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Fergie has tough decisions to make
Published : 25 May 2011 09:00:10
Although Ferguson's starting line-up can largely be predicted aside from two or three positions, the Red Devils' bench for the Wembley showpiece remains open to doubt.
Darren Fletcher's hopes of being involved seemed to reduce when he remained on the bench throughout Gary Neville's testimonial at Old Trafford on Tuesday night, which would mean a second successive heartbreak given he was suspended for the 2009 defeat to the Catalans. "It is not easy picking a team because you are dealing with the human side of the game," said Ferguson.
The involvement of Michael Owen on Tuesday night hinted at looming disappointment, whilst Darron Gibson also seems destined to miss out. Ferguson knows informing anyone not involved is a thankless task. However, it is one he knows there is no option but to complete.
He added: "Players have worked ever so hard for the team all season and it has been a squad game for us anyway. Unfortunately there is one person who has to tell them and that is me.
"It is not an easy job but it has to be done because we want to win the game. They all understand that. I pick the team for the right reasons and I pick the substitutes for the right reasons as well."
As it is true to say Ferguson thrives on hostility, when he gets a chance to circle the wagons and set United against the world, he can be expected to use the present Ryan Giggs saga to his side's advantage.
It took another twist on Tuesday when the United boss took exception to a question asked about the veteran Welshman, threatening to ban the reporter concerned. A few hours later vehicles belonging to the media were vandalised close to Giggs' home in north Manchester as debate around his private life intensifies.
Giggs did make a 30 minute cameo appearance in Neville's testimonial, creating a goal for Wayne Rooney, who had been a surprise starter. Ferguson also had to put up with the knowledge Manchester City were revelling in their FA Cup winners' parade, which is leading the United boss to start looking ahead before this season has reached its crescendo.
"The only thing that matters at this club is that you win," he said. "Even then, you don't just sit back and think about this season. Maybe next season is our biggest challenge. Who knows?"