Butt defends Ferguson team selection

PA Sport
Nicky Butt
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Nicky Butt

Former Manchester United midfielder Nicky Butt has launched a passionate defence of Sir Alex Ferguson's team selection at the Etihad Stadium on Monday night.

Butt was working for MUTV as an analyst on the 1-0 defeat to Manchester City that cost United their position at the top of the Premier League. However, rather than joining the chorus of condemnation for Ferguson's decision to use Wayne Rooney as a lone front man and pack his midfield, Butt said the move made sense.

"We had to go there not to get beaten and the system was to stop City from dictating the play in midfield," said Butt.

"Manchester City dominate midfield in 90% of the games. We have seen how well they move the ball. If United had played two up front we would have been wide open and they could have scored three or four.

"Let's not underestimate Manchester City. They are a quality team, who have spent millions of pounds on world class stars.

"It was bad defending by Chris Smalling but apart from that, United did the job. The plan worked for 46 minutes.

"We were trying to stop them creating chances, which Silva, Tevez, Aguero, Nasri can do. If we had got to half-time, who knows what would have happened. But I am convinced if we had played two up front we would have conceded more than one goal."

However Butt, who won six Premier League titles during his time at Old Trafford, insists United will still win the title, with City next facing a testing trip to Newcastle before a home game against QPR.

"It is far from over. I still don't think City will win the league," Butt said.

"I remember playing West Ham in 1995. People said we would tear them apart and win the league. But football is not like that. People have pride. City have got two tough games, as have United."

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