Rio: Success breeds success
Rio Ferdinand believes getting the smell of success will be an essential part of Manchester United's graduation process. That United opened their Premier League title defence with a victory at West Brom on Sunday was perhaps not much of a surprise. It is the fact they did so with a side composed of seven youngsters, once Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic had departed through injury, which made the the result notable. Sir Alex Ferguson has clearly decided they are good enough to carry the fight, which is just as well given he will be without his first-choice central defensive pairing for the forthcoming home games against Tottenham and Arsenal. However, even before he suffered the hamstring injury at the Hawthorns that has scuppered his chances of being involved in United's opening Champions League game and England's Euro 2012 double-header against Bulgaria and Wales next month, Ferdinand was noting what the experience of winning can do for a young player's career. "Getting that continuity, that smell and taste of success is something that all the young guys who have come into the squad and not won anything yet need to feel," said the 32-year-old. "They need to sense it and become a part of it. I am sure they will enjoy doing that this year." Even from the sidelines, Ferdinand's input over the next six weeks is bound to be important. For all his injury problems, the former West Ham star remains one of the most mentally tough members of Ferguson's squad and his advice to the likes of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans will be invaluable as they try to subdue two of the Premier League's most potent strikeforces, knowing Chelsea are also due to head north in the middle of September. Ferdinand can offer his own insight into the times when United do not win. After all, although he won the title in his first season following a then record £29.1million move from Leeds in 2002, Ferdinand missed out on the main prize for the following three seasons. As unlikely as it appeared at the time, it proved to be the prelude to a golden era of four championships in five years - they missed a complete clean sweep by a single point - and three Champions League final appearances in four years. "Maybe people will look back and say this was a golden period," said Ferdinand. "It is certainly up there as one of the most successful periods in the club's history. "It is great to be part of it because the memories of not winning things are awful. "We won the league the first season I was here, then went three years on the bounce without winning it. "This place is like a morgue after losing a game. It is depressing. "You don't want to walk to the shops. You are embarrassed walking anywhere. "If you want to be successful, you have to remember those feelings and hope they don't come back."
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