Date: 22nd April 2009 at 4:48pm
Written by:

Alan Hansen, pundit for the New Football Pools on the FA Cup team selection.

‘There has been a lot said about Sir Alex Ferguson`s team selection at Wembley at the weekend but to be honest changes were always on the cards. Manchester United have had a long hard season and their priorities lie with both the Premier League and Champions League.

I don`t think there is any manager out there who wouldn`t have done the same if they were put in Sir Alex`s shoes. In an number of ways United are victims of their own success as Sir Alex has had to do all he can to refresh his tired looking players for the end of season push. It`s never easy to strike a balance between when and where to rest players but generally speaking it`s hard to fault the United manager over the course of the season. It was obviously different in my day in terms of playing your strongest side, week in, week out but in those days we only had 13 or 14 players to choose from so you had to play. I remember in 1984 over the course of the season Liverpool played 66 games but it was an entirely different era.

I don`t think Sir Alex was disrespecting the FA Cup in any way, it`s just where the club`s priorities lie. All the big clubs put the Premier League and Champions League at the top of their priorities as that`s where they earn the most revenue. The FA Cup would be 3rd priority and the Carling Cup 4th. For a club like Everton who are unlikely to win the Premier League and are not competing in the Champions League to reach an FA Cup final is fantastic but for the big four their priorities will always lie elsewhere. I`m afraid that`s not likely to change in the near future.’

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