Writer: Andy Leggott
Date:Monday March 19 2007
Two of the more odious premiership managers have stuck their noses in where it isn`t wanted today.
Speaking in the wake of the Middlesbrough manager, Gareth Southgate, choosing to rest three key players ahead of their ridiculously re-scheduled quarter final replay both Alex Ferguson and Neil Warnock couldn`t resist having a pop at Boro.
Warnock and Ferguson both spoke of Boro`s alleged disrespect for the other sides at the bottom of the table, hinting that City won Saturday`s encounter simply because of Boro`s team choice.
Warnock even went as far as to suggest that Southgate had based his selection purely with regards to his friendship with Pearce (although he fails to say whether Mourinho rested key playes on Saturday because he's a mate of Warnock).
Now as a rule I dislike Boro with a vengeance. They have always represented a poor man`s yoonited, constantly snapping up their rejects and their supporters revelling in singing yoonited songs. However in this instance they have my full support.
In case Warnock and Ferguson hadn`t noticed, Boro have a quarter final replay tonight. They currently occupy a mid table position and the FA Cup offers their only crack at both a trophy and European football.
Given those circumstances, and the close proximity of the two games, why shouldn`t Boro use their squad? Have yoonited used a constant eleven all season or have they chopped and changed to suit their priorities?
In some respect I understand Warnock`s moans; he is simply covering up for the inadequacies of his own team and trying to project the blame elsewhere, why else criticise Boro but not Chelsea who Sheffield played. Ferguson`s motives are a little less clear. Sure he dislikes City due to some of the defeats they have inflicted on his team; but why have a go at Boro for doing what he does on a regular basis?
Put quite simply it is typical Ferguson. There is not a Premiership manager who speaks with greater hypocrisy. This, don`t forget, is the manager of a team that stuck two fingers up at the FA Cup in pursuit of failed worldwide dominance. He is also the manager that has fielded numerous weakened sides this season in pursuit of Champions League glory, choosing on several occasions to rest Rooney and Ronaldo amongst others. That Boro haven`t got as strong a squad as yoonited is irrelevant. They have every bit as much right to prioritise as Ferguson does.
Whoever is relegated at the end of the season it will not be down to Gareth Southgate fielding a weakened side against City. It will be because those teams that are relegated have not been good enough themselves over 38 games.
Ferguson and Warnock need to shut up and concentrate on their own teams rather than partake in hypocritical witch hunts that do football no favours. Prioritising fixtures has always happened and always will; naturally though yoonited will field their strongest side for all of their remaining fixtures.
Date:Monday March 19 2007
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