Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fergie ( Why We Must Be United

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fergie ( Why We Must Be United

Article excerpt

Byline: By Simon Stone

Sir Alex Ferguson has launched a passionate plea for Manchester United to stick together and defend themselves against the barrage of criticism being heaped on the Old Trafford club.

Ferguson has taken the brunt of the abuse himself, with many pundits suggesting it is time the Scot's 19-year managerial reign was brought to an end in the wake of last week's Champions League exit in Lisbon.

The weekend draw with Everton did nothing to ease the pressure on Ferguson and his team, with more negative headlines accompanying the result.

Ferguson believes his side are now the victims of a pre-determined campaign, born of naked hatred of the Red Devils by some critics.

And, although he finds it easy to simply ignore the criticism, Ferguson knows it is harder for some of his younger players to deal with, which is why he is circling the wagons in such familiar fashion and calling for a United front.

"I know exactly where this is coming from," he said.

"Within sections of the media there is a hatred of Manchester United that has always been there.

"I can understand it a little because we are such a high-profile club and it comes with the territory I suppose. But they go over the top. They try to fragment the club; the players from the supporters and the supporters from the players. Our fans are aware of that and they will not fall into that trap.

"I make the point strongly ( when we are at our best is when the fans are right behind us. That is the only thing that should matter.

"Sticking together is the key for us."

Ferguson will be hoping United fans heed his call tonight when Wigan are the visitors for a match in which victory would see Chelsea's Premiership lead cut to nine points.

Although there is no doubt the early European exit has come as a bitter blow to Red Devils fans, the feeling persists more has been made of the loss to Benfica because of the seemingly hopeless nature of their title challenge. …

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