I'll be slaughtered if my reserves lose at Hull, admits Sir Alex
23 May 2009 12:25
Sir Alex Ferguson will play his reserves at Hull ahead of Wednesday's European Cup final
Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted that he will field a largely reserve team in Sunday's Premier League game at Hull and is ready for the backlash that will follow if Manchester United lose.
United manager Ferguson will rest most of his Champions League stars for the game at the KC Stadium, even though Hull are caught up in a scrap to avoid relegation with Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough.
Ferguson said: 'I know that if we don't win on Sunday we will be slaughtered and people will talk about the integrity of the league. It's not a weak team. It's a team who have fantastic potential.
'Our responsibility is to win the European Cup. The players wouldn't forgive me if I played the strongest team on Sunday.'
Ferguson considered ringing the three North-East managers, Ricky Sbragia, Alan Shearer and Gareth Southgate, to assure them that United will do their best to get the three points that will put Hull in danger.
He decided against it but it is understood that the team he fields will have a smattering of full internationals.
It is almost certain that the strikers will be young Italian star Federico Macheda and English prospect Danny Welbeck, and his midfield four are expected to be Darren Fletcher - suspended for the Champions League final against Barcelona - Darron Gibson, Nani and 22-year-old winger Lee Martin.
At the back, club captain Gary Neville will play while two other experienced defenders, Wes Brown and Rio Ferdinand, both coming back from injury, will travel with the team.
In goal it is thought that Ferguson will risk Poland's Tomasz Kuszczak and pray that he does not pick up an injury ahead of taking his place as Edwin van der Sar's understudy in Rome.
Hull manager Phil Brown, meanwhile, will head for the open road on his Harley-Davidson, regardless of the outcome at the KC Stadium.
He who dares: It's crunch time for Hull boss Phil Brown
Hull's flamboyant manager, having enjoyed no easy ride in the Premier League, intends to accept the offer of a glass of champagne on chairman Paul Duffen's yacht, off the south of France.
Brown revealed his unconventional travel plans for meeting up with Duffen in Cannes by saying: 'As soon as it's all over, I'm going to put on my leathers, jump on my Harley-Davidson and ride down to the south of France.
'I'm 50 next Saturday, and I'm hoping to mark the occasion in style - and by still being a Premier League manager.'