All Sir Alex wants for Christmas is a fit defender.
For weeks now, United have been getting away with having severely depleted defensive resources. At Wolfsburg and West Ham and against Wolves it didn’t really matter. But against an in-form, well-organised, hard-working and dangerous Fulham, we came unstuck. (Perhaps we should only play teams beginning with a W!)
In the end, losing seven defenders proved too much to bear and Bobby Zamora ran riot. In our MUTV commentary over the past few years, Paddy Crerand and I haven’t been too kind to Bobby. But he was superb on Saturday. I always thought the nearest he would come to wearing an England shirt was if he bought one in JJB Sports! But not now. He’s got strength, power and a surprisingly good touch. You had to feel a bit sorry for the ever-willing Carrick and Fletcher at the back. And Ritchie de Laet now knows just how tough it is at the top.
It was a real jolt on Saturday. United were second best all over the field. Did you ever imagine you’d hear Fulham fans singing “We want four” in a game against United? Shame, really. Up until 3pm, I was really enjoying my trip to Craven Cottage.
It’s always one of the highlights of the season. A genteel ground on the north bank of the Thames that doesn’t seem to have changed much for decades. The teams actually get changed in the Cottage. There was a Christmas tree of Trafalgar Square proportions at the end of the tunnel. Everyone at the ground is incredibly helpful and friendly, and Diddy David Hamilton is the PA announcer. What’s not to like?
And, of course, United get a massive ticket allocation. The fans in West London on Saturday certainly did United proud. They never stopped singing. If anything, they got louder when it the Reds went 3-0 down. Now that’s real support.
At least the pain was eased by the incredible chaos at City. And good old Rafa seems to be teetering on the brink over at Anfield. But there’s no getting away from the fact that it was a black day.
Now's the time for the squad to show some real character and start reeling off a run of wins. Christmas cheer might be in short supply at Carrington this year but we can put that right when we travel to Hull and back on the 27 December.