Sir Alex Ferguson says that Rio Ferdinand is close to agreeing a new contract at Manchester United, that Neville and Silvestre are fit and ready to play, that Vidic will be back for the semifinals and that, yes, we need to win our away games.
Ferguson on Rio:
“Negotiations have been on-going for a few weeks now and I don’t think we are far away now.
It’s never easy negotiating contracts nowadays, but Rio has been outstanding in recent weeks for us. Against Roma in midweek, his intelligence in possession and pace were very important for us.”
Ferguson on Vidic, Nev and Silvestre:
“Nemanja will be a loss, but we can cope because Mikael Silvestre and Gary Neville are fit again and we also have John O’Shea and Gerard Pique. We are well covered, so if we can’t cope, there is something wrong.
The news on Vidic is the best we could have hoped for because he should be back within three weeks. Both Mikael and Gary have great personalities, though, and their experience will help us.”
Not too keen on relying on Nev and Silvestre to get us to the finishing line with major doubts over their fitness, but each could play a crucial role in a game or two come crunch time and as Fergie says, they are quite experienced and it’s this blend of experience and youth at Manchester United that sees us top of the table and the only club in the driving seat in the CL quarter-finals (with due respect to Barcelona).
Ferguson on the remaining league games:
“The most important thing now is that we do our own job because we have come to the stage of the season where every game is as good as a league decider.
We only have two home games left to play, with away games at Boro, Blackburn, Chelsea and Wigan, so we know we have to make sure our away form stays strong.
We are approaching the finishing line, so there is not a long time to go. But sometimes in title races, the end can seem like a lifetime away.
Nerves are going to play a part and there will be shocks, but we just have to stay consistent because the team that is most consistent will win the league.”
Respect for the manager, he’s had to trot out such repetitive stuff week in and week out for over 20 years and he gets it right every single time. Consistency is key, which is why I’d stick with Brown ahead of Neville and Pique / O’Shea over Silvestre, although the later gives us a great option to rest Patrice Evra.