Sir Alex: Chicha makes me think
Sir Alex Ferguson has a selection dilemma for Sunday’s crunch match with Chelsea after Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez’s match-winning brace against Braga.
The Mexican threw his hat into the ring by pulling a goal back against the Portuguese outfit before half-time at Old Trafford and later making sure of maximum points in Champions League Group H by scoring a second header. The goals capped a best performance of the season so far from a player who is “improving all the time” according to his manager.
“Chicharito has given me a good problem,” said Sir Alex. “He’s got me thinking, I must say that. He and van Persie and Rooney and Welbeck… I don’t know what to do with them to be honest with you.
“The boy is improving all the time. He has a great enthusiasm for the game, he trains magnificently, he practices all the time and his goal ratio is fantastic.
“It was a great ball from Tom Cleverley for the second goal but Chicharito’s movement in behind the defender for the second goal was terrific.”
Chicharito’s two goals, sandwiching an equaliser by centre-back Jonny Evans, means all four of Sir Alex’s senior strikers have scored in the space of three days after goals from Rooney (2), van Persie and Welbeck saw off Stoke at the weekend in a similar match. Similar because Braga, like Stoke, scored twice on United’s home turf including a shock opening goal.
“It’s been the story of our season really at home, starting badly, conceding goals and having to fight back to rescue games. And it’s the front players who are doing that for us,” admitted Sir Alex.
“It is a concern we’re losing a lot of goals, but I must say some of our football was terrific tonight, we played some fantastic football and we created a lot of chances. We kept a really good momentum to our game and played with good speed.
“We got a result most people would not have expected us to get after being 2-0 down – being 2-0 down in a European tie is very difficult – but credfit to the players for the way we came back.”
The manager disagreed with the interviewer’s notion that playing Michael Carrick out of position at centre-back and handing a Champions League debut to Alexander Buttner were reasons behind Braga going 2-0 up early on.
“I think we did the right thing [to rest Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra],” replied Sir Alex.
“It wasn’t Michael Carrick’s fault for the first goal. He did his job well.
“I think you have to look at the big picture with Rio’s age. We have a big game on Sunday against Chelsea, Chelsea on the Wednesday, Arsenal on the Saturday, we’ve a massive programme coming up now and it’s important to utilise the squad we have.
“Okay, at the moment with Vidic out and Jones and Smalling not available, then putting Michael back there in defence is not the best but he does his job well.”