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Hernandez is Man Utd's rising star

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Phil McNulty | 06:09 UK time, Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Old Trafford

Dimitar Berbatov athletically vaulted over a barrier to avoid discussing his latest exclusion by Manchester United - but he is not finding it as easy to escape the looming shadow of Javier Hernandez.

Berbatov's status as top scorer with 20 goals this season has not protected him from falling victim to the rapid rise of the 22-year-old, who proved his pedigree once more with the two goals that beat Marseille and sent United into the Champions League quarter-finals.

The Bulgarian's quality ensures he will figure prominently as United chase a treble in the closing weeks of the campaign and Sir Alex Ferguson manouevres his attacking resources.

But the performance of the predatory Hernandez in tandem with an improving Wayne Rooney, both in the FA Cup win against Arsenal and in securing a place in the last eight of the Champions League for the fifth season in succession, perhaps provided a signpost to the future for Ferguson.

Javier Hernandez has scored 16 goals in 17 starts for Manchester United

Javier Hernandez has scored 16 goals in 17 starts for Manchester United

Ferguson attempted to keep the lid on his delight about how quickly Hernandez has adapted to the demands in both domestic and European combat - a task in which he did not quite succeed.

Hernandez's instincts eased United through a meeting with Marseille that was anything but routine. Indeed if Didier Deschamps' side had a cutting edge of the sort the Mexican provided, Ferguson could easily have been contemplating the conclusion of this season's European campaign.

Marseille grasped at the hope that they could spring a surprise when Wes Brown headed into his own net seven minutes from time, but United survived thanks to Hernandez.

Ferguson, who wisely sealed a £6m deal with Mexican side Chivas de Guadalajara before Hernandez came to greater prominence in the World Cup in South Africa, said: "I think we are surprised at how fast he has developed. When we bought him we thought he would take some time to adapt.

"First of all his main role was as a substitute and the times he came on he won a few games for us, but now he's used to the physical part and he is lasting the 90 minutes very well. He gives us great options."

The greatest option of all is afforded by the growing evidence that Ferguson has unearthed a natural goalscorer with an ability to plunder goals in the mould of "the baby-faced assassin" Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Hernandez carries more threat of raw pace than the Norwegian did, but the key is in the movement, some of it is magical. As Ferguson pointed out, Hernandez made three runs, checking and moving expertly, to ensure he was in the right place to turn in Rooney's shot for United's first goal.

It looked a simple finish but all the hard work was done before Hernandez completed the formalities, a quality appreciated and noted by Ferguson's eagle eye.

The training grounds of Carrington will hone that talent further but so much of it appears to come as second nature to Hernandez, who has now scored 16 goals for United despite only starting 17 games.

Such is Ferguson's faith in the striker known as "Little Pea" that he has felt comfortable restricting Berbatov to bench duty, even when confronted by opposition of the significance of Arsenal and Marseille.

And as with Solskjaer, no-one should be fooled by the schoolboy appearance and angelic expression. The arch-competitor Gabriel Heinze felt threatened enough to deploy his expertise in the dark arts, only to discover painfully that Hernandez was equally willing to give as to receive.

Heinze is not the defensive warrior of days gone by, but old instincts remain and he looked startled, not to mention a little embarrassed, to be dumped uncermoniously on his backside in one exchange.

The added bonus for Ferguson is Hernandez's burgeoning relationship with Rooney who, while not back to his best yet, showed encouraging signs against Marseille that his touch is returning.

Playing just off Hernandez in the role befitting his number 10 jersey, Rooney brilliantly created his first goal and excelled throughout with his perfect weight of pass. They were instrumental in the defining moments of United's FA Cup win against Arsenal and Marseille were similarly punished.

If Ferguson was able to gain satisfaction from United's attacking play, he was left to sift through the wreckage of rapidly diminishing defensive resources as victory came at a heavy price.

Already without the injured Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, United lost both John O'Shea and Rafael to hamstring injuries, prompting questions about whether Ferguson was tempted to ask Gary Neville to make a hasty return from retirement to cover the emergency.

Ferguson rejected the notion, but the manner in which Marseille troubled United's reshuffled rearguard throughout gave off ominous signals unless the Scot can get his defence back to something like full strength soon.

Greater European tests lie ahead and United's defence will need to be in better shape than it was against Marseille to survive them, although a bullish Rooney insists he would welcome a meeting with favourites Barcelona.

This win was another tribute to the remarkable resilience and inner-strength United have shown this season. Even their biggest admirers may accept this has not been a vintage year and Ferguson must rebuild in the summer - and yet they are top of the Premier League, in the FA Cup semi-final and now the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

And Ferguson is relishing his latest fight against the world. After taking Kenny Dalglish and Graham Taylor to task in his match notes for the Arsenal FA Cup tie on Saturday, the latest lesson was delivered to Marseille coach Didier Deschamps.

Ferguson wrote: "I hope also that we can show Didier Deschamps that despite his suggestion that our present side doesn't have as much 'fantasy' compared with our team of a few years ago, we are still capable of producing our fair share of magic.

"I take his point because the side that captured the unique Treble was something quite special, but don't underestimate the boys of today."

One of the boys of today who can no longer be underestimated is the bargain buy Hernandez - the Mexican who could be on his way to making himself another Old Trafford icon as a natural successor to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

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  • Comment number 1.


    I'm interested to know where the emergence of Little Pea leaves Berbatov. Undoutadely he is a hugely talented player and shall we not forget he is the leagues top scorer. But I can't help think Hernandez is more true to Uniteds counter attacking instinct. He has blistering pace, knows how to score and alongside Rooney, a fully fit Valencia and an ever improving Nani could be part of a really vibrant attacking United. Where this leaves Berbatov I don't know. There was talk of a huge pay rise for Berbatov but he doesn't strike me as the kind of player happy to sit on the bench. Could he be on his way out at the end of the season?

  • Comment number 2.

    Man U for life!!!!!

  • Comment number 3.

    This article does justice to Hernandez but it's rather flattering.
    Last night, we witnessed the weaknesses in United. Brown and Smalling were not communicating, making the team look vulnerable, quite a few times. If high blood pressure is on the increase in the UK, the Glazers are a prime candidate for allocating responsibility.

    Before the two ties, I thought it was a tie United would go through with relative ease. Marseille didn't look that much of a threat. Their low scoring on their league was justified yesterday but, all night long, my mind was going to some last minute 2-2 draws.

    I'm looking forward to seeing Ferdinand and Vidic back in central defense and Nani with Valencia both on the wings. Rooney turned to a provider last night and Hernandez was the executioner but Marseille had a fair share in domination and most chances - not in France but in Old Trafford. Alarm bells are ringing for United.

  • Comment number 4.

    phil, i thought we were a club in decline?

    'This is a side producing a growing body of evidence, of which this defeat was the latest example, that it is reaching the end of the line in its current form.'


  • Comment number 5.

    Hernandez is quickly turning into the biggest plus of our season and one of Sir Alex's best bargain's. (however that has to be balanced with the somewhat shocking addittion's of Obertan and Bebe!!)

    Hernandez has been exciting to watch as a fan this year and although one should not get carried away he has probably been the best thing since Ronaldo (no I am not saying he is as good as him!) but the boy has an enthusiasm and hunger for the game that is lacking in other areas of our pitch, which is why its not as "fantasy" as 3-4 years ago, but he gives United pace, movement and a threat that even Berbatov can't with all his goals.

    Hernandez is always willing to make run's but doesnt through a strop if he doesnt get the ball, it's refreshing to see someone playing with a smile on his face when playing the game, there doesnt seem to many happy players in these cynical times of the EPL.

    With Berbatov he has talent but is so frustrating to watch, he can be brilliant or completely non-existant and your never sure what you will get, you know Hernandez might not have the tricks but he will keep making runs and space for others for 90 minutes (although he does appear better coming off the bench in classic Ole style!!)

    I dont think we will win the Champions League this year, we are just not good enough at the back and midfield, but at least Hernandez is a sign of step in the right direction and along with improving players like Nani we show potential.

    Its nice to have a natural goalscorer in the team again!!

  • Comment number 6.

    @ 4 fabiofabiofabio,

    Did you enjoy the match last night? Weren't you worried at all during the match?

    1. In defense, Brown and Smalling need extra training in communicating with each other - they gave scoring opportunities to Marseille that had we had a better opponent we'd have lost.
    2. Didn't you find it strange for United to be missing creativity so baddly in midfield? Where were those waves of attacks time after time, we're used to?
    3. Did the bench look formidable in your eyes? Once upon a time, United had two almost equally good teams of first XI available. Now we pray for Giggs and Scholes not to tire at an age they'd be retired had we had better options.

    Supporting United shouldn't make us blind in viewing the truth. United are in decline. If we win the title this season, it wouldn't be because we are strong in the second half of the season, neither will it be because we're mavericks in attacking. It would all be because we have an ever lasting genius managing the club.

  • Comment number 7.

    @ Football_UK

    shhhhhhhh, dont you know us United fans, we aren't actually allowed to criticise our team objectivly, apparently we aren't REAL fans in less we say we are "THE BESTEST TEAM EVEAR!!" and wear rose tinted specs!!

  • Comment number 8.

    Chicharito is the next big thing but his success will depend workhorses like Rooney who do the supply. Nani would have been another talent but he is soooo mean with the ball when close to goals that he is starting to negate his rise.

    Berbatov's undoing is his pace, he slows the whole team but his goal scoring has been helpfull to United this season. I wonder if Fergie will one day place Rooney, Harnandes and Berba at ago!!

  • Comment number 9.

    It is fantastic to see Javier Hernandez's performances being rewards with a starting position. His movement and pace is already amongst the best in the EPL.

    I do wonder though how SAF is going to manage all his strikers at his disposal... we already have Rooney, Chico and Berba but we will also have Kiko Macheda, Danny Welbeck and Diouf to come back. Owen is debateable I guess.

    On the game itself I was actually pleased to see Carrick have a decent game. He did well retaining the ball and committing to tackles a bit more. Not to mention passes that were going forward for a change!

    Defensively we are now looking more suspect. I hope though that Fabio will get a run in the side, he certainly looks as good as his brother.

  • Comment number 10.

    Rooney's best position is the playmaker traditional number 10 role. I know he scored 40 odd goals for club and country last season and this next statement may seem daft but he aint a natural goalscorer! Hernandez is. Got a very good feeling about this partnership. Watch them go next season. 50 goals between them. DEST19Y

  • Comment number 11.


    Oh what rubbish you write.

    1 Of course, there was bad communication at the back. I reckon Smalling and Brown have had one game together, ever. If we had Rio and Vidic or Vidic and Smalling it would have been a different matter.

    2 Everyone knows the midfield isn't great but we are missing Fletcher, Anderson, Park and Hargreaves. Nani obviously isn't 100% and nor is Valencia.

    3 As for the bench, do you remember more than 5 years ago, having Jordi Cruyff, Luke Chadwick, Quinton Fortune, Kieran Richardson, Alan Smith, Karel Poborski? Formidable eh?

    What we have now is a good side without the magic of a Ronaldo or young Giggs, the free kicks of a Beckham or the steel of a Keane or Robson.

  • Comment number 12.

    @ 7 AJBullet,

    It wasn't criticism to the team. Last night, United did the best they could with both central defenders missing, Fletcher and Park - the lungs of midfield missing and with no right full back for most of the match, with both Giggls and Scholes in, for the duration of the match.

    The team won and this was an applaud to the winning spirit instilled in them by SAF over the years. Just. If I was criticising anyone it was Gill for reassuring us, time after time, that funds are available if transfers are needed, implying that SAF is happy with what's available. Who are they kidding? If there's a challenge for SAF this season is to win the premiership with a lesser team, in comparison to previous United sides.

    With the defense line available, United have stability and security at the back, especially with the presense of Van der Sar behind them. With the presense of Nani, Valencia, Rooney and Hernandez, United have blistering pace up front. To take advantage of it, though, you need creativity in midfield.

    We witness Giggs not being always accurate and Scholes being more frequently than other years clumsy. It is all because the mind wants and knows how, but those legs start getting tired. I don't want to remember Giggs and Scholes the way many will remember Garry Neville, that is the last season where he wanted to give but couldn't. All three of them are legends but Glazers use them as a sponge that gets squizzed and dollars are transfered in USA. And that is a fact.

  • Comment number 13.

    And why do people keep saying that Obertan's transfer was "shocking". He was a 3M punt. I bet he could be sold for 3M now to someone like Fulham or Stoke and he would be a success without the expectation of Man Utd and 70,000 fans watching him.

    Bebe at 7M was an odd one I admit.

  • Comment number 14.

    P.s @4... Very droll. Love it. In decline since '92! Am stealing that ha ha

  • Comment number 15.

    Still think that Hernandez gets out-muscled at times, which Solskjaer rarely did, but there's no doubt he's real poacher - how Arsenal would love to have such a clinical finisher available to them! I thought United's star turn last night, though, was Rooney. He's been used up front and wide left this year, but I think he is relishing this role where he drops off into midfield and creates from there; I think this could well be his role in the coming years - certainly, he has the eye for a killer pass as he showed last night. As for the defence, I think United must get Vidic at least fit for the run-in as Wes Brown and John O'Shea are really just squad players and not good enough to start regularly. I doubt that this side is good enough to win the Champions League this year, but the Premiership and FA Cup shouldn't be beyond them. The real issue for a long time now has been the lack of a creative midfielder but with Rooney dropping into midfield and Valencia back on the right flank, there may be less pressure on Carrick and Scholes to make things happen from deep. Even so, some serious re-building will need to happen this summer - Scholes may well retire, Carrick is not good enough any more, Gibson never has been good enough and Fletcher will run all day but doesn't offer much in creative terms. A seriously talented bunch of youngsters (Pogba, Tunnicliffe, Morrison, Keane) is coming through the Academy right now, but in the short term, I think that United need to bring in a marquee midfielder in the Snejder/Modric mould if they want to compete at the very top of the European game.

  • Comment number 16.

    @4 & 6

    I didn't enjoy the game last night, primarily because I can't handle it when United play their home leg second having drawn away! Take away that aspect and I think you are both right in slightly different ways.

    Sections of the media would lke to consider that United are 'in decline' or that it's 'only a matter of time' before a wheel falls off, they don't qualify for the ECL, debt hands like a millstone and it all ends in heartbreak and relegation. I'm not saying Phil McNulty is in that camp but, let's face it, he runs with the foxes.

    Phil has written, in summation, that it is all over for United this season - but look at where they are. No, not the prettiest football, not the most convincing of wins some times (some irritating draws) but top of the league, semi-finals of the FA Cup, Quarter Finals of the ECL; E Gad, how good would they be in a successful season?

    United do need something in midfield to fill the Keane (Hargreaves) / Scholes roles. Could one of those be Rooney? Much was made that United had 7 defenders in the team on Saturday.....did it look like that when they broke?! I think the twins can give us a different option in how the team forms up and it was really good to see that - and could come out of a similar mould to Gareth Bale's shift from Jonah-Left back to 'one of the best in the world'.

    Brown / Smalling - yes, better communication might be a key, but lots of us said, two weeks ago with Vidic suspended, that the pair had four days to learn to play together. It's not like they are ever likely to be a first choice pairing and it could be considered unfortunate that they are paired in the centre at all, but they could have done worse.

    My own perspective is that 'all' we need is a midfield general (and a new VDS of course); Giggs and Scholes still merit their places (and then some!) but we have enough cover for Giggs that will, eventually, also gain some of his experience. There's paper talk about Modric who might also step into Scholes' boots, but the team is not in such reduced circumstances as some might wish.

    I do like that 'United in decline since 1992', although personally I'd make the watershed 1993!

  • Comment number 17.

    @ 12 Football_UK

    I agree with pretty much all you say, but it does seem that some corners of United fans wish to bury their heads of these facts and I was just mocking the fact that I have been pulled up on many occassions for making these and similar comments and branded as a NON-fan. I was not actaully having a go at you, I was actaully agreeing with you! Apologies for misunderstanding, my bad.

    @ 13

    Because Obertan is shocking for £3M!! I doubt you will find anyone willing to take him off our hands for that much!

    Its not so much about the money just the fact you or I could have played a couple of games for United at OT, been shocking, but have happy memories of the day, with the same outcome and would have done it for a 10th of that money!!!

    His step-overs are so sloooooooooow they look rediculous.

  • Comment number 18.

    @ 11 AndYouCanPrintThat,

    I wouldn't use a similar vocabulary containing words like 'rubbish', but I will remind you that a tiny little bit ago United had Ronaldo, Rooney, Tevez and Berbatov. Giggs and Scholes were younger and, when it comes to that "two teams available", research it. You seem young enough.

    Brown is a golden player for United when back up is needed. Smalling looks like the best prospect in central defense for England. However, last night it was a match that was leading to the Champions League quarter finals. If you couldn't see that our defenders were not communicating, then I'm either deep asleep or be wrong by miles in the opinion I expressed.

    Hargreaves? How old are you? :)

    Don't write things like "What we have now is a good side without the magic of a Ronaldo or young Giggs, the free kicks of a Beckham or the steel of a Keane or Robson.". They bring melancholy to many United fans.

  • Comment number 19.

    @ 17 AJBullet,

    I didn't take it persunally :)
    It was crystal clear. I even laughed reading the shhhhh bit :)

    Lets hope that in the quarter finals we'll be able to see Ferdinand with Vidic in defense, Valencia with Nani on the wings, Rooney with Hernandez to complete the speedy counter attack of United, in order to be able to enjoy more watching United.

    Last night, I was stuck on my seat for the wrong reasons. We were lucky.

  • Comment number 20.

    Chicarito is certainly one of the great prospects in world football...a natural finisher blessed with fantastic anticipation, composure, movement and pace. Berbatov is a great player but it is only a matter of time before Hernandez is an automatic starter for United.
    And to people moaning about Smalling and Brown's performance...
    Smalling is a classy player 'the new rio'.. just watch him grow.
    Wes is playing ok and with a couple more games after being out so long will be back in the groove of things.
    We were better than Marseilles and even if they had taken their chances..i have little doubt united would have taken the game to them and got the necessary winner.. the only reason last night seemed more nervous was the fear of the dreaded and ridiculous away goal rule... why this rule was ever created is beyond me..

  • Comment number 21.

    Although it is apparent that United have been lacking creativity in midfield over the last season or two I still feel that Rooney is at least half of the answer to filling the void. He has never been an out and out striker in my opinion (although he obviously knows how to score) and for the last 3 or so years I have always seen him as the attacking midfielder that Scholes used to be, sitting behind one or two strikers and linking play, with late timed runs in the box. Rooney has vision, has always been able to pick out a 40 yard pass (maybe not quite to the standard of Scholes - but close as last night proved again on several occassions) he has vision, great technique, and cant tackle to save his life! perfect! I also think dropping back to be more creative would take the pressure off of him having to respond to the press with at least one goal every week just to stave off the Rooneys lost it comments. The amount of assists Rooney has this season is also strength enough to back up the fact that he should be the central focal point of our attack with Valencia and Nani either side of him.

  • Comment number 22.

    Has he actually scored in any big games yet? maybe against mediocre french teams in the CL and the likes of stoke in the PL, but against Chelsea recently, it was as if he wasn't even on the pitch!

  • Comment number 23.

    i see AgentC53 is also converting to this way of thinking...

  • Comment number 24.

    Oh yeah, and his nickname, have you ever heard anything more pathetic? managers and commentators calling him Chicarito! his name's hernandez.

  • Comment number 25.

    @ 24 messien,

    do you have a problem with what nickname United fans give to United's players? :)

  • Comment number 26.

    22...well its not as if Chicarito has played that many minutes in most of our big games so far...he scored against chelsea in the shield tho...and you can say he did score at Anfield.... scoring away at Valencia too who are not that mediocre..

    anyway...16 goals in 17 starts.... it seems fairly indiscriminate who he scores against...Didnt people used to say the same about Ronaldo...rubbish player he was (cough!)

  • Comment number 27.

    Hernandez has been really impressive. His movement, pace, finishing are all excellent. He was brilliant last night and he really gave Utd another option. It's scary to think how good he could become. And Ole Solskjaer, what a player. I think I remember him coming off the bench and scoring three or four against Barnsley (that could be wrong!) he was the best natural finisher I think ive ever seen. Well him and Shearer. It's a shame he had so many injuries, he had the talent to be one of the best in the world.


  • Comment number 28.

    not to mention his exploits against in the world cup for Mexico and even a goal for Mexico against the mighty spain this season too!

  • Comment number 29.

    i bet phil you don't rate hernandez as highly as suarez (no goals, unless you count a stoke own goal as his) and andy carroll (crocked, no goals).

  • Comment number 30.

    For me Berbatov would never play in a game like last nights, His job is to unlock the defences when teams park the bus, when it is open then the running players can do the job. A few seasons ago if plan A didn't work there was no plan B, Berbatov is plan B. There will be plenty of tight games where his particular skills will be required and he will deliver. The anti united brigade, such as McNulty, are always trying to create trouble in the squad, creating division where there is none, with the blind hope that it may unsettle the team. But in the modern squad era you need options and different styles of play to suit to conditions.
    As for the defence, more than happy with Smalling, another assured performance, he is really coming on and for all the, deserved, talk about Hernandez Smalling is a star in the making. Wes Brown has been a worry this season though making too many silly mistakes. But get one of Ferdinand, vidic or even Evans back and we will be back to clean sheets.
    As for the midfield, ok last night although Scholes for all his great play is getting leggy towards the end of games now, and Carrick is giving the ball away too much and seems to lost his gift for a great pass. I think that with a replacement for VDS, which is sad but eneveitable, we need one experienced midfielder, possibly Sweinsteiger to boost the centre and we will be fine.
    United "in deline since '93" lol

  • Comment number 31.

    Hernandez's quality comes from his pace, agility and eye for a goal and has rightly been compared with Michael Owen. I don't think he's as good as Owen at the same age but if he avoids the terrible injury problems then he's going to be a superb asset to Man U.

    Rooney played like a 35 year old last night with great awareness, skill, unselfishness and composure. Given his passing ability and tendancy to come deep for the ball I agree with one or two posts above that he could be used as an attacking midefielder to accomodate Berbatov and Hernandez.

  • Comment number 32.

    Personally I feel that Berbatov is a great asset for Man U, not only because of the number of goals that he has scored but also because of the confidence that oozes off him on the pitch and the respect that the opposition has towards him and thus he should be retained in the squad no matter what. The best thing that Sir Alex could do is to partner Hernandez, Rooney and Berbatov alternatively depending on the sort of oppositon and circumstances because after all Berbatov is much more experienced that Hernandez(but no offense to hernandez who I am sure is going to be a great footballer internationally). After all hasn't Rooney featured constantly in the squad this season despite his lean form??

    Also look at the clubs that have done well this season like Barcelona and Real Madrid and even Man City and a common feature of them has been the availability of several top quality strikers throughout so that they could rotate their attackers and make them less predictable.

    Best luck to Man U and I whole heartedly wish and pray that they win the champions league, premier league and the FA Cup because sure as hell they deserve it due to the resilience and determination they showed throughout the season despite the countless injuries and the lack of big money purchases(compared to sides like Liverpool and Man City).

  • Comment number 33.

    @ 30.

    I agree with everything you say but get Evans back? Awful defender who makes far too many mistakes - he was the main reason West Ham knocked us out the Carling Cup and I am extremely pleased that Smalling has taken the spot of first choice for cover as Evans is a mistake happening.
    Im certainly not a negative supporter I just think he's had his chance and for all his promise he looks nothing like the standard that Smalling is appearing to be.

    Had to get that off my chest...

  • Comment number 34.

    I'm the biggest admire of Chicharito's heading ability. But yesterday were two tap-ins, for crying out loud! What's with this sensationalistic bs lately, Phil?

  • Comment number 35.

    The end of this season is probably the best time to sell Berbatov!
    Reasons being is that he has had a good goal scoring season and I think if we want to get the most amount of money for him then this season will be best time to sell him for a fee of around £20 million I would say and buy a striker like Benzema or Lorente or Gignac.Or get a midfielder like Sweinsteiger or Sneijder.
    As for people saying we are in decline!Hahahahaha is all I can say!
    If we are in decline then what does that say about the other teams in the league?
    Top of the league, Semis of FA Cup after beating both Liverpool and Arsenal and possibly Man City if we go on to win it and the 1/4 Finals of the Champions League. If you ask me that is good going for a team on the 'Decline'. You dont have to play amazing, spectacular football to win things as Arsenal have proved in the last 5 years.
    Manchester is Red and always will be and with the proposed money the Glazers have promised in the summer to buy players then we will get stronger. We had limited resources this season and not that much money next season we will have money for players and SAF will spend it wisely.

  • Comment number 36.


    Yeah that Ronaldo never turned up in the BIG games ever.

    He would only score against mid table teams like Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea....and the Carling Cup final and the FA Cup final.........................and every single round of the Champions League including the final!!


  • Comment number 37.

    @ 35,

    sell Berbatov and buy Gignac?
    He couldn't score with an empty net in front of him, last night. Thanks to him we won. And, as others have pointed out, what about a plan B' in attack? :)

  • Comment number 38.

    Anyone notice that 606 has disappeared? Or is it just me? Had no where else to post this.

  • Comment number 39.

    Plan B would be awful aswell... no pace ;)

  • Comment number 40.

    34..... its not sensationalistic....what stands out from Chicarito is his ability to be in the right place at the right time etc.... it is the timing of his runs in alliance with his speed which mean that he and he alone will be the one scoring those goals....or rather, he will score more than most other strikers...the first goal for example...if he had run in any earlier or later he woulda been offside or 2nd to the ball...

  • Comment number 41.

    I think comparing Hernandez to Ole, is a bit of a disservice to Hernandez. Ole was great, but more often than not was a super sub. He seemed to need to watch the match from the bench before coming on and scoring. Hernandez is more complete as a footballer. Berbatov was restricted to the Bench last night becuause the right Back position took up 3 players, and Nani was so rubbish he had to be subsituted by valencia. I don't think Berba has anything to fear, the great United teams of the past 20 years have always had 3 or 4 strikers vying for the top role. If anything the return of valencia, the 'emergence' of little pea, the good form of Berbatov, Roo 'apparently' getting back his form after being burnt out at the end of last season, all bode well for Uniteds run it. It won't be easy. Vidic will be back quickly, Fabio can do a job, Brown scares me. But Van der sar has put in two really good performances lately. I am pretty positive, but I wouldn't fancy our chances on last nights performance against Barca.

  • Comment number 42.

    HMMurdock...606 in the last 24hours seems to have moved from the start screen on the bbc website....if u really wanna go in, just google bbc sport 606 and ull find it!
    im sure bbc will fix that problem in due course

  • Comment number 43.

    38. At 08:49am on 16 Mar 2011, HMMurdoch wrote:
    Anyone notice that 606 has disappeared? Or is it just me? Had no where else to post this.


    All I can say is "good morning" :)

  • Comment number 44.

    As a Spurs fan, i can only dream of where our season would have gone if we had signed this guy. Despite the obvious OGS comparisons, i think with his physical presence and enthusiasm he is more like Tevez, yet far more clinical. Hernandez is just a great player, and one of the few in the modern era i would pay to watch

  • Comment number 45.

    Thanks pezzerman.

  • Comment number 46.

    Anyone else notice how Rooney has recently adopted a more Scholes-esque of past role recently? Holding back and attacking from deep and happy to spray the ball long to the feet of Hernandez/Nani. I am really enjoying him in this role and think it has been a touch of Genius from Sir Alex, possibly in an attempt to reignite his hunger.

    As for Hernandez, what more can the guy do to receive genuine acclaim from people? Torres in his first season was touted as the best CF in the world because of how quickly he adapted to the PL. Hernandez can only get better and with him the future is bright.

    Anyone who says United are a team in decline are simply deluded. Admittedly the standard hasnt been great this season hence we are top of the PL etc etc but that winners mentality is there in abundance and i believe that with the introduction of one or 2 new players (particularly midfielders) and this team could go on to the heights of the previous treble winning team.

  • Comment number 47.

    I think the article is a bit harsh on United. Yes *if* Marseilles took their chances then they would have caused problems, but it works the other way too - the two goals were not United's only chances either.

    Obviously the team is not 100% at the moment, but that is because we have a severely patched up defence, and the back up players are never going to be as fluid/consistent as the regular players. They did, however come in and do the job that was required, which is all you can ask.

    I am a bit concerned about the defensive crisis that is developing (like last year, only later in the season), and hoping some of the changes last night were just precautionary and not longer term injuries otherwise, this could potentially jeopardise our trophy challenges....

  • Comment number 48.

    Ive lost count how many times fans, pros & pundits have wrote us off this season, and yet are made to eat their words. It brings a smile to my face every time i read the latest man utd put down, yet here we are, top of the league, FA cup semi final and champions league quarter finalists.

    We have something in abundance that most teams, especially arsenal dont have, bottle, desire and fight to win games. Blend that with the quality of berba, nani, rooney and chicharito and it amazes me how or why people continue to right us off.

    at your peril folks. we'll be laughing in May dont you worry!

  • Comment number 49.

    Man Utd will not win the CL this year, in my opinion they were lucky to qualify last night, had they been playing a side who took there chances Man Utd would have been losing before half time, too many missed opportunities for Marseille from a shocking Man Utd defence.

    Of course happy they did qualify, as I am for all British teams, I just dont think they will be able to grind their way this year to lifting this trophy, you usually need something special to win this, and they just dont look like they are special enough to do so. I actually believe Spurs and Chelsea have a better chance of winning the CL this year than Man Utd.

    As for Hernandez, he has a very promising future at the club.

  • Comment number 50.

    Highlighting Hernandez for praise by Phil McNulty from what we witnessed last night was the best choice available, really.

    Many people forget that he just arrived at the premiership from a different continent with a different style of play. Still, it didn't stop him display excellent skills on moving off the ball, excellent positional awareness and score 16 times out of 17 starts.

    Hernandez has the right arena in front of him, to write history as a footballer.

  • Comment number 51.

    What a fantastic result and any united fan who says we werent lucky last night is deluded as marseille had chances they should of taken and too many IMO,

    However that is exactly what ive loved about us this season grinding out results riding our luck and keeping our heads up regardless of what anyone says,

    And in truth its been nice that we are constantly being written off it takes some of the pressure off and the big stars have something to prove which most of the season they have!! Bring on Shaktar MUFC!!!

  • Comment number 52.

    Football_UK shows that we see games differently.

    He should appreciate that Brown and Smalling haven't played together many times and they were playing in a very tense situation where winning was a must. Considering the result earned we should appreciate that Brown and Smalling a comendable job for the club. Rio and Vidic are human beings get injured and also get tired just like any other players, they need to rest and the team has to continue playing.

    May be we should address the cm where we have tired legs of Giggs and Scholes, nor longer performing to the standard , but when we have all others injured we have to bear with them. SAF seems to be satisfied with the even if thier performance is clearly below par and they continue to make scholl boys errors, but as long as the team doesn't loose he'll keep playing them.

  • Comment number 53.

    @22 : One of your defenders was busy elbowing when he didn't have the ball, Terry's already rubbing his influence on him, but maybe that's what Carlo wants (nothing wrong with that though).

    It's still a bit early to judge Hernandez. The signs are good enough given it's his first season. Comparing him to Solskjaer is way off the mark because OGS has spent so many years with us and always had that impact on games whenever he came in as a substitute, it'd be fair to see how Hernandez does over a period of at least 2 seasons before making any definitive judgement. Of course : the media just love hyping everything out of proportion, especially the english one.

    Yesterday was a classic show of this season's United side : we can't play anything like a great side but remain (somehow) pretty clinical when a chance comes. Most of the time, since we've had our bad moments only recently...

    Given that we put the pair of Brown and Smalling out there, we did rather well in the circumstances of the game, although Brown did his very best to spoil everything. Smalling is a bit young to start marshalling the whole defence on his own, but he looks willing to learn from Rio in that respect so we'll see if he progresses in the coming years. The midfield was good for the time Scholes wasn't tired, but Rooney started operating deeper and we managed to negate Carrick's uselessness a bit.

    There's no way this side will go past the QF stage, or we would need a string of gigantic miracles (and all the players back fit). I'd be pretty happy if we just focused on the PL, the FA Cup would be a bonus but the CL is not a realistic target for this year in my humble opinion.

  • Comment number 54.

    One of the hidden highlights of last night was Michael Carrick's 93% pass completion ratio (54/58).

    I should imagine it's been a long while since he racked up that kind of figure, and if he can stay at that level for the rest of the season, he'll make our lives a lot easier.

  • Comment number 55.

    # 34 - I'm the biggest admire of Chicharito's heading ability. But yesterday were two tap-ins, for crying out loud! What's with this sensationalistic bs lately, Phil?

    The reason Hernandez scores tap-ins is because his initial movement is so sharp that it takes him into positions where the finish becomes a formality. Don't be deceived; he does all the hard work before the ball ever comes to him. It's instinct - I'm not sure you can coach it.

    #41 - Don't agree about Hernandez and Ole; I think OGS was far stronger than Hernandez though not as quick. It was Ole's 'misfortune' to spend much of his time at United competing with 3 other top strikers for a place - Hernandez doesn't have such strong competition. In any case, Hernandez still has a long way to go before he matches Solskjaer's impact - he's made a good start, but that's all at this stage, so let's retain some perspective here.

    Agree with # 24 about Hernandez' nickname - according to MUTV, the player himself wants to be known as 'Chicharito' and it's quite hilarious to hear people like Paddy Crerand and Viv Anderson trying to get their tongues round it. In the end, I think he'll probably accept that most people in the UK prefer to call him Hernandez because it's easier to say and because to English ears 'Chicharito' sounds like Venezuelan budgie food or a character from a Speedy Gonzalez cartoon. We went through this a few years back with Jordi Cruyff who didn't want to live in his old man's shadow (yeah, good luck with that, Jordi). He spent his first season with 'Jordi' across the back of his shirt, then re-appeared the following year with 'Cruyff' instead and I suspect it'll be the same with Hernandez...

  • Comment number 56.


    Well, he scored against you lot in the Charity Shield, which I should imgine you'd have counted as a big match if you'd won it.

    He scored away against Valencia, who were top of the Spanish league at the time.

    He scored at Anfield and Villa Park.

    Oh, and are you talking about the same 'mediocre' French side that beat your lot in the group stage?

  • Comment number 57.

    why cant we win the champions league? For all arsenals passing ability, they really never displayed that part of their game against barca, opting for a counter attacking game and they were only one goal away from beating them.

    I think man uniteds counter attacking game is far superior to that of arsenals especially if we have nani, valencia, hernandez and rooney playing.

    obviously barca would be big favourites but its not as black and white as people have been making out. Barca havent been rolling teams over lateley as they had been earlier in the season, especially not in europe

  • Comment number 58.


    Yeh, and while we're at it, let's insist that everyone calls Ramires 'do Nascimento' and David Luiz should be called 'Marinho'. Oh, and Alex is 'Da Costa'.

    No, didn't think so.

  • Comment number 59.

    Marseilles yes. No. Man U through. Allez les diables rouges. Little Pea made Heinz(e) look a has Bean

  • Comment number 60.

    This boy will be top class, coming from a different continent and much lower quality players around him to step up and produce 16 goals in 17 games is a magical start to his United career, one of the types of players I love to see, always in the right place at the perfect time, gifted with pace in abundance and capable of a magical moment of improvisation such as the back header v Stoke. Rooney was top drawer last night aswell all in all a good night apart from the shaky defence

  • Comment number 61.

    i think Barca would be the worst team we could have for the next round... id prefer to have them in the semi's if we were able to get that far as we have Man city in the cup, 1st leg of the Champions league tie, Everton, Arsenal, champions league 2nd leg and then chelsea (or something similar to that). Its the hardest run in of the title contenders but we seem to love it that way...

  • Comment number 62.

    A very jealous Newcastle fan in peace.

    It's about time this lad got some recognition. Suarez plays a few great games for Liverpool and everyone is raving about him. Hernandez has been in and out of the Man United team and deserves the high praise he's getting.

  • Comment number 63.

    An absorbing game with two good teams and a player who stands out as total fantasy, whatever Deschamps might say in sour grapes.

    His inventiveness is a joy to watch, especially THAT header at Stoke, a goal that Deschamps and most other footballers could only dream of scoring.

    The boy done good is an understatement !!

  • Comment number 64.

    Side in transition. We've been here about 4 times now in the Fergie era which is why he towers above all the others in the game past and present incuding Wenger,Sir Matt,Cloughie and Paisley. He doesnt always get it right and this certainly isnt a Champions League winning side yet but Hernandez and Smalling are proving inspirational signings, Bebe and Obertan less so. The players coming back from loan : (Welbeck/Cleverley/Macheda/Douf) will probably allow them to move on along with Gibson and Evans who have not matured into their roles plus Hargreaves and Owen exits without noticing the difference. An attacking midfielder plus VDS replacement and Rodwell will complete the task in my opinion and will give Fergie has last CL/Double winning squad before retirement..

  • Comment number 65.

    Morning everyone.

    To Football_UK...I think I have addressed the issue of United's defence and I must be blunt - if they had that same defence out against a more clinical side than Marseille they would be in big trouble. Do like Chris Smalling though. He will be a big player for the future.

    Ferguson will hope Ferdinand and Vidic will be back for the next round, but once again it is tribute to United's inner strength that they found a way to win.

    And to fabiofabiofabio...I stand by every word of what I wrote after the Liverpool defeat. Come what may this season, United's side needs rebuilding, especially in central midfield and obviously in the goalkeeping position with Van der Sar retiring.

    No problems with Hernandez though. What a bargain at £6m. And a dilemma, a nice one, with Berbatov on the sidelines.

    The way Hernandez worked with Rooney, who was vastly improved again dropping a little deeper, will have delighted Sir Alex Ferguson and I can see this being used more regularly.

    Are the comparisons with Solskjaer fair or is that too much too early?

    Let me put the question to United fans...who would you use up front if you reached the Champions League final? Would you go with Berbatov or Hernandez.

    Debate all aspects of United's win here. The floor is yours.

  • Comment number 66.

    What a terrible blog.

    A natural successor to Solskjaer, a man who played his last meaningful season in 2004?

    It is a very cheap comparison. Just because they both look very youthful in the face? That's just like saying Berbatov is the natural successor to Andy Cole because they both have black hair.

    Hernandez looks to be a very good player, but the similarity with Solskjaer ends there. Solskjaer was a superior footballer, with a vast array of skills and was far more than the poacher that Hernandez excels as. Watching Hernandez, he sniffs out the chances brilliantly, but his approach play is quite scruffy and his passing is not as crisp as the Norwegian.

    Solskjaer was often deployed as a right winger under ferguson in the absence of Beckham and was an excellent enough footballer to make this transition comfortably, something I doubt Hernandez could do as well as the Norwegian.

    I am by no way meaning to undermine the talent of Hernandez, as he is going to be an excellent goalscorer, but he is a lot more Michael Owen than he is Solskjaer. To support this, he is excellent in the air for his frame rather than size, something that was never a strong point for his "Predecessor"

  • Comment number 67.

    Hernandez is a TRUE bargain in today's market. The Old Trafford scouting system can still spot a talent. Will be interesting to see how Hernandez progresses season on season. It took Ronaldo three seasons to consistantly produce for United, so the fact that Hernandez has adapted so quickly is quite something. Good luck to him.

    Berbatov... Despite the goals this season, I'm always left a little unconvinced by him. I think he will remain a part of the United squad for two reasons. One, Ferguson paid a lot of money for him. Two, he would not recoup even half of the origional transfer fee.

    Still think United's midfield is the weak link in the side. Not really sure of the money situation at the club, but a creative central midfielder and maybe a winger are needed.

  • Comment number 68.

    24. At 08:34am on 16 Mar 2011, messien wrote:
    Oh yeah, and his nickname, have you ever heard anything more pathetic? managers and commentators calling him Chicarito! his name's hernandez.


    This properly annoys me. same with that Hulk player for Porto!
    i havent got a problem with nicknames but they shouldnt be on the back of their shirt likes its their actual names. grow up!

  • Comment number 69.

    @ 65,

    I wasn't complaining with regard to the defence. What puzzles me though is that Ferdinand is prone to injury for quite some time now and with Vidic having to overwork he ends up injured himself. Brown is an excellent cover - I really like both O'Shea and Brown for being there when United need them. However, defending without Vidic and Ferdinand available has to be addressed in the training ground. While Smalling has "England central defender" all over him, he's still learning the game, while Brown in central defence looks more like waiting someone to tell him what to do. It was blatant last night and I feel, if we were facing a more accurate in attack side, we'd be "murdered".

    With regard to the question about a potential final, it always depends on the opposition available but I quite fancy counter attacking football with Nani and Valencia on the wings and Rooney and Hernandez up front - all four have lightning speed.

  • Comment number 70.

    Do you think pele, ronaldo, ronaldinho, rivaldo, deco etc shouldnt be allowed to have their names on their shirt seeing they arent their real names either

  • Comment number 71.

    I agree with the gripes about the Nickname also.

    The man's name is Javier Hernandez, he should be called nothing but that, i'm disgusted that he has his Nickname on the back of his shirt.

    It is not as if he is of Portugese heritage in that it is social tradition to shorten your whole name that usually consists of at least 3 or 4 names.

    Imagine the United team of 1993 with the names on the back of their shirts:

    "Guv'nor" "Sparky" "Captain Marvel" "Chocky" "Pally"

  • Comment number 72.

    Have to laugh at people who are disgusted over a nickname, disgusted? Lighten up and get a life you sad individuals who cares what his bloody name is once he's scoring goals

  • Comment number 73.

    A natural successor to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer???

    Phil, if you knew ANYTHING about football, you would never had made such a ridiculous comment. He is nothing like Solskjaer. His game is completely different to Solskjaer. Labeling him as the new Solskjaer is lazy journalism and so typical of you.

    Hernandez is a fantastic little player. He is not a Solskjaer. However, he does, actually train with his role model. MICHAEL OWEN (when not injured). Watch his movement. Time his runs. Appreciate his explosive pace. Recognise how often he hits the target. Understand his invention.
    Solskjaer. indeed !!!

    Why have United not prospered with Berbatov up front? Simple. Berb slows the game down and gives the opposition the chance to regroup. He should be moved back to take over the Scholes mantle. He is hard to shake off the ball, his passing is sublime, he sees play develop. The only issue would be an enthusiasm to help out the defence and contribute for the full 90 minutes.

  • Comment number 74.

    United will come up short in midfield as soon as Scholes calls it a day.
    There is no one there who is an attacking midfielder and natural goal scorer. If Rooney stays at the club, I see his long term future in midfield. He has the vision and passing ability of Scholes with the aggression of Roy Keane, and is a born leader by example. United will keep the qualities of Berbatov. His skills are what the supporters demand, and as long as he contributes and scores goals his future at Old Trafford is secure.

  • Comment number 75.

    71. At 09:45am on 16 Mar 2011, tomefccam wrote:

    The man's name is Javier Hernandez, he should be called nothing but that, i'm disgusted that he has his Nickname on the back of his shirt.



    Wow. Priorities...

  • Comment number 76.

    IF and its a very big IF at the moment, United were to get to the final the first names on my teem sheet would be Rooney and Hernandez.

    Berbatov doesnt seem to want to play away from Old Trafford, 5 goals in one game against Blackburn looks good but if you do nothing for the next three games it counts for very little.

  • Comment number 77.

    the famous footballer called "Edison Arantes do Nascimento" goes by the name of Pele.

    What exactly is that short for?

  • Comment number 78.

    Once again Phil you prove to be nothing more than a knee jerk reactionary armchair fan posing as a "Chief Football Writer". Are the BBC really not able to find anyone with real writing talent that can conjure up some thought provoking and decent material?

    Two weeks ago you write about Arsenal coming of age, two weeks later they have fallen short once again and need drastic changes.

    Two weeks ago Man Utd were in disarray and an end of a successful era was on the horizon, two weeks on and they have "remarkable resilience and inner strength".

    Another truly pathetic article from a sorry excuse of a journalist.

  • Comment number 79.

    Chicarito really is an unnecessarily fawning term of affection.

    What are the rules for a name on a shirt?

    What IS on his shirt?

    We know him as Hernandez. Could Gerrard have Stevie G on his shirt or would people agree that it would look silly? (Or should it me Stevie Me anyway?)

    Overall though, Hernandez really is a good buy at £6m. That said, just how much room did the Marseille defence give him for that first goal. Even Torres could have tucked that one away!

  • Comment number 80.

    Can people please stop crying about the comparison with Ole. It's clearly a valid one as they are both known as deadly finishers. Get over yourselves. Phil states in his blog the differences in pace and movement, the comparison is the finishing and knack of scoring goals. Move on.

    tomefccam, Disgusted? really? Why does it matter? Not a little over the top there?

  • Comment number 81.

    Leave Wes Brown Alone. He is a Man U legend Like Gary Neville.

    He has won more trophies than John Terry.
    He is a better defender then John Terry. Carvalho is the player who made John Terry.

    Brown Rules!

    So what he scored an own goal Man U still won!

    Man U won 3 successive titles. Last year were robbed by the offside goal from Drgoba and also rafaels naiveness again Bayern.

  • Comment number 82.

    I must admit, I have become a huge fan of Hernandez. His movement, finishing, vision and pace is excellent, plus he's not against tracking back and doing a little defending when the time calls! An absolute bargain at £6mill... well done SAF. BTW if the man wants to be known as 'Chicharito' then let him, why do other fans feel threatened by this? It's just a name on the back of his shirt!

    Anyway, I am worried that injuries are beginning to really impact on our push for three fronts now, but not much can be done about that. I say bring on Barca in the next round, and hopefully we will have some defenders back in the squad!

  • Comment number 83.


    I refer you to my post at 24.

  • Comment number 84.

    Chicharito was outstanding again last night- he really does show Berba up everytime. It says something that for the last 3 or 4 games, hugely important- liverpool, chelsea, arsenal and marseille- berba is nowhere to be seen. His goals come against wigan, birmingham etc but invariably he goes missing in the big games (ok he scored a hattrick against Liverpool) and I dont think Fergie trusts him anymore. He will probably be sold in the summer.

    Smalling was also outstanding again yesterday- so calm, so composed- somewhere between a Rio and a Sir Bobby Moore. He improves every game and yes Brown did him no favours but everything he had to do he did well.

    Barcelona next? To be the best you have to beat the best but I do think we will need a full strength back four!

  • Comment number 85.

    In other news, damn Nate Dogg died.

  • Comment number 86.

    81 bobsy123

    Leave Wes Brown Alone. He is a Man U legend Like Gary Neville.

    He has won more trophies than John Terry.
    He is a better defender then John Terry. Carvalho is the player who made John Terry.

    Brown Rules!

    So what he scored an own goal Man U still won!

    Man U won 3 successive titles. Last year were robbed by the offside goal from Drgoba and also rafaels naiveness again Bayern.
    Yeesh, why can't you let these things drop.

    Chelsea have had one of the best defences for years. The only constant? John Terry.

    Drogba's offside goal? Why is it that people like you only remember that and not the handball from Macheda?

    You do yourself and your fellow Man U fans no credit by being so one-eyed.

  • Comment number 87.


    If Rooney and Chicharito (which, given that it annoys people is all I will ever call him from now on) continue to develop a partnership in the mould of yesterday then I'd start him over Berbatov in all the big games. Rooney's passing and Chicharito's movement look like they'd frighten most teams.

  • Comment number 88.


    I know. What's that all about? I didn't know he'd been ill over the last few years - big shock.

    I'm sure he's reprazentin already in the big ghetto in the sky!


  • Comment number 89.

    83 kanchelskis_legend


    I refer you to my post at 24.
    You moonlight as 'messien'? You are one confused boy! :-)

  • Comment number 90.

    Mr Blue Burns.

    No one is being one-eyed.

    Still crying over John terrys penalty miss in the champs league final.

    United are in better position than chelsea on all the 3 fronts.

  • Comment number 91.

    @79 "just how much room did the Marseille defence give him for that first goal. Even Torres could have tucked that one away!"

    Watch the replay of the goal and the way hernandez checks his run three times to make sure he gets to the ball and stays onside, Marseille weren't giving him room, he made it

  • Comment number 92.

    Also, Smalling looks like he's developing really well too, was a far better performer than Brown last night and only really made one error (clearance with the knee that fell to Remy (i think).

    He does look far better next to Vidic or Ferdinand rather than Brown though. Overall really impressed with him.

  • Comment number 93.

    69 tomefccam,

    do I smell jealousy? :)

    It is only natural comparing Hernandez with Solskjaer. He started scoring as a substitute, many times scoring crucial goals, while has a baby face with a smile. So what?

    As for his stature, did you forget that, at the age of 21, scored in the World Cup against France and Argentina?
    How would we react had we had an England player scoring 2 goals against such opposition in the World Cup?
    Coming from America at 21, adapting instantly to the weather, the culture - you name it - and scoring 16 goals out of 17 starts is little? :)

  • Comment number 94.


    I rest my case!

  • Comment number 95.


    Woops. I meant 58

  • Comment number 96.

    85. At 09:59am on 16 Mar 2011, PulpGrape wrote:
    In other news, damn Nate Dogg died.


    RIP Nate Dogg...213 for life!

  • Comment number 97.

    I am not here to post about chelsea v man u stuff.

    I just want to say lay off wes brown.

    He played last night. Did his job securing a man u win.

    Thats it.

  • Comment number 98.

    United's future looks very secured and Sir Alex should get credit for that. Look at Rafael,Fabio,Welbeck,Hernandez,Cleverly,Smalling,Evans(will recover from the dip in form),Anderson,Nani,Joshua King,Ravel Morrison and Tunnicliffe. Those are massively talented players who will be class in 3 to 4 years from now.Manchester united are in transition and in a transition the people who are being replaced shouldn't be replaced overnight . Nani will take over Giggs and look how often he plays on the left nowadays. Welbeck is super-talented . Hernandez showed all yesterday. Rafa and Fabio are going to be class and a host of reserve players are great as well.Manchester united haven't been great but still in with a chance for a treble and Arsenal have been amazing yet only 1 trophy to fight for. This season was about Nani and Hernanzdez and Smalling stepping up and around this time next year they will be world class along with a few others matbe Rafa and Smalling . United will be beack to their best in about 2 yaers when the transition is complete and we will rule heard this first here and watch this space.

    And on the match without are first choice centre-backs we got through from a dangerous score easily was plaesing.scholes had a 93% pass completion yet no mention anywhere tells you all what the gys does every week and has so high standards. The only worrry is his replacement and I hope Ando can step up like he said he can next season with s pre-season to prepare under his belt and also a injury free season.hope he steps up and Valencia what a machine he is!

  • Comment number 99.

    97. At 10:05am on 16 Mar 2011, bobsy123 wrote:

    He played last night. Did his job securing a man u win.

    Thats it.

    He scored a really good goal too. I agree, lay off him.

    oh wait...

  • Comment number 100.

    4. At 07:34am on 16 Mar 2011, fabiofabiofabio wrote:

    phil, i thought we were a club in decline?

    'This is a side producing a growing body of evidence, of which this defeat was the latest example, that it is reaching the end of the line in its current form.'


    The end of the line in it's current form means just that, a need for renewal. Hernandez is going to be a major part of that renewal hopefully.

    However craping through against Marseilles is hardly proof against Phil's theory.


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