SIR ALEX FERGUSON was featured in this morning’s Manchester Evening News saying that if midweek in Madrid is to count for anything, Manchester United need to continue their good form against Reading in the FA Cup on Monday. He goes on to say that there will be changes for this game and that he should be able to trust any of them to do the job and continue United’s journey to silverware – in comments rather Spock like (for any sci fi nuts out there…needs of the many, needs of the few or the one), Sir Alex talks about the importance of the contribution to the whole rather than the individual.
Reading may well fancy their chances at Old Trafford after the Madrid match, it’s possible United will be on a high and not looking too seriously at the game on Monday. It’s possible but not probable, because Sir Alex will rest players who he feels are feeling tired or bruised; on the other hand if you can’t get your arse in gear at this stage of the season then maybe you shouldn’t be a footballer and certainly not at Manchester United.
I can see real merit in keeping David de Gea in goal. The boy will be on an absolute high after Wednesday, and given his recent performances before that game I think he deserves to stay where he is. It may be the wrong time to rest him given the confidence he should now have, let him keep going. I’d keep Rafael in as well, he has a point to prove against Reading and it took real guts to come back from the very visible wobble he took in the early stages of the Madrid game. If at all he feels like he let himself down, he’ll want to get back on the horse quickly.
The lads who didn’t see action on Wednesday, Smalling, Hernandez and Cleverley could all come in. I’d rest Robin, drop Wayne, and tell Rio to sit on the bench in case we need him. Paul Scholes can continue to plan his new kitchen.
All in all if we get knocked out of this competition by Reading it won’t be because of Madrid. It will be because the team selected didn’t want it badly enough, I don’t see it happening though. United have enough to put Reading in the rearviewmirror and keep on down the road.