Daily Mirror

Fergie was so furious at cup loss he didn’t talk to us for TWO WEEKS UNITED’S SILENT KNIGHT

- BY DAVID McDONNELL @DiscoMirro­r

AS a manager, Wayne Rooney is learning all the time, having been guided by Sir Alex Ferguson during his days at Old Trafford. A new book – Rooney: Teenage Kicks – The street footballer who ruled the world – recalls a time Fergie did not speak to the team

IT was March 8, 2008, FA Cup quarter-final day at Old Trafford and a result few might have expected: Man Utd 0, Portsmouth 1.

But, for United, it was more than just a defeat.

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson was so angry at missing out on a second Treble during his reign as manager that he did not speak to his players... for two weeks.

Ferguson’s United famously scooped the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup in 1999, an unpreceden­ted haul that has never been repeated.

They were on course to repeat the feat in 2008, when they won the Premier League and Champions League, only to come up short in the FA Cup.

Despite dominating against Harry Redknapp’s side – who went on to win the trophy for only the second time – the Reds were beaten,

Had United won, they would have faced Championsh­ip sides in the semi-final and final – West Brom and Cardiff – and would have been the overwhelmi­ng favourites to lift the trophy.

But the Treble dream ended against Redknapp’s men, with United’s record scorer Rooney (right) revealing Ferguson was so incensed he gave his players the prolonged silent treatment.

“I remember the boss, it was for about two weeks,” said Rooney (after the match).

“He didn’t speak a word to us. He knew that was the

chance of doing the Treble again.” The tie was memorable for many controvers­ies, not least referee Martin Atkinson’s refusal to award United a first-half penalty when Sylvain Distin floored Cristiano Ronaldo in the box. United assistant boss Carlos Queiroz (left, with Fergie) later branded Atkinson “a robber” for not awarding a spot-kick. Both he and Ferguson were cleared of misconduct for their post-match comments. Pompey went on to win after being awarded a 78th-minute penalty for a foul on Milan Baros by United keeper Tomasz Kuszczak, for which he was sent off. Kuszczak had come on at half-time for the injured Edwin van der Sar and, without a recognised keeper, defender Rio Ferdinand was forced to go between the posts. Rooney fancied himself as a keeper, often donning the gloves after training, and jokingly suggested he could have filled in there, rather than Rio.

“The biggest mistake the manager made was not putting me in goal,” said Rooney. “I think he was worried I wouldn’t have saved the penalty and then we’re 1-0 down, so he needed me to try and score.”

Despite that painful exit, United went on to seal the title and beat Chelsea on penalties in an all-English Champions League final in Moscow.

Rooney likened the United side of 2008 – which boasted him, Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Michael Carrick – to Brazil in their pomp, in terms of their attacking flair. He said: “I used to love watching Brazil when I was growing. The football we are playing is similar.

“The movement and passing is brilliant and I love playing for this team.

“It’s just a pleasure to play football like this. It’s why you want to be a footballer.”

 ?? ?? RED AND BURIED Fergie was furious after his keeper Kuszczak was sent off and stand-in Rio Ferdinand beaten in the cup loss at Portsmouth
RED AND BURIED Fergie was furious after his keeper Kuszczak was sent off and stand-in Rio Ferdinand beaten in the cup loss at Portsmouth

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