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'Weakened' United ready to sink Blackpool

sports Updated: May 21, 2011 09:09 IST

AFP
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Manchester United are ready to collect their Premier League trophy on a winning note with Sir Alex Ferguson claiming his team will be good enough to end Blackpool's top-flight adventure.

Ferguson, who has confirmed he will rest some of his players with the Champions League Final against Barcelona on May 28 in mind, has come under fire for adopting such a rotation policy at this critical stage of the season.

With relegation still to be decided, the bearing of this result against Blackpool could have a major impact on the outcome of who survives in the Premier League.

But the Manchester United manager, who admits he is in a no-win situation, won't be swayed by such criticism as he aims to avoid his side's title celebration party being ruined.

"It's not the easiest game for me to pick a team," Ferguson reflected. "Obviously, everyone expects us to leave players out and that will be the case, we have to think about next week.

"So I've got to juggle the balls about and make sure we get the right mix, the right energies for the final against Barcelona.

"The most important thing Sunday is to make sure there is no criticism of the club.

"It's juggling the selections around. We've also got Gary Neville's testimonial on Tuesday. That's important because his service to the club deserves a good representation from Manchester United, in terms of the players."

The veteran Scot has not been afraid to pick weakened teams when it counts most in the past.

He named a shadow side that still had enough to book their place at Wembley, with their second-leg European Cup semi-final win over Schalke last month.

But he has enjoyed mixed success when resting his key players at 'dead-rubbers' involving his United side in recent years.

"I think that's very important. I think there are players who need a game anyway - Darren Fletcher, Paul Scholes, Anderson, Berbatov, Patrice Evra and Edwin van der Sar - will all play," he said.

"There are certain players who need a game. How we manage the rest, we will have to wait and see.

"The only thing you should be criticised for is if you lose a game and it affects other teams, then you should be put under scrutiny.

"Going back to when we played West Ham in 2007 and Neil Warnock, for some reason, found it easy to criticise us but if you watched the game that day, we battered West Ham (despite losing).

"If you remember, going back to Hull we played with Gary Neville and Wes Brown the only experienced players and we won the game 1-0.

"There was no need to criticise the selection that time. This occasion, we will do the same again. We've got to make sure we win.

"The criticism can only be valid if you lose the game. Hopefully we don't. We want to win it."

Blackpool have won many friends, and admirers, back in the top division.

Having been tipped to be the first side relegated, Ian Holloway's side have defied the odds to be still in with a shout at this stage.

And the outspoken Blackpool manager believes the league would rather see the back of him and is now offended by the notion that his opposite number on Sunday should be questioned.

"They (the Premier League) will be relieved if we lose and get relegated," he said. "Then I will not be badgering them. I am so annoyed. Sir Alex Ferguson is a winner.

"That man deserves to pick whatever team he wants to pick. No one should question it.

"Look at his record. Those people running the game, what planet are they on? They must have beamed down from Planet Zarf.

"They think we can only beat Manchester United if they are weak. What a load of baloney.

"Already, they are saying Blackpool can't beat them. I am glad I don't go to work thinking that, otherwise I would never have got promoted last year."