Ferguson character should pick Man Utd up after Wigan defeat

After arguably Manchester United’s worst performance of the season against Wigan last night, the title race has been reignited once again.

It is true that United still have the more favourable fixtures, but the fact is that if City can beat their fierce rivals and win their four other remaining league fixtures, all they need is for United to drop points in one of their other games and maintain their advantage in goal difference.

However, before the potential title showdown at the Etihad Stadium on 30th April, United have two home fixtures that they are expected to win. Sir Alex Ferguson will use his own mental strength to instil the confidence in his players to go out and perform against Aston Villa and Everton. City meanwhile have potentially tricky trips to Norwich and relegation-threatened Wolves. Even immediately after the derby, United have the less daunting fixture, hosting Swansea at Old Trafford whilst City play away at Newcastle.

If the title were to be taken to the last day, only then would City have the easier game, playing QPR at home whilst United travel to the Stadium of Light to face Sunderland. Ferguson will hope that his players can rally to take maximum points from the next two games, and then get a result at the Etihad that would virtually secure the title.

United still have a five point advantage over their rivals, which enables Ferguson to be calm about the task in hand. He has spoken reassuringly over the last couple of months of United’s famed end of season form, whilst recognising that points will continue to be dropped along the way. The Scot knows that it is all about how you react to a defeat, which is the true test of your strength of character.

Micah Richards this week acknowledged Ferguson’s remarkable ability to provoke a response from his players. Richards labelled United’s reaction to the 6-1 reverse against City as “phenomenal”, and proclaimed that it was “down to the manager”. He even went as far as to say that had his team suffered the same trauma as their rivals did, “United would have been 20 points clear now”.

The contrast between Ferguson and his counterpart at City, Roberto Mancini, is stark. Through the second half of the season Ferguson has maintained a kind of quiet confidence that can only breathe self-belief into his players.

Mancini on the other hand tends to be very reactive, proclaiming one week that the title is over and the next that it is wide open. On the 2nd of April the Italian stated that if City “go eight points behind it is finished”. Eleven days later he said “I’ll never say we can’t win the league if there’s still a chance”. He has also been reactive when it has come to strikers Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tevez.

In contrast, Ferguson seems to give less away than his rival. He will pick his players up for Sunday’s visit of Villa, and demand a performance.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Norwich v Man City

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