– it gives us an advantage over the other teams. I think we’re working with 26 full first-team players now, which is probably the biggest squad in the league.”
Chicharito is perhaps best described as an impact player – sent on from the start to set a high tempo and grab an early goal, or used effectively from the bench when defenders’ legs begin to tire, a tactical change is required or a late winner needed. Naturally, those qualities encourage comparison with another natural finisher from United's past: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. However, Sir Alex feels the two men are different.
“There’s no evidence that Chicharito has been annoyed or disappointed,” he says. “Ole was a very laid-back lad and he could probably handle it quite easily. I’m sure Chicharito wants to play every game. But he has been great. His training performances have been terrific, his enthusiasm to play is brilliant and I have absolutely no issues at all with the lad. He has been absolutely brilliant, a breath of fresh air since the day he came to the club.”
Sir Alex’s challenge is in balancing squad rotation and keeping individuals happy. “The team spirit has been great, it’s been really good all season long,” he says. “When you have got 26 players then managing them and making changes can only happen successfully if the players buy into it and understand that changes have to be made. There is always a time where players pick themselves through form and there have been a few occasions this season when Chicharito has picked himself.”