United manager must deal with criticism, says Barclay
Last Updated: 18/09/11 3:45pm
Patrick Barclay returns fire at Sir Alex Ferguson
Patrick Barclay believes Sir Alex Ferguson's claim of a media plot to unsettle recently-arrived goalkeeper David de Gea is ill-advised.
De Gea, 20, has made several errors since his £18.9m summer move from Atletico Madrid - but Ferguson has launched a stinging counter-attack on his critics.
The Red Devils fielded Anders Lindegaard in the 1-1 Champions League draw with Benfica in midweek but with De Gea expected to return to action against Chelsea on Sunday, the spotlight will be back on the youngster.
Barclay said of the claim: "He's just being silly. At least he wasn't rude this time, as he was to Kelly Cates the TV interviewer when she asked a perfectly reasonable question in the wake of the clash with Benfica.
"It was all about Lindegaard in Lisbon - United would have lost 3-1 but for his performance. That's not to say that if De Gea had been playing he wouldn't have performed as well, but Lindegaard came in and did what was asked of him.
"Certainly Lindegaard did enough - you couldn't drop a man who had played like that. However, Ferguson, who is entitled to manage United exactly how he chooses, had already promised De Gea the start against Chelsea.
"That's fine, but that doesn't alter the fact that the question was a sensible one. It was the question that everyone watching that game would have wanted to know the answer to.
"He was rude to her, he called it a 'stupid question' and implied that it was mischievous in some way. So at least he wasn't rude this time, but he was silly. There's no plot to destroy De Gea - there's just a mission to tell it like it is."
Barclay went on to claim that the person who really ends up with their feelings hurt is Lindegaard, who shone with some fine stops to ensure an away point for his side.
Barclay continued: "He's being disrespectful to Lindegaard in implying this. He's chosen a certain way of doing it but it wouldn't surprise me if Lindegaard said: 'What am I doing here?'
"Usually when he's protective of his players sometimes he criticises referees, sometimes he criticises TV schedulers and now he's doing it with journalists. He just blames everybody but himself.
"It's silly and unworthy behaviour. It doesn't matter who he's blaming. He should just get on with managing his club and get his nose out of journalists' business because we, on this occasion, are doing it properly."
Ferguson has had his fair share of run-ins with the footballing authorities and various other figures in the game, and Barclay feels that his 'untouchable' status in the game is unhealthy.
The Times writer added: "People kowtow to this guy. The FA do, the referees do. Everybody kowtows to this guy.
"I just think it's unhealthy and when he gets into our business then we'll have a go back."