Chelsea lose and their lead is slashed to two points? Check.
Arsenal embarrassed at home by Newcastle? Check.
Now that’s what I call a good weekend for United! And yet, as the clock ticked round to 4.50pm on Saturday afternoon, it looked like it was going to be the mother of all shockers for the Reds with a poor performance leading to a sixth draw of the campaign. But as Sir Alex’s men have done so many times during his reign, United found a way to win. Indeed, a dramatic late winner was an incredibly fitting way to mark his 24th anniversary as manager.
The drive, desire and will to win of the boss has now been transferred into the DNA of the club. A lot of nonsense has been said and written about “Fergie time” at the end of games but what people tend to forget is that these late winners aren’t the result of luck but of the mentality of the players and the culture of the club. And much of that comes from the boss.
The significance of the result? Well, only time will tell but my MUTV co-commentator Paddy Crerand said that United’s title hopes would have been all but over had Ji-sung Park not found the net, a sobering thought. I’m so pleased for the under-rated Park. He was honest enough to admit that his early season performances weren’t great but he’s improved hugely. And you will not find a more modest footballer.
No one will look back fondly at the performance against Wolves on Saturday but you have to praise United for the ability to overcome adversity. A virus has been sweeping the camp (as I know to my own cost) and with injuries also taking a toll the Reds had to dig incredibly deep to win that game. And don’t forget that the squad didn’t touch down from Turkey until 4.30am on Wednesday morning after a gruelling trip.
Now, the derby looms large. Here’s to the return of some key players on what will be a frantic night at Eastlands. Can