Given that the FA recently charged Sir Alex Ferguson for praising a referee, it seemed impossible to imagine Manchester United would get away with resting players against Blackpool ahead of the Champions League final.
Both Hull and Blackpool have got in to trouble for making wholesale changes to their team, before reverting back to their usual XI the following week.
It would be ridiculous to ask United to play their strongest team in the league despite having already won the title, when the Champions League final is quickly approaching. Why on earth would we risk an injury?
However, Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has suggested that United will be alright.
“We don’t need to remind clubs [of the rule]. The clubs are extremely professional. We’ve only applied the team strength rule twice in the last two years,” said Scudamore. “There won’t be wholesale changes in order to threaten the integrity of the competition, I’m sure of that. I don’t think we’ll be considering scrapping the rule. There is a lot of flexibility. We don’t sit here at the Premier League and second-guess managers in terms of who their strongest teams are. When somebody chooses to put 10 out they’ve not put out before, and then the following week drop those 10 and go back to the previous 10 for a single match, we think that is what the rule is designed to stop. It’s an extreme case. It’s not meant to stop teams deciding to change six, seven, eight or even evolve squads or evolve teams.”
Fergie has already confirmed that Darren Fletcher, Paul Scholes, Anderson, Dimitar Berbatov, Patrice Evra and Edwin van der Sar will play because they’re in need of a game ahead of Moscow, meaning there’s no way we could be accused of making wholesale changes.