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Page last updated at 22:25 GMT, Tuesday, 14 September 2010 23:25 UK

Sir Alex Ferguson expects Man Utd selection criticism


Ferguson laments lack of creativity

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson said he expected criticism after a side with 10 changes failed to beat Rangers in the Champions League.

Only Darren Fletcher retained his place from the team that had drawn with Everton three days earlier.

"The criticism will be why didn't I play a stronger team," said Ferguson.

"I played a very strong team. Eight of them played in the Charity Shield. It's a terrific squad of players we have and there was no problem playing them."

Ferguson, whose side host fierce rivals Liverpool on Sunday, admitted that not putting in-form striker Dimitar Berbatov on the bench for the Rangers game may have been a mistake.


"We wanted to see how Javier Hernandez would do in a full game and because of that we left Berbatov out and his form has been absolutely fantastic," added Ferguson.

"He has been one of our best players this season and his ability to create in tight situations would have made a difference."

Ferguson insisted players such as Hernandez, Darron Gibson, Antonio Valencia and Ji-Sung Park should have been good enough to carve out opportunities against the Scottish champions.

"We wanted to find out about one or two players but seven or eight of them played against Chelsea in the Community Shield, so we weren't short of players we needed to win the game," added the United boss.

"There were plenty of good players on the pitch.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty

"They should have won that game, but give credit to Rangers, their system is very difficult to break down.

"I think we played with great intensity and good commitment. But Rangers just went back to the penalty box and it was successful.

"They had two draws away from home and lost 1-0 in Seville last season so they have a successful format.

"You need 10 points to qualify and tonight was a blemish for us. We need nine points now from five games.

"If we had won everyone would have said we deserved to - we had a big percentage of the possession - but we didn't make any great chances and our first corner was after about 70 minutes, so you have to give credit to Rangers.

It was a frustrating night for us, I don't know if playing anyone else would have made any difference

Manchester United Sir Alex Ferguson

"We just couldn't get that goal. We passed the ball side-to-side but didn't cut through them."

United struggled to break down a defensive Rangers side, who fielded five defenders in an attempt to suffocate their opponents.

The home side were restricted to only a handful of opportunities, Gibson with a couple of long-range shots while returning striker Wayne Rooney had one half-chance.

"It was a frustrating night for us," said Ferguson. "I don't know if playing anyone else would have made any difference.

"They were well organised and defended so deep, it was difficult to open them up at all.

"We didn't test their goalkeeper at all, apart from a couple of shots straight at him. It was a really difficult night."

Of major concern to Ferguson and United was the injury suffered by Valencia, the Ecuadorian facing a very long spell on the sidelines with a suspected broken ankle.

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see also
Man Utd 0-0 Rangers
14 Sep 10 |  Europe
Valencia may make February return
17 Sep 10 |  Man Utd
Smith defends Gers' Euro tactics
14 Sep 10 |  Rangers
Tuesday football as it happened
14 Sep 10 |  Football
Tuesday's football photos
14 Sep 10 |  Football

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