City v United - El dia despues
I resisted the temptation in my acute disappointment to write an article last night following the debacle at the CoMS yesterday, prefering instead to have a quiet night in with my woman, who is sadly a Norwich Reserves fan, but at least related to Brian Kidd, and field the texts from the poor Stretfords who have started to feel tension, some of them for the first time in their unproductive lives.
On Spanish television (Telecinco) there is a programme on Monday nights called 'El dia despues' (the day after), which captures the thoughts of Club Managers and fans alike following the weekends events and that is where I am today.
So what happened?
Well I think we courageously slugged it out with them to the extent where we can comfortably say that they have not beaten us in 90 minutes at all this season. They have relied upon some timekeeping tactics from Mr 'Benidorm Watch' Atkinson at Old Trafford, the adding-on of only 35 seconds for a 2 minute goal celebration by Howard 'the Equaliser' Webb and finally up pops Atkinson again yesterday because 'Bookie Bennett' was stuck in a dustcloud somewhere in Spain, no doubt looking forard to El dia despues'
But therein lies a story and for once Ferguson called it correct when he said that his team keeps on going until the end because that is their mentality. And it is a mentality that needs to appear at Eastlands.
The bravery and hard work counts for nothing if you switch off for a few seconds well into stoppage time and the ball ends up in your net.
Three times against Stretford's finest we have failed to see a match out from a favourable position. Add to that the 7 draws when in 5 of them we were in a winning position against inferior opposition, plus the defeats against Stoke City & Hull City and something is missing.
Even at this very late stage in the season we have still failed to defend a simple crossed ball, Given is still failing to command his goal area and yesterday, sadly he let in a header that I think he should have saved. Concentration is the key.
There are still many plus points though. They clearly came to play for a draw and hope to win on the break, which they did.
They had everyone back defending set plays. They had once again to risk an injured footballer who had once again to cheat to get Kompany cautioned by faking an injury to his damaged ankle then jumping up like a spring chicken when the yellow card was brandished.
Even in his pre-match work Ferguson said that things are happening here and his statement that City were in with a shout for something big for the first time in since his tenure at Old Trafford began looked to be an admission on his part that we are going forward and look unlikely to be held back for much longer.
We have already qualified for European football next season - we just don't know which competition yet. So no 'fair-play league' this time, it is genuine qualification. It is progress.
Even though we all feel a bit down in the dumps this morning, there are many positives that we can draw from this season so far and these should sustain us for the rest of the season..keeping us right on til the end of the road.
At least now with a sniff of the Premier League title again Stretford should put out their top team against Spurs and beat them. If Spurs win that one then they probably deserve to finish fourth having done Arsenal and Chelsea already. But the stage looks to be set for a Champions League eliminator on 5 May 2010, when Mr Ferdinand having once again carefully selected an important match will play in a testimonial at the Boleyn Ground.
Keep the faith y'all
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