi Alonso didn’t complete a single pass to Ronaldo last night and Benzima was fairly quiet as well. This was key.

    Rafael as well really settled down in the second half. Though he was a red card waiting to happen, as he had a poorish first half but really settled down and did well.

    The story for me though was the ref. My good he was poor. Not a single card for Real that I can recall and booked several players for nothing contact. But the most telling was when Evra was clean through and brought down. Every pundit who looked at that said it had to be a red. Every ref who saw it said it had to be a red. In the end I felt Evra was lucky not to have been booked for simulation (said half in jest ofcourse).

    Ref was poor.

  17. NBI Red Onion says:

    Barca before us will help them up their game, I would rather they played some crap teams that kicked them about.

    Good write up Scott, but I agree with @ Denton, harsh to blame Evra for the goal.

    Re people wanting cleverly instead of Kagwa, Kagwa passing forward and initiating attacks is better, Cleverly plays well with wingers, in this formation I think he would have struggled, he just does not have the passing range, to be honest I would play:

    Jones – Carrick – Scholes (until he tires) against Madrid. We need a quick passing accurate maestro and the old master is the best, Jones and Carrick can clean up, give him the ball and I rate him over Kagwa and Cleverly in that formation. That’s my 2p. Scholes can do what no one else in the team can.

  18. Scott says:

    Denton, NBI – I didn’t blame Evra. I said he should have challenged Ronaldo, and he should have done. Might have made no difference whatsoever but giving Ronaldo a free header in the box is suicide.

  19. Red Truth says:

    Spot on Scot.


    RVP was miles better than Rooney. And wont be “even more disappointed with his performance” than Rooney. His touch, hold up play, movement in tight spaces and link up play were terrific. The type of performance we needed from Hernandez against Barca in Champions League final 11. But yes, the only thing lacking was his finishing.

    Rooney on the other hand, as i have mentioned several times before seems to lack core fitness to last a high level game like last night. Too many fag and the odd tipple with his poor diet seems to play havoc. Offered absoultely nothing. Ran around and tried to close down but was yards away from a De Maria cross that lead to the goal. Personally would have played him behind RVP. Apart from Rooney the lads performed, was proud to say the least. Kagawa got some harsh criticism of Redknapp i felt. Lost possession a few times granted, but his hold up and link up play, first touch (which is a first touch rooney could only dream of at times) were again like RVP, brilliant.

    Would like to see Cleverley in the second leg because at times possession was given away far too easily.

    On to the 2nd leg. Come on United!

  20. Gopher Brown says:

    I’m just very proud of the team today. I thought we did well, against (probably) the second best side in the world. We knew they would retain possession and press us high up the pitch and we defended brilliantly. Ronaldo barely did anything in the second half and when they took Di Maria off, who had been their most threatening player, I thought we’d be safe.

    The second leg will be tricky because of their tendency to counter, and it could be a ’1-0 then defend’ kind of night for us.

  21. Dela says:

    @Red Truth –> Offered absolutely nothing… except the corner that led to the goal….

    I slightly disagree with the RvP part of it. He should be careful obviously picking up cards in Europe so no problem there, but if anything RvP scared the shit out of Madrid last night. It’s not really his fault if he doesn’t get a high level of service, but his ability moving with the ball was also on display when he got a chance last night. That rocket that smashed the crossbar was something else… I would bet on him scoring at Old Trafford for sure.

  22. says:

    Think we did well generally last night and generally pleased with the result, but I’d make a few points.

    1. Lot of what happened last night was very similar to Spurs away. First half Ronaldo was over on the left, pushing at Rafael. I thinK Sir Alex put Rooney on that side and detailed Jones to follow Ronaldo so we would have a strong space occupying prescence on the side of the pitch where Ronaldo was.

    2. Consequence of this was that their was more space on the other side, and in front of Carrick who was a bit isolated with Jones off following Ronaldo. This left space in front of Carrick for Ozil and inside Evra for Di Maria. They were excellent in that first half, causing us all sorts of problems.

    3. Real recognised that that other side was where the space was, and I think that was why Rnaldo switched to the centre and eventually the Real right. I cant help but think that Ronaldo would have had more joyhowever if he had stayed left as Rafael was having a poor game.

    4. De Gea, Carrick, Jones and our centre-backs were excellent and that was one of the reasons why Real were reduced to a lot of shots from distance. Real had a lot of shots last night, but a lot of theose shots were speculative. In the second half he United went more 4-3-3 ish and were much more compact.

    5. Thought the Rooney and Kagawa roles were interesting. Kagawa started well, but faded as he often seems to do. Playing Kagawa centrally creates a bit of a problem as he dosn’t seem to have much defensive nouse. He stayed high,as did Rooney RVP and Welbeck in the first half, and this worried Real, ensuring that they couldn’t concentrate soley on attack, but this contributed to the amount of space in front of Carrick. Rooney in the middle might have tracked back more, but in truth he has often failed to do this himself. Which ever way you look at it there was too much space between the central front players and our centre backs/deep midfield players. Alonso perhaps should have made more of this.

    6. Real looked really shaky at the back. We must throw in lots of crosses at Old Trafford and put them under meaningful pressure. There shakiness at the back saw them concede a lot of corners. There other weakness is their centre forwards who were poor.

    7. You’d take Ronaldo back wouldn’t you. What a player, and respect to him for not celebrating his goal.

    Really enjoyed that game and can’t wait for the return. Think we have a slight advantage, but it very tight. Real worked very hard last night and eventually ran out of ideas. United worked hard and got their just deserts, but will have to work equally hard at Old Trafford.

  23. martin says:

    Jones is brilliant at man marking..hats off for that.he did a great job making sure cr7 didn’t have a huge say in the match.
    my only problem is when he plays midfield, we surrender the possession because he’s not that accurate and tends to pass backwards n sideways most of the times..I’d rather we sacrifice one winger for Jones so that we have a compact central midfield pairing of carrick n clevs/ando.that way we’ll have more control n possession of the a result we won’t be on the backfoot for most parts of the game.perfect examples are yesterday’s game,spurs away n everton at home(1st half).

  24. markg says:

    scott- eamon dunphy was on tv last night and he said he heard “ferguson dosen’t trust rooney to play in important positions” ie .the hole “because according to people he spoke to rooney is suffering from a confidence crisis” what do you make of that?

  25. WeAreUnited says:

    @Red Truth

    I agree with you and I really thought RVP was immense, apart from the goal, the way he handled the ball and just kept it, helped us go forward.
    A slight problem that he didn’t score, 2 GREAT saves and one miskick. So basically he missed 1 chance and i nthe 2 of them the keeper did a De Gea, YES FOLKS, it’s a term for miracluous saves like David De Gea. It’s o nthe dictionary:P

    Rooney in the other hand, offered what he was asked for, keep it tight his left wing or right, however you call it, so his job was there. HE assisted the corner goal and made a couple of other chances, but he was “off”, he just didn’t shine, but it’s understandable because of his position.


    spot on mate!!! couldn’t put it better than this: QUOTE

    “It’s not really his fault if he doesn’t get a high level of service, but his ability moving with the ball was also on display when he got a chance last night. That rocket that smashed the crossbar was something else… I would bet on him scoring at Old Trafford for sure.”

    As for service, I thinkk put Clevs there, but it doesn’t necessary mean to take Jones off, here are some solutions to put Jones and Clevs together. or separately.

    Jones Carrick
    Welbeck Rooney

    Cleverley Jones Carrick Welbeck

    Jones as RB
    Young Cleverley Carrick Kagawa

    Valencia Cleverley Carrick Young

    Nani Cleverley Carrick Young

    Welbeck Jones Carrick Kagawa

    7. the team on the second half
    Rooney Jones Carrick Kagawa

  26. WeAreUnited says:


  27. denton davey says:

    I’m surprised at the kudos handed out to RVP – he’s a striker (and a damned good one as his performances have shown – not just this season but for the past couple of years at TheArse) who missed a “sitter” and also had two very good chances that weren’t converted. I’d imagine that he’s very disappointed with missing three very good chances. His hold-up play was good but not exceptional, by any means. Overall, I don’t think he did better than TheWayneBoy who has been catching all sorts of crap from all-and-sundry and who was given the job of “sacrificing” his attacking intent in exchange for doing the down-and-dirty work in the trenches.

  28. r8devil says:

    Regarding point #9. I could not care less if Hodgson does not include Rio in any of the England squads. That leaves him rested and injury free to play for United. At Rio’s age and the problems he’s had with injuries, he needs all the rest . We had many United players who are not picked even though they’re better than what England send out. Besides Rio, I can think of Scholes earlier in his career and also Carrick recently.

  29. BajanBrian says:

    Excellent result in my opinion. Yeah I know we had chances to put away the game but so did Real and neither of us took them so I’m glad we got away with a draw. Hopefully, at Old Trafford we show Madrid and the rest of Europe why United is still one of the most dangerous clubs in Europe!

  30. WeAreUnited says:


    I don’t want to go into who was better than the other, cause as a team we were very good in the second half. BUT

    RVP was miles better than Rooney and he was isolated and alone upfront, and still managed to keep the ball on his feet and dribble past players and have 3 shots, that SHOULD have been converted.

    Rooney was sacrificed, he assisted one, passed to RVP who should have scored, but lost the ball too many times and looked a bit tired and off his game, not only on the right but also when he came for Welbeck as a striker. He wasn’t the Rooney who had scored 8 goals in 9 games or something like that. Rooney is our talisman and we expect him to shine every time. But he did his job, should have been more involved when got the ball.

    That’s why I hope SAF will play someone else on the wings and hope it’s Young when he returns or Welbeck if he’s not on the left. And put Rooney behind RVP and as a extra midfielder :)

    it’s great when we have options and I bet my ass that Rooney will get sharper for the next encounter, cause we kinda have the advantage of resting players on the next game against Reading where Chicha should get his chance and so many other player.

    The main thing is to get RVP and Rooney back again into a better shift and form, cause we need every single of them, strong and fit.


  31. WeAreUnited says:

    I didn’t watch the game, BUT

    I think someone mentioned earlier but WHAT A STRIKE from the Lyon player WOW.
    RGiggsy, that should have been you. haha :) maybe in the next game?

    And Gareth Bale hitting some Ronaldo esque goals,
    I don’t mind what people say cause my eyes tells it, but Gareth Bale is not overrated, imagine, and bare with me, imagine him playing for a better team where he gets more assists and chances to run, because of a larger scale of better players. Amazing.

    I wouldn’t mind him here.

    Let’s hope Wilfred Zaha evolves like that and even better, beause of his skill of techniques! I bet many will be complaining when he will show off, like with Nani and Ronaldo at the beginning. I really can’t wait to get that trophy number 20 and that the next season starts with Zaha playing! exited already.

  32. Passmaster 16 says:

    Great reaction Scot…

    Bt in my view we should utilize rooney’s talent more, he could have done the work given to kagawa even better, and with valencia/giggs from the start for kagawa, we could have won that game.. i like kagawa bt he could do better than what he did, i think pressure gets to him in these big games, but i real miss rooney behind the main striker, he is the best in my view. I hope for better game&results at OT.

  33. parthi says:

    I thought Varane’s foul was a certain card and a free kick. Surprisingly, that’s not discussed here

  34. samuel - united WE stand says:

    “Rooney on the other hand, as i have mentioned several times before seems to lack core fitness to last a high level game like last night. Too many fag and the odd tipple with his poor diet seems to play havoc”

    If you were a player like rooney, who utilises every bit of energy he has, not only going forward but also having the responsibility to put in a defensive shift then you’re bound to look wrecked. It’s rooney’s selfless nature and willingness to graft when most players with similar abilities would reject that has slightly hampered him. He gives his all even when not in the best of form, can’t say the same about most players.

    I’ve always tagged the term “idiotic” to those questioning his diet or claiming he smokes fags. Yes, he hasn’t got the best of physical genetics and is susceptible to piling on weight but he works hard at keeping that under control, he’s always looked he could run all day when in tip top shape, he’s probably fitter than most players at his peak but due to the fact he derives from liverpool and has that “he’s one of the rough thugs” look, people have not only bizarrely degraded his talent but also pile ridicule at him, this bullshit about “poor diet” and “fags” is just one of many. Rooney plays for one of the biggest clubs, his fitness will be under the watchful eye of scrutiny, i seriously doubt he has been on fags or poor diet, i think this is yet another cheap bollocks of an insult flinged at a player who isn’t the cherry on most people’s cakes, i don’t think he’s credited enough.

  35. andromeda says:

    Fergie would be the reason for sacking both Mou and Mancini this season:/

  36. FletchTHEMAN says:

    markg Eamon Dunphy Makes sh*te up and people listen. He writes well enough but my god he spins a tail. If you ever actually listen to him he is always making very very astute sounding statements that shock anyone in the room. That is how he sells books. He judges his audience and he tries to shock them.

    Don’t know why he is getting so much air time lately but it is ashame. Only person Dunphy supports is Eamon Freakin Dunphy!

    His admission that Roy Keane never said or implied to him that he ment to do damage to Håland’s was a shock to me. Basically admitted he made up entire part of Keano’s book about intentionally ending Håland’s career. Made it up! 8O

    How many games and how much was Keano banned for that passage in the book.
    Ofcourse, that passage IS what sold the book ….. make no mistake about that.


    Just saw an interview last weekend where he confirmed it again. UNFREAKIN’ BELIEVABLE!

  37. parryheid says:

    Copied this quote in the Spanish press from elsewhere.Well put I thought,

    Never write off the red devil on the United crest. Don’t ever rule out this legendary team, or the ghosts that breathe life into them. In the Champions the present is as important as the past; Real Madrid knows it better than anyone. That’s why it was reckless to underestimate United for something as transitory as a troubled defence and a brutish midfield. This is Manchester united, and this is the European Cup

  38. andromeda says:


    Thanks mate, the quote has definitely made my morning already, sigh:/

  39. AlphaRS says:

    Hello RoM,

    I don’t know about you boy but there were long periods of that game where I was very nervous as I felt as thought Real Madrid could score at any time. I haven’t felt like that in a while. At times it seemed as though the United defence was all over the place, but they and particularly DDG stood firm when all the questions were being asked.
    In regards to DDG clearance with his feet, I think he just wanted to get some distance on it rather than risking palming the ball back in to the danger zone. As per what our own Peter Schmeichel said, I challenge anybody to criticise that performance from DDG today.
    I couldn’t understand some of the refereeing decisions. Although Marca seem to think that the two major decisions of the game were apparently Jones pushing Di Maria over and the non corner which led to The Fresh Prince of Longsight scoring a brilliant header. I love you Danny Welbeck…! RVP and TV7 got booked for farting in Ramos direction. Varane brought down Evra and no red card. If that was the other way round you can bet your bottom Dollar the ref would have sent Evra off. The referee blew up early so no corner for United at the end of the game.
    United created a lot more chances than I thought they would and as Scott rightly pointed out the optimist would have hoped for a winner. With Giggs and RVP missing golden opportunities.
    Loved the way the United fans were singing “Sit down Mourinho” and I have to say the Real Madrid fans showed some class giving Giggs a standing ovation when he came on to the pitch. After watching the Mourinho documentry on ITV the other night I don’t think I mind him so much. In some ways I think I see him like SAF. He has this face he puts on to the media and outside world when privately he is nothing like that. I think he is just misunderstood. Coming from an unsuccessful football career, to a translator for Sir Bobby Robson and Louis Van Gaal, to a football manager. A football manager ridiculed by Barcelona fans for being just a translator. So I can understand his actions somewhat.
    Anyhow I was afraid that United might take a beating because we haven’t played a top side in Europe since Barcelona in 2011 but the look on Mourinho’s face in the post match interview said it all. He also said United played for a draw. Mr Mourinho Manchester United NEVER play for a draw. But in many respects the way we played could be said to be exactly the same way Mourinho has set his sides up at Porto, Chelsea, and Inter.
    I do wonder when United will play their own game though. It would be nice it United put Real Madrid on the back foot with sustained pressure at Old Trafford. Now that would really be impressive, but as it is SAF wants to play winning football, even if it does go slightly against the values of Manchester United. But at times, the ends justify the means.

  40. Bobby Charlton's combover says:

    Eamon Dunphy has made a career of tossing out scandalous remark and comments just to keep himself in the limelight. He’s changes his opinion more than his underwear and is no stranger to contradicting himself. Being Irish i grew up with his punditry and I just read a book about him analysing his career in the media which made the point that you never know if the outrageous statements he comes out with are simply to get attention or because he believes them.

    He has admitted to embellishing Keanes account and has been accused or writing what he would have liked to have been the truth instead of what Keane really wanted to say. Now himself and Keane hardly speak since Roy went into management.

    He also accused Johnny Giles of trying to break John Fitzpatrick’s leg back in the day in a premeditated tackle. Here is the full story:

    Eamon Dunphy said: “John Giles broke the leg of a friend of mine called John Fitzpatrick who was playing for Manchester United and John never played the game again. Dunphy continued his wicked tale: “Now, 20 minutes before he broke John Fitzpatrick’s leg, John Giles had told his brother-in-law Nobby Stiles who was a colleague of John Fitzpatrick’s that he would break his [Fitzpatrick's] leg if he didn’t stop irritating him or doing whatever he was doing.”

    Firstly, Giles didn’t break John Fitzpatrick’s leg. Giles denied it the following night: “No, that’s totally untrue. First of all, it was John Fitzpatrick who said he was going to ‘do’ me before the game. Second of all, John Fitzpatrick never broke his leg and I certainly never broke his leg.

    “John Fitzpatrick had damaged ligaments and didn’t come off during the match. He played the rest of the game but eventually he did finish with damaged ligaments of the knee. I never broke John Fitzpatrick’s leg and I am very surprised Eamon would say that. First of all, you have to get your facts right. I will plead guilty to a lot of things and I have done so in the past and that is just not true.
    “It was a bad tackle. It was nothing to be proud of, but I did not go out to ‘do’ John Fitzpatrick.”

    Crucially, John Giles’s version of events now has cast-iron corroboration. Last week, in an exclusive interview with the Sunday Independent, John Fitzpatrick broke a silence of many years to speak at length about the incident.

    Eamon Dunphy had said that after the “leg-breaking” tackle, John Fitzpatrick “never played the game again”. This represents two serious fabrications in one sentence. Fitzpatrick played many more games for Manchester United. Though he did sustain serious ligament/cartilage damage in that incident with Giles, his leg was not broken nor even fractured.

    Mr Fitzpatrick, now a prosperous wine importer based near his native Aberdeen, described the incident at Elland Road that Saturday afternoon in the mid-Sixties as a “50/50 tackle” in which he came off second best.

  41. NBI Red Onion says:

    Mind games…!!! SAF is definately messing with Ronaldo’s head, calling him the greatest, mentioning he was in the dressing room, hugs and kisses, mentioning him every time, hopefully the effect of slightly unsettling Ronnie and his team. That one percent off his game could win it for us.

    SAF master tactician, master of mind games, he has beaten Maureen on both. He is working on RM team directly, love it.

  42. NBI Red Onion says:

    @ Scott, fair dues, you are right, Evra should have been tighter to Ronnie, I thought he had a bit of a slip, but I did notice he was tighter next times and did manage to do a good job on Ronnie generally thence on.

  43. rory says:

    Hnads up I was one of the people who criticised Welbeck, but he played a blinder, full credit!
    To me RVP looked tired, and could do with a rest.
    Nail on the head about Rooney didnt know where he was playing for the first half I think, headless chicken comes to mind but did a good covering job, kind of a fletcher role i think.
    Hard to see, for me at least, whether our midfield was over run or just played so deep at times, but I think it’s fair to say they got the better of us.
    Yes we were away from home but I still believe for large parts of the game we offered Real too much respect, from which they grew in confidence.
    Sergio Ramos, oh how I only wish Keano or Cantona were playing, you sorry excuse for a human being!

  44. phacial says:

    I’ve seen a few comments that our fixture list before the next leg is an advantage because Real has two games against Barcelona. I disagree with that. I think it’s an advantage to play a big team before another big team(as long as you have enough time to restore strenght), because the high intensity, tempo and skill you have to play at becomes the normal, and you don


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