Liverpool and United could struggle due to Hillsborough emotion, admits Ferguson

By Sportsmail Reporter

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Sir Alex Ferguson fears the emotion of Manchester United's visit to Liverpool on Sunday could have a negative effect on his players.

The game will be the first for Liverpool at Anfield since the damning findings on the Hillsborough tragedy were announced by an independent panel last week.

Liverpool intend to mark the match with a number of significant gestures, including the formation a mosaic across three sides of the stadium.

Big test ahead: Sir Alex Ferguson speaks during a press conference at Carrington on Friday morning

Big test ahead: Sir Alex Ferguson speaks during a press conference at Carrington on Friday morning

Ferguson has already appealed for calm from United fans in what is certain to be a tense atmosphere.

And having gone through something very similar four years ago, on the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster, the Red Devils boss accepts it may have a hidden impact.

'It's a possibility, I don't deny that,' said Ferguson. 'Human nature can be that way. When we played Manchester City for the 50th anniversary of Munich the place was so flat in the dressing room before the game. I even felt it myself.

Competitive: (left-right) Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez and Samed Yesil battle in training on Friday

Competitive: (left-right) Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez and Samed Yesil battle in training on Friday

Keen eye: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers (second right) oversees training at Melwood

Keen eye: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers (second right) oversees training at Melwood

Head and shoulders above: Luis Suarez in training

Head and shoulders above: Luis Suarez in training

'We just couldn't perform and were glad to get it out the way. It was such an emotional day for us and it could be that way on Sunday.'

Having twice appealed for United's supporters to behave themselves, Ferguson opted not to deliver another plea, believing it would be pointless under the circumstances.

Instead, he wants the match to be played in the correct spirit, which will surely involve a pre-game handshake between Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra should both play.

'I don't think we should get into that now,' he said. 'We should let the players get on with it. There is enough pressure on them.

'Liverpool have done their bit. We've done our bit. We've given a lot of messages so let the game go on.'

If the significance of the occasion cannot be understated, neither can the need for points.
Liverpool are yet to win since Brendan Rodgers' arrival and hover precariously over the relegation zone.

United have stabilised their campaign with three successive victories since an opening weekend loss at Everton, but they have failed to win any of their last five matches at Anfield - their worst return for two decades.

'It's similar to when I came down here,' said Ferguson. 'We could beat Liverpool but we couldn't win the league.

'The motivation leans on the side of Liverpool, particularly at Anfield. The crowd get behind them and they make it a real competition in terms of challenges and tackles.

'We know that will happen on Sunday.

Respect: Everton and Newcastle showed their support on Monday for the 96 victims of the disaster

Respect: Everton and Newcastle showed their support on Monday for the 96 victims of the disaster

Respect: Everton and Newcastle showed their support on Monday for the 96 victims of the disaster

'Last season we handled them much better. It was 1-1 in the league and nothing between the teams, then we threw away the FA Cup tie.

'We were by the far better team that day. If we get that performance on Sunday we will be okay.'

Reds boss Rodgers has built an impressive reputation through his time as a coach at Chelsea and eye-catching managerial stints at Watford and Swansea.

 

Yet some are already starting to question whether the 39-year-old is the right man to occupy such a challenging role.

It reminds Ferguson of the position Andre Villas-Boas found himself in at Chelsea. And that did not end well for the Portuguese.

'Any young manager needs time but in the modern world you don't get a lot of that,' said Ferguson.
'Look at Villas-Boas at Chelsea last season. He was a young man who lasted about seven months.

'We're in an age where patience is not a realistic thing. It's just not there.'

Ferguson accepts times have changed from his arrival at Old Trafford, where he was into his fourth year before he finally managed to secure some silverware. But the key to success remains the same. You have to win.

'The only route for any manager is success,' he said. 'It's a results industry so winning matches is important.

'It's a different game from when I started. There was less pressure.

'The world has changed. The press has changed. But I always felt I needed to win games.

'That's what you're in it for. It doesn't matter whether you're managing Port Vale, Liverpool or Manchester United, you have to get results.'

Meanwhile, Liverpool boss Rodgers expects the game to be played in the right spirit.

He said: 'There has been dialogue all week. There is respect in terms of the traditions of both clubs. We want this day to be remembered for the right reasons before the game, and the footballing reasons.

'A lot of work has been done and hopefully Sunday will pass off peacefully and well and we can talk about the tributes and football.

'It is an emotionally-charged game. I wouldn't sit here and tell Liverpool supporters how to behave. I know how they have behaved over many years has been fantastic.

'These are well-educated supporters who value humanity. I have no issues or no problems there, the message has been clear, and from Sir Alex as well, in relation to his supporters.

'I am sure once we pay the tributes to the families we can get on with the football.'

 

 

 

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

Come on you reds!! YNWA!! JFT96!! - guy , somewhere, 21/9/2012 15:19 YAWN

Click to rate     Rating   28

For once I don't really care about the three points. I think a draw would be the best result - then the focus will remain where it should be: on Justice for the 96. This has been a very sad couple of weeks for all Liverpool fans (indeed for all football fans). It could so easily have been one of us, that didn't come home that day. YNWA. RIP.

Click to rate     Rating   65

Your comments:Wasnt the Hillsborough disaster between Liverpool and Forest? Why is Fergie trying to hijack this moment, or is this more headology. If so very inapropriate - crisgb01 , Claydon, 21/9/2012 14:40...................................................... You shouldn't comment about things that clearly go way over your head.

Click to rate     Rating   80

To all those slating nani, shame on you lot. Support the lad. Every player has his ups and downs and should be supported no matter what. One second you love Rooney who has led you to the 19th title, the next you ask for him to be sold because he doesn't preform in ONE game!!!!! GET BEHIND THE TEAM, COME ON UNITED!!!

Click to rate     Rating   30

Breaking News!!!!!!!! Young In and Valencia will be defending like we did at Everton....... loooooool

Click to rate     Rating   36

Most of the players playing on Sunday can't remember the Hillsbro disaster or are from other countries and didn't really know about. A poor attempt at mind games. They'll respect whatever memorial, but they won't have been affected in any way. Alzheimers beginning to kick in?

Click to rate     Rating   78

I know its a tense local derby with points at stake but it would be nice if the players could respect each other on the pitch too.

Click to rate     Rating   88

Ferguson fails to mention how HE intends to behave during the game.....Watched this bafoon so many times starting side line arguments and with his constant moaning when its not all going Utd`s way he can be the spark to ignite the fire ! Lead by example first............. instead of telling others how to behave.

Click to rate     Rating   47

The only reason he's saying it, is to try and unsettle the Liverpool players. It was never gonna make Man u struggle emotionally, Man u players don't give a stuff about Hillsborough. I'm an Arsenal fan and I will be cheering for Liverpool all the way, hope they stuff manur.

Click to rate     Rating   63

United 3 - 1 Liverpool

Click to rate     Rating   35

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