In 2010, when Manchester United won 3-0 in a champions League win at Bursaspor, manager Sir Alex Ferguson praised his fringe players after they played a key role in the victory. Questions have been raised over the depth of quality in Ferguson’s squad, with striker Wayne Rooney initially questioning the club’s continued ability to win honors before signing a new contract. Players like Darron Gibson, Gabriel Obertan, Darren Fletcher played in bits and parts when called by the manager but never complained publicly about their playing time.  Sir Alex Ferguson has assured his fringe players they could have a key part to play in Manchester United’s cup and league quest. Fergie knew one of his toughest jobs was keeping all his squad happy and several were gutted when he left them out of match day squads.

Sir Alex Ferguson said “In 1999 I left Paul Scholes out of the quarter-final against Inter Milan, yet he was the one who scored the goal that got us through. I left him out of the semi-final because I couldn’t risk him and Roy Keane together as they were both on yellow cards. He accepted it graciously, came on, got booked and missed the final anyway. What did he do? He didn’t let it affect him. He went on to become one of the greatest players this club has ever had.”

Why are we telling you all this is because currently there is a lot of disharmony and noise coming out from Manchester United dressing room’s fringe players.  After win against Norwich City, Juan Mata admitted it has been a frustrating time for him at Manchester United after shining on a rare start against Norwich. The Spaniard was named in a Premier League starting XI for just the sixth time this season and provided the assists for United’s first and third goals in the 4-0 win.

Juan Mata said “I enjoyed today, it was a great performance from everyone. It is a good example of how good we can play. We need to play like this on a consistent basis if we want to get a Champions League spot. Coming from the right I have space to cross with my left foot. Luckily today Marcus (Rashford) and Anthony (Martial) put the ball in the net. It is frustrating when I don’t play. I am still hungry to help my team with goals and assists. Like every player, when I don’t play I am not happy. But I have to always be available for the team.”

Ashley Young, Manchester  United wing back is unwilling to be a fringe player in squad like Juan Mata and keen to move to Inter in the January transfer window since he is conscious he does not have much time left in the game. Young turns 35 in July. Ashley Young wants to savor one last experience in his career.

Another fringe player, Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic also admitted he could leave the club as he found himself out of favor under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and fourth choice in midfield behind Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay and Fred.

Nemanja Matic said ” I don’t know what to say. I have a contract for another six months, we’ll see in January what’s going to happen. Will I extend the contract or try to find something else? United have some option to extend my contract, but we will see if the plans of the club match my plans. I couldn’t say anything more because I don’t really know either.”


While Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has defended his style of management following recent criticism aimed his way,  he can do a better job at managing fringe players just like his guru.

By Premier League Museum Admin

English Premier League fan since 1992. Travel enthusiast, sports buff and blog writer with deep interest in watching sports - English premier league, American Football, Basketball, Tennis, Cricket.. you name it.. Firm believer in giving back to the community which gives you happiness and identity. My inspiration - “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Teresa

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