Fergie - fans have helped Rafa

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes Chelsea fans getting fully behind the team has helped their recent form.

Last Updated: 03/05/13 at 16:00 Post Comment

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson says Chelsea's strong end to the season is due largely to the Stamford Bridge faithful dropping their protests against interim manager Rafael Benitez and instead giving their full focus to supporting the team.

The Barclays Premier League powerhouses meet at Old Trafford on Sunday with Chelsea fresh from sealing their place in the final of the Europa League after last night's win over Basle, and United still on a high from wrapping up their 20th league title.

Chelsea have won five of their last seven league games since former Liverpool boss Benitez famously spoke out over his treatment at the hands of the Chelsea fans at the end of February, and they now sit third in the standings - just six points off second-placed Manchester City with four games remaining.

Ferguson believes the Blues are benefiting from a more harmonious atmosphere in the stands, yet could not resist a sly dig at arch-rival Benitez when asked about the Spaniard's achievement in adding another European final to his collection.

"He is very concerned about his CV," Ferguson said. "He refers to it quite a lot.

"But you can't dispute the fact he has done a good job in the last few weeks.

"The key to it is that the fans have settled down a little bit. They have left him alone and he has got on with managing his job.

"It can't be easy, listening to pressure from the fans all the time.

"They have eased up. It has allowed him to relax and they have produced some good results.

"When they sacked Roberto Di Matteo that maybe knocked them back a bit.

"It took them a long time to get going again.

"It's only been in the last few weeks that they've got any consistency and this has been the best part of their season."

Chelsea cannot take anything for granted just yet, as they remain just three points ahead of Tottenham - who they face on Wednesday - in the battle to secure a Champions League berth for next season.

"Their next two games are crucial," added Ferguson.

"I would imagine they'd be thinking they need to get something out of our game because Spurs is never an easy game.

"They will be fresh and Chelsea will have played Thursday, Sunday, Wednesday."

Meanwhile, Ferguson joked that he might scrap the team's midweek trip to Chester races if they fail to beat Chelsea this weekend.

Ferguson is keen for his players to maintain their focus amid the distractions that crowd the final weeks of any season, and said: "I never took into account all the things that are happening like the PFA awards, our own Player of the Year awards and the trophy parade.

"When Nemanja Vidic came to me last week and asked if the team could go to Chester races on Wednesday, I said yes.

"But then you put all these things together and you say to yourself: 'bloody hell, I hope they don't forget there's a game of football to be played!'

"If they don't win on Sunday we could be cancelling the races."

While Ferguson spoke in jest, he is deadly serious in his desire for United to end the season in a professional manner.

"They've had a fantastic season and deserve to celebrate as a team," he said.

"But they've also got to remember we've got games to win."

United striker Robin van Persie was today named the Barclays Player of the Month for April.


Click here for completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet


Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

T

he thing is, footballers are role models, and children are influenced by them. I watched the Chelsea game with my 6 year old, and at school the next day she stamped on Emre Can.

megabrow (cufc)
Diego Costa: The Patron Saint Of S**thousery

Y

et again Barcelona try to convince the world that they only play the most virtuous of football. I've never seen a team so willing and able to dish out lumps but feel so self-righteous that no opposition player should ever have the audacity to tackle them.

charsmatcengma
Enrique hauls Neymar to safety

I

d love to see a United v Liverpool FA cup final. It would certainly fit the narrative. Obv I'd want the ending to be one of an O.G. and tears as he collects his runner-up medal.

GVMUFC
Gerrard Constantly Searching For That Final Hurrah

Footer 365

Premier League: Roberto Mancini could make a return to English football

Roberto Mancini has not ruled out a return to Manchester City in the future.

Premier League: Daniel Sturridge sure Steven Gerrard will manage Liverpool

Daniel Sturridge is convinced Steven Gerrard will eventually return to Anfield as Liverpool manager.

Stoke give Leicester City permission to speak to defender Huth

Stoke City have given Leicester City permission to speak to Robert Huth about a possible loan deal.

Mail Box

It's A Massive, Big, Brilliant Mailbox

And we left lots of Suarez/Costa mails unopened. What we do have is a video of some rotten Suarez tackles and views on the future of football, Spurs, Liverpool and...

But Biting Doesn't Hurt Like Stamping...

There are Liverpool fans arguing that Luis Suarez is nowhere near Diego Costa's sh*t-house league but we have plenty of love for the agitator too. Oh and Spurs...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company