There is no denying that football is a fickle game, one week you are on top of the world because you have won – the next you are terminally depressed because things did not go your team’s way. Manchester United started the season with some unbelievable score lines but sadly that period came to an end in an abrupt fashion with a 6-1 trouncing at home by, of all teams, Manchester City.
There was no denying the club’s enviable record of 38 home games without defeat. However, you knew that would come to an end sometime but you’d never have expected it to happen in such a spectacular way and to their Manchester rivals. The only way it could have been worse would have been if they had suffered a similar loss to their bitter rivals - Liverpool.
This result must have really hurt their manager, Sir Alex Ferguson. The last time Manchester United were humbled so comprehensively by Manchester City was a a 5-1 defeat at Maine Road in September 1989. A 6-1 defeat will certainly have hurt him even more. "I can't believe it," he said. "It's our worst-ever day."
United have not lost this heavily at home to City since 1926. One more goal for Roberto Mancini's team would have equalled United's worst home defeat, inflicted by Newcastle United the following year. As for Ferguson, his record books have been scarred forever. "It's the worst result in my history, ever," he said. "Even as a player I don't think I ever lost 6-1. It's an incredible disappointment."
The City manager tried to play down the achievement when he was asked whether defeating United so comprehensively represented one of the more satisfying results of his career. "No," he replied, "I'm satisfied because we beat United away and I don't think there are a lot of teams that could win here. But in the end there are only three points – we don't take six points."
Mancini went on to say, "This is important for our confidence but we should appreciate the mentality United have. United are too strong for this to affect them. They know, like me, there are only three points and this is only one game." United, he said, are "still one yard above us. We can change this only after we win the title. After that, maybe it will be different but, for now, United are still better than us." With 5 points clear of United and a goal difference margin of 12, that was very magnanimous.
However, as my son in law always remarks, “winning the league is a marathon not a sprint”. One lost game does not spell the end of United’s campaign for this year but it will jolt their confidence and worse still, fans of opposing teams will remind them of this result for a long time to come.
I don’t think I need say any more on this subject. Dave, I am gutted for you.