Tuesday 23 April 2013
Naturally the back pages of the British newspaper were dominated by Manchester United’s 13th Barclays Premier League title. Here is how they dissected the triumph and its implications.
Paul Hayward talks about the impact of the loss of the title the previous season: “Ferguson instilled a culture of fierce self-reproach whenever United were beaten to the line. ‘Remember how this feels,’ is a mantra known to all his players. Self-torture has always been the basis for the revenge mission – which always comes. As Mancini acknowledged this week, United have won this title race largely because they lost the last one. Surrendering the keys to Manchester to the sky blue gang from Eastlands was an affront: a razor-blade to United’s soul.”
Oliver Kay, chief football writer, acknowledges the effect Van Persie had but says it overshadows a key period in the title race this season: “Between January 20, when United led by five points, and March 30, by which time it was 15, Van Persie scored only once in 11 appearances for United in all competitions. At that point, United found a different way to win games. That, quite simply, is what champions do.”
"Suarez and Bale have propelled their clubs forward, but Van Persie defined the title race"
Sam Wallace sees similarities this season with United’s triumph in 2003 and talks about how Sir Alex Ferguson prevents other managers from gaining a longstanding supremacy. How United defend this title will depend on Ferguson’s activity in the summer transfer window, says Wallace, after many of the younger players developed this season.
“Not all those young players will emerge to be long-term fixtures in the side, yet they all now have experience of winning a league title. How the team develops next season will be, to a large extent, contingent on how United perform in the transfer market again this summer to refresh a team in which four of the six highest appearance makers among the outfield players this season will be 30 or more next season.”
Daniel Taylor also points to the contribution from the fringe of various players at Old Trafford who do not complain and accede to their manager’s wishes.
“At United there is an appreciation that Ferguson more often than not gets it right. Javier Hernández is a case in point. The Mexican has been used sparingly, starting seven games with 11 substitute appearances, but has still contributed eight goals. The United way is to knuckle down and the chance will arrive. ‘Everybody contributes,’ Ferguson, the most successful manager in the business, is fond of saying."
Daily Mail’s chief football writer Martin Samuel focused on the impact of Robin van Persie, saying his third goal “was precisely what a fee of £24m is supposed to buy.”
“Sir Alex Ferguson told confidantes two years ago that Van Persie was the one great player left at Arsenal, and that he could get him at any time. Seeing the title go to City last season might have crystallised those thoughts and last night made the logic irrefutable.
“Van Persie reacquaints us with the identity of the most influential player this season. Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale have propelled their clubs forward, but Van Persie defined the title race.”
Chief sports writer Steven Howard says that after a blip of one year it threatens to be another period of domination for United.
“So the football world had regained its equilibrium. United are back on their perch, king of the hill, top of the list, head of the heap. And it’s going to take something special to knock them off.”
Oliver Holt says United’s team spirit and resilience were key factors in regaining the title, highlighting what Ferguson identified as “the right stuff” in his programme notes.
“This side has panache. But it has character in spades. They won the title this season because they never knew when they were beaten. The right stuff, the right character, the right attitude, the right players, the right determination.”