Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Boro Boss Puts the Heat on Ferguson

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Boro Boss Puts the Heat on Ferguson

Article excerpt

Byline: JACK PICKERING

GARETH Southgate believes all the pressure is on Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United ahead of Middlesbrough's Carling Cup trip to Old Trafford, writes JACK PICKERING.

United go into tonight's game with just one win - at Portsmouth in August - to show from six fixtures in all competitions since the start of the Barclays Premier League season.

While the Carling Cup may be a distant last on Sir Alex's list of priorities for the season, he will want to end his side's uncharacteristically poor sequence of results at the earliest opportunity.

Should the United boss opt to ring the changes and field a makeshift line-up, Southgate does not believe it puts Boro under extra pressure to claim a result, and lists the non-starters at Chelsea as evidence of the Red Devils' incredible strength in depth.

Southgate said: "When I looked at their squad it was Nani, Giggs, Ronaldo, Tevez, O'Shea, Vidic (who did not start), so it still looks decent to me, so I would have said there is very little pressure on us."

Asked if it was a good time to take on the champions, he continued: "It is, but you've got to be conscious of their quality.

I wouldn't imagine too many of the side that played at Chelsea will play against us but by my reckoning that still left them with about 10 internationals when I was writing a possible team down.

"I think they will be strong, there will be players Sir Alex will want to give a game to and he'll want to beat us so we've got to be prepared to face what could well be a star-studded line-up."

Although Southgate and Ferguson have had the odd touchline confrontation during recent matches between the sides, the Boro boss is still a huge admirer of the long-serving United manager.

He said: "Sir Alex is obviously the person all other managers look up to for what he's achieved and his continued hunger to keep achieving, his phenomenal drive about him as a person.

"He'll be logical about the position they're in at the moment but wanting them to win matches and he'll want to start against us. …

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