Saturday February 28, 2009
MU boss vows to field young guns in the League Cup final
MANCHESTER: Alex Ferguson has vowed to field his rising stars in tomorrow’s League Cup Final against Tottenham at Wembley after insisting that next Wednesday’s Premier League trip to Newcastle is a bigger priority for Manchester United.
United face League Cup holders Tottenham this weekend hoping to maintain their bid to land an unprecedented five trophies in one season.
But having used the fringe members of his squad throughout this season’s League Cup campaign, United manager Ferguson has admitted that he has no intention of replacing them with the big guns simply to boost his club’s chances of lifting the Cup for only the third time.
Teenage striker and Republic of Ireland midfielder Darron Gibson are confirmed starters and Ferguson admits there could be more unfamiliar faces involved.
Ferguson said: “I will be playing the younger ones on Sunday, so Gibson and Welbeck will both play because they deserve to do so.
“Jonny Evans is another one who deserves to be involved, so hopefully he will be fit. Rafael da Silva would have played, but the lad is going to be out for a month with a fractured ankle, so he has been very unlucky.
“We obviously want to win because the winning mentality in the club is why we have been successful, but we know what our priorities are and that will affect the team that I pick on Sunday.
“We have a big game at Newcastle on Wednesday and the priority for us will always be the Premier League and the Champions League.
“The Premier League is the only place to be and Harry Redknapp is well aware of that judging by the team he picked in the UEFA Cup on Thursday.
“Ten of that team won’t play on Sunday, but Harry has to manage three games in six days because they have an important game against Middlesbrough in midweek.”
Wayne Rooney is set to start for United, with Ferguson keen to boost the England striker’s fitness following a recent hamstring injury lay-off, while Gary Neville is expected to captain the team.
Ferguson said: “Wayne will play on Sunday because he is ready, but I didn’t select him on the bench against Inter Milan last Tuesday because of this game.
“I picked a team to win in Milan and we should have won, but we didn’t. I wasn’t thinking of Sunday at all when I picked my team against Inter.”
Ferguson, meanwhile, dismissed suggestions that United are taking the game lightly by travelling down to London just 24 hours before the game.
He said: “We have always travelled down to the League Cup final the day before the game.
“It’s only for the FA Cup final that we go down two days before, so there is nothing unusual about our plans.” — AFP