MANCHESTER United boss Sir Alex Ferguson admitted that Manchester City’s shock defeat to Southampton on Saturday had a major impact on his team selection for yesterday’s match with Everton at Old Trafford.
Ferguson said he was going to make “seven changes” from the side which beat Fulham last weekend, but Rio Ferdinand and Michael Carrick were the only regular starters omitted from the staring 11. The move paid off as United ran out 2-0 winners thanks to goals from Ryan Giggs and Robin van Persie to move 12 points clear of Roberto Mancini’s men, who were beaten 3-1 at St Mary’s.
“Yeah it did,” he said, when asked if the City result had prompted a change of heart.
“I thought I’d make about seven changes, but when I saw the result yesterday, I knew how important the game today would be for us and we can make more changes later on in the season.”
“We have to win our games anyway, it doesn’t matter what happened with City yesterday,” he continued. “Thats the way we should look at it, to concentrate on our own game and we will be okay.”
Ferguson was full of praise of goalscorer Giggs, whose goal ensured he maintained his own record of scoring in all 23 Premier League seasons. “His legacy lives on, he is a fantastic human being,” Ferguson said. “He’s up and down that pitch all day and has shown fantastic energy for the game, it is wonderful to see.”
The player himself was more concerned with getting the three points than personal milestones and demanded his side maintain their recent impressive form.
“It was an important goal. The main thing is that it set us off. We had to against a really good Everton team,” he said. “The performance wasn’t important but I think we played well.”
Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert spoke of his relief at a “huge win” over West Ham which moved the midlands club out of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone.
Goals from Christian Benteke and Charles N’Zogbia put Villa in control and all West Ham could manage in reply was an Ashley Westwood own goal as the home side held on for a 2-1 triumph.
It was Villa’s first win in nine league games after collecting only three points from the previous 24 available.
Lambert admitted: “It’s only great when you hear that whistle and you’ve won. It’s the only good thing about it. The stress levels are ridiculous.
“It’s hard to explain. You have to be in that position. Balls are going into your box. But once it’s finished it’s great you have won. You just have to see it through. It’s a huge win for us.”