“The start of the month, with City away, is a hard one, but then we’ve got Sunderland, Reading, Swansea, West Brom – we’ve got a reasonable programme, so we should be expected to gather some points there.”
Preparation is key, as is managing the fitness and freshness of his players by making use of the squad. “I tend to sit down and plan that with Mick [Phelan] and Rene [Meulensteen],” added the boss. “But the aspects that they look at are different to what I look at. Their concentration tends to be on the game immediately ahead while I’ll have my eye a few more games ahead.”
Subsequently Sir Alex feels that it is a major plus heading into the busy festive period with defensive injury issues receding. “We’ve managed Rio Ferdinand very well. Rio is doing a lot of work throughout the week to get himself ready for games. If we can keep Chris Smalling and Phil Jones fit along with Rio and Jonny Evans – we’ll see how Nemanja Vidic gets on – we’ll have a far better chance.”
Inside United issue 246 is on sale from 5 December. Subscribe at manutd.com/magazine.
"It’s generally a good month for us. We usually get ourselves to the New Year in a challenging position, and that’s where you want to be."
- Sir Alex Ferguson
05 Dec - CFR Cluj (H)
09 Dec - Manchester City (A)
15 Dec - Sunderland (H)
23 Dec - Swansea City (A)
26 Dec - Newcastle (H)
29 Dec - West Brom (H)