Date: 17th June 2011 at 1:55am
Written by:
Sir Alex Ferguson

Fergie: "You'll never win anything with kids he said- can you believe that?"

Ever since the Champions League final in which United fell so far short of the excellence of Barcelona’s style of play the question seems to be how will Ferguson improve his squad to match Barca next season?

The focus has been the Spanish opposition; I haven’t really heard many pondering the home teams. This summer’s potential signings all seem to be receiving a weighing up against Barcelona from fans to see how they will compare to them. So has Fergie got this same Barcelona obsession?

I don’t want to rile anybody up with this article with any kind of suggestion United do not play attractive football. I love watching the classic counter attack rip a defence apart and leave them helpless as Chicharito slots home. However I can’t help but feel Ferguson is working towards an ambition of even more attractive football, the most attractive football in the world.

Whilst United can make mesmerising moves and, I’ll stick to the stats to avoid a mass debate, the league table proved them the best team in the country last season there were many matches where a scruffy performance had to be fought out. I am of the belief a league winning team should still be able to take the wins when the game is not going all their way and they have to scrap it out to the end. Despite this, maybe United had to do this too many times last season for Fergie’s comfort.

United are capable of playing attractive football and have many players capable of doing so. Barcelona on the other hand play a different kind of attractive football. Their players are more free-moving and will move out of position to create a midfield which will outnumber any other. From this midfield they will suddenly move players forward and make a rapid attack and catch the opposition unawares. Arguably one of the best passing teams in England is Arsenal, however there is the debate as to whether Arsenal can play this football and win the title. Something they have not yet proved.

One hint that Ferguson is trying to achieve something a bit different for his team are twins Rafael and Fabio. The deal for the full backs was done back in February 2007 despite not moving to United until later. The two could have been seen as future replacements for an aging defence, however as they broke through it became apparent the Brazilians were not like-for-like replacements. They look more like wing backs then full backs with their attacking tendency. Whilst Gary Neville was good at overlapping the wide midfielder to look to get a cross in, and likewise with Evra, neither are nor were quite the same mould as the twins.

The F.A cup Sixth round tie against Arsenal last season showed the attacking capabilities of the twins. A game which was in United’s hands for the whole match, resulting in a 2-0 win, was in a big way helped by the fact the Brazilians were on the wings. Some saw this a questionable decision and there were complaints of United playing seven defenders (O’Shea was in midfield too). I didn’t feel the same. To call Fabio and Rafael defenders is not completely accurate and I was very exciting to see how they would relish the chance of being given full responsibility of the flanks. They did very well, Fabio even got a goal. The performance of the twins on the wing rang something home to me. As a set of new-to-United style of full backs has Ferguson been hatching a plan around them?

One of the key components in Barcelona’s midfield master plan is full back Dani Alves’ ability to move from the back to give an extra man in midfield and help outnumber teams. Whilst this can seem a dangerous move in that it may leave a team short at the back, Barcelona don’t tend to lose the ball in the midfield with this ploy and when they do they have the players there to crowd the opposition and prevent any counter.

Is it possible that the Brazilian twins are part of Ferguson’s elaborate plan to play the game in the midfield? Could it even be possible that a defensive, destructive midfielder would be used to allow both Rafael and Fabio to push up whilst the midfielder drops back? Could this work? After all I’m sure I don’t need to remind you of what kind of football Brazilians are known for playing.

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20 responses to “Is Sir Alex Ferguson About To Unleash His Most Entertaining Side Ever?”

  1. Scott says:

    A mouth watering prospect.

    Playing 5 at the back with Fabio and Rafael playing more as wing backs would create some amazing counter attacking football!

    Possibly why Fergie has decided to invest in Jones while having Evans and Smalling for the future, also would explain his reported intrest in Raphael Varane. Stocking up on the strong defensive midfield and centre backs to let the twins run the flanks!

    • Rik says:

      Counter attacking is not attacking football!!! Jezus Christ!!!

      What are we, Inter Milan or what!!

  2. That is interesting analysis. Whatever the case, I see your point about Ferguson changing the style of play at united. He will also bring in several quality players this summer. The only question is how long will this actually take? I dont think we’ll the results next season as it will be too soon to gel his new team together. Either way, I am sure united will be stronger than ever in two to three years from now.

  3. Oz Red says:

    I hope you’re right that there may be a bit of a sea change in our attacking play. We were the best team in the Prem over 38 games and had to grind out some tricky results along the way. Maybe with the same squad plus one addition we could still win the prem but now Barca is the benchmark. Its hard not to be excitied being linked to the top talent around Europe with a real positive intent being shown of late for us to compete with the biggest spenders to lure the best options into Old Trafford.

    I am however fairly reserved in getting too excited about us bringing in too many players and it taking a lot of time for them to gel – maybe this is why Fergie is being so active at the start of the window so that we can bring these players on tour with the current squad. The names being mentioned so far – Sanchez, Modric and Schneider are all creative and will give us that extra bit of spark that can create something out of nothing.

    The new look squad now has a feel of players who are versatile – the Da Silva twins being able to play the winger role effectively too, Jones is an able defensive midfielder, apparently Young can play well in a central role as well as on the wing, Varane is a Centre back/defensive midfielder….. so this will help us when the squad is affected by injuries and/or we need to change our game plan.

    Strap yourselves in… this summer looks set to be one of the biggest in terms of activity in and out of Old Trafford!

  4. Imam says:

    This is what I love about rffh, you guys don’t wait for news to post an article, you make something out of nothing, and most of them are thought provoking.

    On topic, I think we all agree that when we play Arsenal with Da Silva twins as midfielders, we saw one of the most attractive play from MUFC last season, and to be honest, it’s been a few, it’s a lot more attractive than, for example the trashing of Blackburn at home.

    We didn’t play like Arsenal or Barcelona kind of attractive, we didn’t aim for 1,000 passes on the stat, but in that game, we looked, explosive. It was the urgency, for most of the part, that made us tick.

    The urgency of our players in that game could be seen in how they were always looking for space, they just didn’t stop running, just look at the first goal from Fabio, we were quick, we were in such hurry, it was like we didn’t know the term “hold up ball”, the goal is to score a goal and we had to do it quick!

    It’s always been the feeling when I see any of the Da Silva twins on the pitch, they seem to have this thought that 90 minutes is so little a time.

    Do you remember the first 10-15 minutes of Barcelona game? ALL the last FOUR games against Barcelona. Two semifinals at 08, and two finals at 09 and 11.
    Yup. We did look dangerous, we did look like we’re gonna score, we did look urgent. I have this kind of believe that SAF were trying to emulate the two semifinals: get a quick goal before Barcelona could settle in the game. We almost got a goal from a penalty spot at Nou Camp, and we got one from Paul Scholes at OT.
    At the final 09, we wished that Ronaldo didn’t hit the bar, and in 11 we pushed them to defend early in the game.

    But it was not enough, never enough, why? One word: Stamina.

    Da Silva twins, no matter how explosive they are, they need to work on their stamina.

    Carrick were not known for his stamina, he could pass, and pass perfectly in good days, but to chase the ball from the feet of Barcelona players, nobody won’t bet on that.

    Park, who have 3 lungs, seem to need an overhaul before the final, he didn’t look as “everywhere” as he did in the games before.

    I’m not too sure if humans are capable of being “explosive” for around 90 minutes, but footballers aren’t built like us right?

    So, are we going to play like Barcelona or Arsenal, multiply the passing stats 3 or 4 times every game? Or be the explosive team who could tirelessly chase the ball and press the opponent for the whole 90 minutes?

    Just look at the game we lost 3-0 against AC Milan in San Siro in 07, we know that people say that we’re tired that night, but we could see how AC Milan were all over the place, everytime we had the ball, they pressed us hard till we don’t know where to pass.

    Here’s to a soldier-like drill at Carrington!

  5. bruce thomas says:

    Plus Sanchez and Sneidjer equals more flair, more power, more purpose. Nearly there. The future’s almost here.

  6. villafan says:


    • Chris says:

      Shut up u IDIOT. who are aston villa anyway. Some crappy any old team that are below the Europa league levels. Don’t try and act as if its Ferguson’s fault that Rooney and Giggs made stupid mistakes. I know 4 a fact that if Ferguson wanted to go to Villa, u would wank on him.

  7. Man U says:

    You guys were pretty entertaining last season. With Giggs’ and the scouse wonders’ infidelity. The scousers trance request. Nani’s play acting and the drunk ferguson’s rants and fines it will be hard to to.

  8. TheFamousClassOf92 says:

    nice thought! that would be really interesting! we’ll need a De Rossi or Diarra to do so though, or any ‘better’ holding midfielder! Valencia/Sanchez, Nani/Young, Sniejder, Fletcher, and De Rossi/Diarra will be a HUGE midfield!

  9. omg says:

    I really hope that no central midfielder will be bought this summer. We have so many talented players for that spot. Pogba, Morrisson, Tunnicliffe, Cleverly. And for now we have Carrick, Fletcher, Anderson, Giggs.

  10. villafan says: