Friday, January 30, 2009

Mourinho's Euro Vidic bid fails.......

Despite trying his level best to get Namanja Vidic banned for at least three games, UEFA have not followed the unwelcome advice of Jose Mourinho and those in the media who gave him a platform to promote the idea that the United defender should have received more than a one game ban for his red card in the recent World team Championship Final in Japan.

United fans and Fergie have not forgotten the manner of Mourinho's 2004 Champions League victory while he was in charge of Porto. Ferguson knows that it should have been United in the final and not the Portuguese and so when United face Inter Milan in the knockout round of sixteen the Reds manager will be keen to put one over on Mourinho, who is coming under pressure in Italy following some very poor results of late.

The news of Vidic's one game ban is a welcome relief to the Champions who this weekend face Everton in a Premier League game of huge importance. United need to take advantage of playing 24 hours before their nearest rivals with Chelsea facing Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday. If United can win on Saturday they will temporarily stretch their overnight lead to five points.

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez is, according to the Stretford End, "cracking up", so if United can manage a win against Everton, and the match at Anfield is drawn it will be very interesting to see how the Spaniard and the Liverpool fans react.

Only a few weeks ago, there seemed to be an air over-confidence emanating out of Anfield which was supported by the Merseyside Reds many friends in the media. Word has it that Steven Gerrard was out "celebrating" an important away win on the night of his arrest in Southport. On hearing about this Ferguson ceased upon this news with glee as he promptly told his players in training that Gerrard and the Liverpool players believed they'd won the title already.

Since Liverpool have been toppled from top-spot all of a sudden those who were writing off United - and there were many - have had a reality check. A perfect example of this appeared in the Times this week, the headline to the pro-Liverpool article was "you don't win or lose the title after one game". I could be wrong here, but I strongly suspect the article in question would not have seen the light of day only a few weeks ago when Liverpool and their supporters were getting giddy at the prospect of winning the title.

As for United and the remainder of the season, Ferguson and the players have been talking about the challenges ahead and thus far it seems everyone at Old Trafford is focused on the job of maintaining consistent form, so let us hope that complacency does not creep into the minds of the United players.

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