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Ferguson pleads for United patience

AFP logoAFP 31-03-2016
Manchester United's Scottish former manager Alex Ferguson takes his seat ahead of the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on March 20, 2016. © Provided by AFP Manchester United's Scottish former manager Alex Ferguson takes his seat ahead of the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on March 20, 2016.

Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has urged everyone connected to the club to have "patience" as current boss Louis van Gaal tries to bring the glory days back to Old Trafford.

United have yet to win any silverware since Ferguson retired in 2013 after guiding the English giants to 28 trophies in 26-and-a-half-years in charge.

Immediate successor David Moyes was sacked after less than a season in charge in May 2014 and this term has seen Dutch manager van Gaal come under intense pressure after a string of disappointments, including an early exit from the Champions League.

United are now just a point off the top four and have a FA Cup semi-final replay to look forward to, but that has not stopped the chorus of criticism over what many fans see as a lack of attacking football.

Ferguson, in an interview with Sky Sports on Thursday, said: "It is dead easy to be critical.

"You have to be realistic about some things -- the number of injuries he (van Gaal) has had: Phil Jones has played only seven games this season, Ashley Young, (Antonio) Valencia, (Luke) Shaw, these are big losses."

Ferguson, whose career total of 49 trophies makes him British football's most successful manager, added: "It doesn't matter which team you are, if you have players missing of that calibre it has to have an impact on the team.

"The other aspect which is always easy to forget there are also five new players in their first season at United, and two are young players in (Anthony) Martial and Memphis (Depay) and their promise is good," the 74-year-old Scot explained.

"You have to have some patience being a Manchester United fan and they have shown that over the years."

"For 150 years of history it is worth having a couple of years on the quiet side of success because they will always come back and come back strong," he added.

- Rashford -

United's injury crisis has seen van Gaal turn to the youth set-up for first-team players, the manager maintaining a tradition that started with the "Busby Babes" under Matt Busby.

Teenage striker Marcus Rashford, a locally born 18-year-old, has led the way with five goals in eight appearances.

"You have to give him credit, he's given nine young players their debut. I think the future is good," Ferguson said of van Gaal.

"Rashford is an example of what I think is Manchester United. They are the one club in England who will always identify a Rashford and give a young kid a chance -- there is no better club in England at giving young kids a chance.

"Rashford is a sensation and one of the best in years."

Ferguson had a warning for incoming Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.

"Man City have made a real coup in getting him but Pep won't find it easy, English football is not easy," he said of the Spaniard's imminent arrival in the Premier League.

"Every foreign coach that has come to England will tell you that."


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