The Mail on Sunday

If he can’t get that right, why’s he officiatin­g in a game like today?


stages there was ample evidence of just how much Wayne Rooney means to United.

The young bull would have been in his element yesterday; chasing, stretching, challengin­g, occasional­ly clattering defenders. Instead we were given the moody, diffident Dimitar Berbatov at his most infuriatin­g. In fairness, he was by no means adequately supplied, but he still performs like the man most likely to score a sensationa­l fourth goal, rather than hustle out the first.

Drogba’s goal seemed to end the argument, and the late goal which bounced in off Federico Macheda served only to emphasise United’s frustratio­n.

Yet that frustratio­n is acute. Having won the title so often and with such a swagger, they know that this is not a vintage Premier League season, that it will not take an outstandin­g team to win it. Having been spoiled by the glittering excellence of Barcelona the other evening, we know that no English side may be seriously compared with the Catalans.

But Chelsea are durable, discipline­d, blessed with serious performers in crucial positions and led by a coach whose record tells us how well he knows his business. Their depth was vividly illustrate­d in the 67th minute when Ancelotti, unhappy with Anelka’s contri- bution, jerked a finger at his bench and summoned the beast that is Drogba.

The club cherishes exalted ambitions, while the players still resent their premature ejection from the Champions League. They may never be enchanting in the manner of a Barcelona or, on their better days, a Manchester United, but they have now usurped the driver’s seat and they will take an awful lot of dislodging.

And so they moved on to the next task. And their fans bellowed their raucous confidence with chants of ‘There’s only one team in it’. And if anybody is capable of ending their ambitions in either cup or league, then they are keeping the lowest of profiles.

Meanwhile, Sir Alex was turning his critical wrath upon a man with a flag. The target was easy, but the real problems lay elsewhere.

 ??  ?? SIR ALEX FERGUSON fumes at assistant referee Simon Beck
SIR ALEX FERGUSON fumes at assistant referee Simon Beck

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