EXCLUSIVE: Fergie to drop four after 0161 6-1
Published 22:30 26/10/11 By David McDonnell
Sir Alex Ferguson is set to axe several of his Manchester United derby flops for Saturday’s Premier League trip to Everton.
Ferguson is still seething over the way his side imploded to lose 6-1 to Manchester City - a defeat he described as “my worst ever” - and will show his ruthless side to some of his established stars.
Defenders Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra, whom Ferguson accused of failing to use their experience to keep the scoreline respectable against City, are set to be his most high-profile victims.
Fergie is said to be ready to pair Nemanja Vidic and Phil Jones in central defence at Goodison, with Chris Smalling and Fabio Da Silva occupying the full-back roles.
In central midfield, Darren Fletcher and Anderson, who were over-run against City, are set to make way for Tom Cleverley and Michael Carrick, with Ferguson determined to send out a clear message to his under-performing players.
Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen pushed their claims for starting places with their exploits in Tuesday’s 3-0 Carling Cup win at Aldershot, in which both men scored.
But Ferguson has no desire to change his attack, so Wayne Rooney is set to lead the line against his former club with support from Javier Hernandez or Danny Welbeck, as United seek their first Premier League win at Goodison since September 2007.
The champions can close the gap on league leaders City to two points with victory in their noon kick-off. Roberto Mancini’s side are not in action until 3pm on Saturday, when they host Wolves.
Ferguson’s assistant Mike Phelan was a member of the United side that lost 5-1 to City at Maine Road in 1989 - their worst defeat to their local rivals in recent memory until last Sunday’s Old Trafford mauling.
Phelan is still haunted by that defeat to City 22 years ago and called on United’s current players to use their own humiliating experience against their neighbours to rediscover their winning mentality.
“I’ve never forgotten the hurt of the 5-1,” said Phelan. “But you react, you pull together.
“We knew we were a good group of players, just as this group knows it’s a good group of players.
“Something has happened that we didn’t think could happen, as it did in 1989. But now it’s happened, it’s a question of ‘Do you pull together or do you let it affect you?’
“You have to take the hurt on board and deal with it. You find whether you have the success in you to go again.
“It’s only three points - we’re not even into double figures in games yet in the league.
“You can’t afford to let it spiral out of control and be the defining moment of your season.
"It’s one game which we have to overcome.”