Sir Alex Ferguson is facing up to a "big problem" after admitting his current crop of young players are forcing their way onto his Manchester United teamsheet.
Speaking after the Reds' 3-0 win over Tottenham, the boss said his decision to again start with Danny Welbeck (20), Phil Jones (19) and Tom Cleverley (22) is vindicated by their talent. The side that lined up for kick-off in the first home match of 2011/12 was the second-youngest eleven fielded by Sir Alex since the Premier League began in 1992.
"I'm pleased at that because it tells you we still believe in young players," said Sir Alex. "That's what this club is about and I think all the fans appreciate that, moreso when you see the ability they've got. We've always had confidence to play young players. But this group have such fantastic ability, it forces me to play them really."
Welbeck's ability in the air eventually broke the deadlock against a Spurs side that started well at Old Trafford. "I thought it was a really fast game first half, end to end, and it was very even," said Sir Alex. "Tottenham had a lot of possession but we had some too. But in the second half we just took off and it was a really fantastic performance by us."
The difference between Danny in the first and second half was, according to Sir Alex, partly positional. "I thought in the first half Danny didn't play as a centre forward.. He was too much in midfield, he and Wayne. We stressed at half-time that we needed more of a presence up front, we needed our targets up there and we needed someone to run through. In the second half they were much better that way and it made a difference to our game."