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Fergie Faces A Big Challenge

Okay, so challenges aren't exactly new for Sir Alex Ferguson. He's faced some during his Old Trafford tenure and more often than not managed to tackle them and find solutions.

This one is not even the biggest he faced, it's far from that. What he needs to do is convince his players that they've still got a lot of things to play for after last season's magnificent Double success.

My 'article' on the Arsenal game was little more than incoherent rambling but you must forgive me as I was a wee bit annoyed and frustrated by the team. I don't expect us to win all the time and I don't expect us to play always well - and we did not play badly, mind you - but I always expect United to fight for the cause.

At the Emirates, however, we seemed reluctant to fight and work without the ball. United did some excellent stuff with the ball at their players' feet but without the ball we were reduced to watch Arsenal passing it around. And it's not the first time either: at Liverpool or at Everton things were pretty much the same. Or I could cite the Hull game as a prime example - we attacked brilliantly but did not bother to do the defensive job.

These are professional players and play under one of the best managers of all time. Still, motivation is an issue. I do not say they consciously protest against hard work but there is little to spur them on when things are going badly. In their subconscious they know that they have already reached the peak, that if they don't win the league this season it wouldn't be something to regret for the rest of their lives.

Now, of course, this is unacceptable from sportsmen who earn the kind of money they do. They must do their best to motivate themselves, obviously. But we also pay coaches and a manager to find solutions to this problem. I do not know how - this is not my job. Our job as supporters is to demand that our team do not surrender meekly, and is able to concentrate for 90 minutes.

There are side-issues, of course - injuries, lack of match fitness in case of a few players, bad luck - but mostly our problems are down to two things: bad defending and woeful finishing. And it is quite simple what causes the problems with these: concentration, or the lack of it to be precise.

And lack of concentration is the result from insufficient determination - so we are where we started: MOTIVATION.

When the spring comes and the trophies will be in sight, motivation will become much easier than in these days, in the cold, wet November when the season is still stretching out into the seemingly infinite distance. However, we must stay in contention so no matter how United need to start picking up results. We'll have a much easier fixture list in the second half of the season but a fat lot of good it'll do if we fall so far behind that climbing back would be impossible...

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The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday November 10 2008

Time: 3:43PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
It worries me, it really does. Before the Arsenal game, everything was going fine. If we'd have just got a point against Arsenal we'd have been in a pretty good position, having played all the top four away from home. But I'm worried, I really am. I still think we'll be up there at the end of the season, but Fergie needs to get it right, and fast.
Man utd champions
Report Abuse
10/11/2008 15:56:00

i'm a united fan through and through and i think united WILL win the premiership this season the squad is better than ever and rooney, ronaldo, tevez and berbatov are on fire and will continue 2 score goals. i remember when united were 12 points behind newcastle and they won the title and when united were 8 points behind arsenal in the 2002/2003 season and they still won the premiership title i ure my fellow united fans 2 keep the faith
Report Abuse
10/11/2008 16:37:00

you're falling behind chaps!
Report Abuse
10/11/2008 19:50:00

clever, merlin, really clever. but remember, we were some way behind arsenal last season, and what happened? We should win our game in hand at home to Fulham (if we will have any chance of winning the title anyway) and then we will only be five points behind. That can easily fall - just a defeat somewhere, and then a game when you play really well but only get a point. Easy. And don't forget, we've played all the top four away (you've played two at home and, dare I say, only got the one point) and the majority of last season's top half mainly away from home. If we're still in touch come February, I'd say we'd have a very good chance. Titles are won in April/May, NOT November
Man utd champions
Report Abuse
11/11/2008 10:54:00

@MUC, we are not Arsenal and you know it.You cant fall back too far and win the title while we are on fire.
German Blues Brother
Report Abuse
11/11/2008 14:25:00

I love the smell of overconfidence in the morning!
Report Abuse
11/11/2008 15:32:00

There well behind
Tiny T
Report Abuse
11/11/2008 17:19:00

Hello all, old Bling just thought he`d stop by. "On fire" you say? German Blues brother correct me if im wrong but i didnt realise that On fire constituted hammering all the weak teams & lacking the ability to beat the BIG teams. Name 1 Top Class team that Chelsea have beaten this season.
I Bling Red
Report Abuse
12/11/2008 12:35:00

Chelseas failings this season are the same as Uniteds, they cant beat any opposition of any real quality. Arsenal seem to be the opposite after disposing of Man Utd but regularly drop points against the mini teams, Liverpool although equal with Chelsea seem to be the only current top 4 team of beating both big and small.
I Bling Red
Report Abuse
12/11/2008 12:39:00

I know Man U always come good, sometimes after a slow start, but I just don't have a good feeling about it this time around. Sincerely hope I'm wrong of course.
Report Abuse
14/11/2008 00:53:00


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