United's Naivety Is In The Past
The 1999/2000 season was certainly a memorable one. United won the league with embarassing ease, beating Arsenal by a staggering 18 points. Yet the FA and the government pressurised us to take part in that stupid World Club Championship and forced us to withdraw from the FA Cup - then disappeared when the criticism started flying.
However, for many of us, the most painful event was losing in the Champions League quarter-final. We were in brilliant form at the time and came up against an ordinary, stuttering Real Madrid team which we held to a 0-0 draw at the Bernabeu. However, some extreme tactical naivety saw us committing suicide at Old Trafford and going out with a 2-3 defeat.
This naivety is in the past, says Fergie so we are better equipped to defend our title.
'The year after 1999 we were very naïve,' he told manutd.com.
'Teams sussed us out tactically; teams like Ajax and Anderlecht played counter-attack on their own grounds which caught us by surprise. We should have changed, but we didn`t and we suffered. We didn`t do well that year.
'This season I think I have a better squad so we can make changes tactically and we have improved that side of our game. Our players have grown up in European football. They`ve become familiar in the way the games can change in Europe.'
My question would be this though: can we expect such a delightful attacking display from this side like the one we saw against Fiorentina when we overwhelmed the then-mighty Italians 3-1 despite going behind early on? Or are we too careful these days? Or is it possible that the pressure has lifted with finally getting that elusive second Champions League trophy?