Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

There's No Crisis Insists Sir Alex

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

There's No Crisis Insists Sir Alex

Article excerpt

Defiant Sir Alex Ferguson shrugged off talk of Manchester United as a club in crisis and instead declared the humiliating defeat at Middlesbrough will be the making of his young team.

Ferguson stepped off the plane ahead of the Red Devils' first competitive trip to Paris having already declared the topic of Roy Keane's scrapped MUTV interview off limits in typically forceful fashion before departure.

A few other major subjects of discussion quickly joined the list of items to be avoided as Ferguson looked ahead to tonight's Champions League encounter with Lille; the matter of Rio Ferdinand's poor form and suggestions he presided over a club in disarray.

The questions were deflected with enough force to prevent further examination, yet in a manner befitting a man at ease with the world, a position completely at odds with that of his team.

"We are the biggest club ever, on this planet and in the universe, don't worry about that," he announced, when asked what a likely attendance of 70,000 ( a record for a European game in France ( said about the club's current status in the world game.

With that, Ferguson was off, having circumvented the whole issue of an attack by Keane so fierce it was pronounced too blunt to broadcast, yet at the same time giving his own take on one of United's worst performances in recent memory.

"What happened on Saturday helps the young players understand what being at Manchester United is all about," he said.

"You learn things from winning or losing games 1-0, but when you get belted 4-1, it is different.

"Yet the experience some of them are having at the moment will be good for them. Hopefully, it will help them and make them become men."

Absorbing such intense criticism as the Reds' players have faced over the past three days is easy for no-one.

And as he cannot stop it, he has decided there is no point even trying.

"The media want something on Manchester United for the front page, something for the back page, something for the middle and something for the comic strip as well if they can. …

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