Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson backs Tottenham to break into the 'Big Four' despite lamentable Carling Cup exit

Sir Alex Ferguson is tipping Tottenham for a sustained tilt at gatecrashing the top four despite Tuesday night's lamentable display at Old Trafford.

Ferguson's youthful Manchester United outfit cruised into the Carling Cup semi-finals for the fifth time in eight years thanks to Darron Gibson's brilliant first-half brace.

Even though he has plenty of faith in the current crop of youngsters trying to emulate that famed Class of '92, which still lingers on in the form of Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes, Ferguson could not have expected United to win their latest quarter-final quite so easily.

Jermain Defoe (L) challenges Manchester United's Serbian defender Nemanja Vidic

Breaking through: Ferguson believes Spurs are well equipped to finish fourth

Harry Redknapp was so annoyed he sidestepped the post-match press conference, sending assistant Kevin Bond instead.

But, as they had a chat over a glass of red wine, Ferguson will have told his old friend not to worry.

'We have to look upon this as a really good win for us,' said Ferguson.

'Tottenham have improved tremendously and look as if they are going to push for the top four.

'They have a strong squad and the lads who came in for them tonight did very well.

'We have played a good team so I have to be pleased.'

Tottenham spent the long journey home not only digesting Ferguson's comments but trying to analyse why such a strong side should perform so badly.

'The longer the game went on, the worse we got,' said Bond.

'Harry did not do the press conference because he probably thought he would say something he might regret.

Ritchie De Laet battles for the ball with David Bentley

Lessons to learn: David Bentley surges past Manchester United youngster Ritchie De Laet but the hosts still managed to overcome Spurs despite their dominance

'A one off? We certainly hope so. Hopefully this is a lesson and something that won't be repeated.'

Gibson was the star of the show for United, driving home a blistering 25-yard effort to give the hosts an early lead before drawing a flowing four-man move to a conclusion with a brilliantly curled finish.


It fully vindicated the faith Ferguson has shown in his youngsters, who have already been promised an outing in the two-legged semi-final next month.

'I want these lads to enjoy the semi-final because they will play again,' said Ferguson.

'We are gaining as a club because they are getting the chance to play in these matches. They are all definitely getting better.'

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