Ferguson unlikely to rest on his laurels following United success

Having claimed an historic 19th league title, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will be looking at the strength and depth of his squad and asking himself what must be done to keep this team progressing. Ferguson’s ability to never let teams stagnate is one of his many virtues and is something that has been highlighted immediately following the draw at Ewood Park. Clearly the focus for both manager and players will have shifted to the Champions League final, but for Ferguson there will be many issues he feels must be resolved this summer.

First and foremost is the goalkeeping situation. With Edwin van der Sar retiring a new number one must be brought in. Learning from past mistakes many feel that Ferguson is likely to opt for an experienced keeper who is already there in terms of ability. The Scot, however, loves to spring a surprise. What also became abundantly clear against Blackburn was that Tomasz Kuszczak’s days at Old Trafford may well be numbered.

The Pole’s outing on Saturday was littered with mistakes which seemed to become contagious for the United back four. The former West Brom stopper was not at fault for Rovers’ goal as Jonny Evans’ position at the back post was poor, but it was his original mistake which lead to the goal. Prior to this he made two errors which buoyed the Blackburn players and got the crowd going. Another mistake came in the second half which almost had the same galvanising effect. The United players had no confidence in Kuszczak which was clearly apparent in a nervy performance. Whether or not Anders Lindegaard has enough to become a reliable number two is a question he is yet to answer, so it may not be surprising to see United venture into the market for two goalkeepers this summer.

Another area of the side which may look to be strengthened is the midfield, most notably the centre. It has been something which has troubled United all season, but which in recent weeks has become a potent asset. Ferguson seems to have settled on the partnership of Ryan Giggs and Michael Carrick, ably assisted by the work rate of Ji-Sung Park coming from the left. This worked extremely well against Chelsea last week and in both Champions League matches against Carlo Ancelotti’s men. However, at Ewood without Park the pair struggled to impose themselves on the encounter and were at times outdone by the impressive Jermaine Jones. It actually was not until Paul Scholes was introduced that United started working the ball.

This is where the issue really becomes apparent. Giggs and Carrick are often too inconsistent to continually dominate teams and do not have the composure and array of passing of Scholes. United always look better when they have a player to use the ball in the way Scholes does and so someone to fill this role must be brought in this summer. Ferguson will be hoping that the combination of Carrick, Giggs and Park have enough to repeat their Chelsea performances against Barcelona but even before the final he will be fully aware of the work that needs doing in this area.

The most successful manager in the English game will savour this triumph, but he knows better than anyone that time does not stand still in football and if he is to stave off the challenge of Chelsea and most likely Manchester City, change has to come at Old Trafford.

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