Wednesday 13 December 2017

Rooney rant undemines Ferguson comments

He could not have known it when he gave the interview last Thursday but Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson picked the wrong time to hold Wayne Rooney up as the example for Mario Balotelli to follow.

Balotelli's first season at Manchester City has been scarred by a series of controversies.

Most recently, the 20-year-old was sent off for what Blues boss Roberto Mancini branded a "stupid" challenge against Dynamo Kiev.

Yet Ferguson is not alone in spotting huge talent. He sees the potential for the Italian to mature, although holding up Rooney as a good example now looks unfortunate to say the least after Saturday's incident at West Ham.

The England forward swore into a television camera after completing a hat-trick and now faces a Football Association charge of using offensive, insulting and/or abusive language which carries a two-game suspension if accepted.

"He (Balotelli) is a very emotional player, just like other youngsters that have a high potential," Ferguson told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Even Rooney was like that, with an explosive character, with so much will to do things that he overdid it.

"Now he (Rooney) is 25 and he has matured a lot.

"But time is needed (for Balotelli)."

As it presently stands, Rooney - who did not appear for the 15-minute 'open' session of training prior to tomorrow's Champions League encounter with Chelsea - will miss the FA Cup semi-final with Manchester City on April 16 in addition to Saturday's Premier League encounter with Fulham at Old Trafford.

United officials do feel their player is being made an example of but are aware Rooney's suspension will be extended if any challenge is deemed to be frivolous.

None of this concerns Balotelli of course, with Ferguson urging Mancini to be "very patient" in how he handles the Italy forward.

"Even I have several emotional talents in the team," he said.

"They are born with that character and that doesn't change in one year.

"The problem comes if it creates an imbalance in the changing room.

"But players can also be inspired by the presence of unconventional characters."

Ferguson is hoping that Fernando Torres does not end his goalscoring drought for Chelsea when the two sides meet tomorrow.

The Spain international has yet to find the back of the net for the Londoners since his £50million transfer from Liverpool in January, but scored three times against United while with the Reds.

"Of course he will start scoring," Ferguson added in the same Gazzetta interview.

"I just hope he waits a little bit, at least until after the tie against us.

"When Chelsea signed him, everyone said what a great signing he was, and rightly so.

"Now everyone says that it was a mistake. Can people be more ridiculous?

"Of course he needs time to adapt."

Chelsea have beaten United in their last three encounters in the Premier League.

Ferguson believes incorrect calls went against his side in recent matches against the Blues outfit.

"Last year they beat us with an offside goal, while a month ago, David Luiz should have been sent off," Ferguson said.

"But then again, anyone who wins has a little bit of luck.

"I hope in the Champions League the wind will turn our way.

"Between us and Chelsea, there is no difference.

"It's two teams with plenty of champions, great experience and winning coaches.

"The small details will define the tie."

Ferguson has praised the work done by Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti since taking the reins of the team in the summer of 2009.

Ancelotti celebrated a Premier League title and FA Cup double in his first season in charge.

However, the Italian tactician has come under pressure this season with Chelsea fourth in the Premier League.

"I cannot understand how you can criticise Ancelotti, who won the double in his first season at Chelsea," Ferguson said.

"It's the fault of the current media atmosphere.

"They invent problems where there are none. I am certain Carlo reacts like me.

"He ignores the media so that your decisions, your philosophy and your mental health are not affected by it.

"How can Chelsea think of changing a coach like him?"

Press Association

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