Sir Alex Ferguson pens his thoughts ahead of every home match for United Review. Even after the event, it makes good reading...
Television posed something of a dilemma for me this weekend with the Champions League match against Porto tonight after our fixture against Aston Villa on Sunday.
I was tempted to try and get the Villa fixture moved to the Saturday but we had so many players away on international duty in places like Bolivia, Rio de Janeiro and Korea, involving some very long and tiring journeys, that I thought it best to go with Sunday.
It’s meant only a two-day preparation but the Villa match was massive for us after losing the previous two League games and we were already up against it with three players suspended.
On the positive side we get those three suspended players back for this evening. They will be fresh and I’m also counting on the atmosphere of a big Euro night to get the adrenalin flowing and give us the energy we will need. Hopefully we got back on the right track in the League against Villa and will go into tonight’s match on the back of a good performance.
There is no doubt that losing two successive games has a big impact, especially if you listen to the critics. From being the greatest team of all time we suddenly went to being the flops of the season. The truth of course lies in between.
As I said before, the plaudits didn’t register with me. It’s what the supporters think that counts and they know that we are in with a chance of winning things. So not a lot has changed and we keep our feet on the ground, play to our usual beliefs and enjoy the challenges.
The fact is that we are in a position to win the League and advance in Europe. That’s where our focus is this evening as we welcome Porto to Old Trafford for what I know will be a difficult game. Porto are a very aggressive team, especially on their own ground. I was thinking of going to see them on Saturday but thought it more important to stay with the team to prepare for the Villa match. It was a peculiar week with so many players away.
Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs were the only senior outfield players still at Carrington and as I watched them train I