Sir Alex Ferguson wants a comprehensive performance from Manchester United against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday to prove they have from last weekend’s loss at Anfield.
Liverpool beat Premier League champions United 2-0 in a thunderous atmosphere on Merseyside to not only keep their own threadbare title ambitions alive but also end their arch-rivals’ 11-match unbeaten run.
A comfortable enough victory at Barnsley during the week put United into the last eight of the League Cup and seemed to prove the Liverpool result has not left any mental hangovers at Old Trafford.
“Part of the challenge is how you react to disappointment,” said Ferguson. “We lost 4-1 to Liverpool at home last season, which was a travesty but the players buckled down and we went on to win the league.”
During last Sunday’s Liverpool encounter, former Anfield star Michael Owen looked United?s most potent force and he also scored in the win at Barnsley.
The England striker may have been a surprise pre-season acquisition by Ferguson but he continues to impress at Old Trafford.
“Michael is always looking and always on the move,” United assistant manager Mike Phelan said. “That is the quality of Michael Owen and those qualities are of benefit to us.
“Michael has come to Manchester United as it a fresh challenge for him and we can use him as and when we need to use him.”
Blackburn will arrive at Old Trafford after one of the most testing weeks for a Premier League football club in recent memory due to the swine-flu problems that have affected their squad in the build-up to this encounter.
Two players missed last weekend’s 5-0 thrashing by Chelsea due to the condition, while a further player and two members of staff have also contracted the illness to disrupt Sam Allardyce’s plans.
The Rovers manager also knows he has significant problems on the pitch because his side is currently incapable of winning on the road, having lost their last nine encounters away from Ewood Park.
Allardyce admitted: “The difference between the team at Ewood and the team away from home is unrecognisable.
“If you beat Aston Villa with 10-men at home you are showing some real quality style, grit and determination.
“But if you then lose 6-2 and 5-0 at Arsenal and Chelsea then you see a team you just can’t recognise.
“It is a baffling problem that I need to resolve immediately before Manchester United.
“I have to resolve it because, if I don’t, it becomes like the ‘yips’ (a nervous and uncertain putting stroke) in golf if you like.
“The ‘yips’ can become a greater and greater problem as time goes on and on and on so we have to resolve it by the time we are at Old Trafford.”
He added: “We need to be organised and resilient enough to make sure that no matter what happens, with 10 minutes to go we are still in with a chance.”
United will be without Park Ji-sung (knee) while Darren Fletcher has yet to play since injuring his foot on international duty with Scotland but could be in contention.
Blackburn defender Christopher Samba is still struggling with swine-flu, but Rovers say they are monitoring the situation day-by-day.
Meanwhile right-back Pascal Chimbonda (calf) and midfielder Vince Grella (thigh) are also doubts.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!