Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson considered marathon fixtures as the only concern for his team that season
Alex Ferguson feared that the sheer quantity of that season’s programme could blunt the quality of a Manchester United team on the brink of greatness. Southampton manager Ian Branfoot was all praise for the Red Devils after the visitors won 3-1 at the Dell and matched the opinion of Ron Atkinson who proclaimed that season’s Manchester United was as good as anything he had seen in football.
But Fergie, delighted with his team’s performance was concerned about the fixture congestion as his team had a five-pronged challenge at the Premier League, European Cup, FA Cup, Coca Cola Cup and the Internationals.
Alex Ferguson said “We’ve played six games already and we are still in August. By Wednesday night a seventh of the league programme is finished. We then have a European cup tie followed by a league cup tie against Stoke with all the league games wedged in between. I have a very strong pool but it means we have to use all of it to get through this season. When you do that, you tinker with the balance and the form of players. But you have to have an eye on the long term. We all know there is too much football, all the managers are making that point. It needs a bit of courage and vision from the people who matter in the game.”
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