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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Impatient fans helped get Steve Bruce the sack, says Sir Alex Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson has criticised the modern-day supporter for having "no patience", blaming Sunderland fans for contributing to Steve Bruce's sacking and questioning whether Alex McLeish is facing unwarranted criticism before Aston Villa's home game against Manchester United on Saturday.

McLeish still has to win over many Villa supporters since his controversial move from Birmingham City and Ferguson believes the man who once played for him at Aberdeen is facing similar difficulties to those experienced by Bruce, another of his old boys, at the Stadium of Light.

"Alex McLeish has been under scrutiny a wee bit but, in the climate we have with today's supporters, that's understandable because they just don't have the patience any longer," Ferguson said.

"We see what's happened with Steve Bruce in the north-east. Being a Geordie didn't help him because they are so passionate and committed to their team up there [in Sunderland]. What happens on the other side of the Wear really matters to them and I think Steve has suffered because of that. And Alex having been the manager of Birmingham City doesn't help him either. But that's the kind of supporters we have nowadays. They have no patience."

Ferguson reiterated his point when asked whether Ashley Young may face a hostile reception on his return to Villa Park. "As I say, present-day supporters are like that, aren't they?" However, he also spoke of his hope that the home fans may recognise Young's contribution during his time at Villa.

"He had a fantastic last season [at Villa]. You could see maturity coming into his game and that's the thing that attracted me most of all because, at 25, we were getting someone with maturity in the Premier League who could play in several positions.

"He has been a really good signing for us and integrated into the squad. He's started really well, which doesn't always happen when someone joins Manchester United."

Ferguson's squad will be minus Dimitar Berbatov, who suffered an ankle problem in the Carling Cup quarter-final against Crystal Palace, a 2-1 defeat that saw Fábio da Silva also returns to the injury list and ended with United's manager apologising to the club's supporters.

The defeat has led to an inquest at Old Trafford and Ferguson confirmed he would be trying to arrange loan moves for Federico Macheda and Mame Biram Diouf, two of the more disappointing players.

Ferguson was also asked whether he was becoming concerned about Wayne Rooney's failure not to score in the league since 18 September. The England striker managed nine in United's first five league appearances but has not scored in his last seven and his form has stalled since Ferguson experimented with him in midfield.

"Maybe that's something to do with it," Ferguson said. "He had a great start and he's on 11 goals [in all competitions], but it's a long season. He'll score goals, there's no doubt about that."

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