World Soccer views and news
United could afford to drop points but manner of defeat must hurt
Please don’t try and tell me that a 4-1 defeat at home to your arch-rivals does not affect you — it must do.
At lunchtime on Saturday Manchester United knew they could probably afford to lose against Liverpool and still claim another Premier League title but does the manner of their capitulation offer hope to the chasing pack?
The lead is still four points with a game in hand and the title is still there for the taking but all talk of quintuples and the like is now looking a little premature.
Could all the superlatives have been going to their heads?
Talk had been ringing around Old Trafford about clean sheet records but their defence in the past two matches has been colander-like.
Alex Ferguson said he was ranting at his team at half-time in the Champions League against Inter and that he wasn’t happy with “these little flicks and balls into space when no one was there — back-heels and stuff”. Inter and in particular Zlatan Ibrahimovic couldn’t make them pay but Liverpool could with some clinical finishing.
I also recall that Arsene Wenger described United as “untouchables” last month. When one of your chief rivals starts offering out praise like that it’s easy to let your guard slip. They have certainly been “touched” in the past week.
Maybe it’s time for Ferguson to start dishing out a bit more of the famous hairdryer treatment
I’ll keep an eye on their trip to Fulham on Saturday. They set a very high standard the last time they went to Craven Cottage but the pressure is a bit different now. Could there be life in this league title race yet?
PHOTO: Manchester United’s Nemanja Vidic fouls Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard to earn a red card during their English Premier League match at Old Trafford, March 14, 2009. REUTERS/Phil Noble