Date: 10th December 2005 at 2:49pm
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Under-fire Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has taken stick this week, but … come on … can fans REALLY call for his head?

Blackburn manager Mark Hughes, a United legend, believes his former mentor will emerge triumphant once again.

Hughes: ‘It was disappointing to see them knocked out. I think the Champions League will be a lesser competition without them in it.

‘All the big European clubs should be in the knockout stages, but if your performances don’t merit a place, that is how it has to be.

‘They have gone out of European competitions before, but have always reacted in the right way and come back, and I think you will see a response this weekend.

‘Sir Alex has also experienced this before. He knows the situation. If United lose in games then he is open to criticism along with his players, and that has always been the case.

‘But he knows how to deal with it. It makes him stronger as a guy, and his team stronger as a group.’