Fergie - Bosses must prioritise
Sir Alex Ferguson understands why managers send out weakened teams in cup competitions.
Last Updated: 28/02/09 11:44am
Sir Alex Ferguson understands why managers send out weakened teams in cup competitions in order to focus on the Premier League.
The Manchester United manager is preparing his team for a Carling Cup final against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, with the competition having been used as a chance to blood youngsters in recent seasons.
The Uefa Cup has been treated in a similar fashion with Spurs boss Harry Redknapp and Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill picking under-strength teams this week.
O'Neill has admitted that he could receive criticism following Villa's defeat by CSKA Moscow, but has insisted the club's push for a UEFA Champions League place is the priority.
Ferguson agrees with O'Neill's policy and is adamant clubs are unable to field their strongest team in every competition.
"If you sat down with supporters and explained the miles players are running and the intensity and speed of the game, maybe they would realise how difficult it is to play all the time," said Ferguson.
"I agree with Martin O'Neill and what he has done. Clubs like Villa are operating with a limited squad in terms of numbers and have to cut their cloth accordingly.
"The priority is the top four and getting into the Champions League because Aston Villa have not been in the competition since 1981."
United's team to face Spurs at Wembley will have a blend of youth and experience, and Ferguson is eager to lift the Carling Cup, live on Sky Sports 1 & HD1.
"Some countries don't bother about the cup competitions," he added. "But the British mentality is for their team to win, it doesn't matter what competition it is.
"That competitive streak goes through supporters, players and directors.
"There is an apocryphal story about a manager getting sacked after three successive defeats on the Pools Panel. That sums up our country."