MANCHESTER UNITED MANAGER Alex Ferguson is looking forward to the aerial challenges Stoke City will bring to Old Trafford this weekend.
Tony Pulis’ men have earned a reputation for a one-dimensional aerial game since their arrival in the Premier League, with many sides struggling to deal with their physical approach.
But the tactics have largely failed against United with Stoke picking up only one point from a possible 30 against Ferguson’s side since 2008. And Ferguson was in buoyant mood ahead of Saturday’s clash at Old Trafford, claiming his side do not worry about the threats Stoke possess.
He told reporters: “We’ve got the jolly green giants coming to play against us tomorrow – the biggest team in Europe. You can get yourself in a tangle about that, because they are a handful at set-piece plays and long throw-ins, but you can’t make a terror for yourself.”
Ferguson remains full of respect for the work opposite number Pulis has done to maintain Stoke’s top-flight status since their debut in 2008.
“Tony has done a fantastic job,” he said. ”I can see progress every year, right from the foundations of the club in terms of youth players breaking through into the first team. Continuity brings consistency and they are a formidable outfit now.”
Manchester United welcome back Ashley Young from injury for Saturday’s clash and, despite setting the team up in a diamond formation at the start of the season, Ferguson believes the England international has sufficient quality to force his way into the team.
“The opportunities are there for him,” the Scot said. ”Ashley has the opportunity to win things here. I don’t think that’s lost on him. I’m sure that, during the time he’s been out, he’s been thinking about that. That’s what players do when they’ve been out, they start thinking about what should have been and what can be for them.
“That will hopefully surface as the season goes on.”