12 times Sir Alex Ferguson ignored his own Man Utd advice – and paid the price

Sir Alex Ferguson appeared to question Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for resting Cristiano Ronaldo during Manchester United's draw against Everton – despite himself making the same mistake in the past.

The 36-year-old failed to have an impact after coming off the bench, with many left wondering why Ronaldo wasn't involved for the whole fixture ahead of the international break.

Ferguson was overheard telling UFC icon Khabib Nurmagomedov after the game: "I know, but you should always start with your best player."

Daily Star Sport have picked out 12 occasions on which Sir Alex might've been left to regret leaving out some key stars, with defeats and draws against both rivals and lesser opponents.

Birmingham 0-0 Man Utd – 2004/05

Birmingham rallied to take a point from United during their mid-October meeting during the 2004/05 campaign, with Ferguson choosing to leave Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes on the bench.

Despite both entering the action, the game finished goalless at St Andrews as Ruud van Nistelrooy missed a fine chance to take all three points.

One fan even told BBC Sport: "That Man Utd performance was a disgrace. We were trotting around the field like we'd been relegated!"

Portsmouth 2-0 Man Utd – 2004/05

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United failed to convert several golden chances in losing 2-0 against Portsmouth back in October of 2004, with David Unsworth grabbing the opener from the spot.

With Yakubu getting the second, Sir Alex may have regretted handing Phil Neville a start in midfield with Roy Keane being made to wait for his chance from the bench.

Louis Saha was also brought on in a bid to salvage a point, with United failing to score despite their desperation.

Norwich 2-0 Man Utd – 2004/05

United's already slender title hopes were all but extinguished by a jubilant Norwich side back in April of 2005, with Nigel Worthington and his team given a big boost in their quest to survive.

Each of Van Nistelrooy, Ronaldo and Rooney started the fixture on the bench, and were thrown on in the places of Kleberson, Quinton Fortune and Louis Saha.

It was also the first time in seven years that Ferguson didn't share his post-match thoughts with MUTV, with goals going in from Dean Ashton and Leon McKenzie for the home side.

Man Utd 1-1 Everton – 2005/06

While Everton goalkeeper Richard Wright has the hero for the Toffees at Old Trafford back in December of 2005, a place on the bench for Ronaldo looks to have been the wrong call.

James McFadden beat Edwin van der Sar from a tight angle to score the opener, with Ryan Giggs guiding past Wright to level the score after just 15 minutes.

Despite having over 70 minutes to grab a winner, Sir Alex watched his side fail to get a second goal even after Ronaldo was introduced after the hour mark.

Man Utd 0-1 West Ham – 2006/07

While United had already been crowned champions, fans who came to watch them on the final day would be subjected to defeat thanks to Carlos Tevez and West Ham.

The Hammers stayed in the Premier League thanks to their unexpected three points, with Ferguson leaving each of Giggs, Scholes and Ronaldo on the bench.

That happened to be their second defeat against West Ham that season, both by a 1-0 scoreline.

Chelsea 2-1 Man Utd – 2007/08

United were narrowly beaten by an inspired Chelsea side at Stamford Bridge back in April of 2008, with Michael Ballack scoring a header and a penalty either side of Rooney's equaliser.

Although United went on to win the title that season, the margin of two points over the Blues would not have been as comfortable as Sir Alex would've hoped for.

On that day in west London, Ronaldo was forced to start the game on the bench, coming on for Rooney after 63 minute and failing to have the desired impact.

Man Utd 1-4 Liverpool – 2008/09

Arch rivals Liverpool got themselves back into the Premier League title race with a comfortable 4-1 win at Old Trafford back in early 2009.

The Red Devils went into the game hoping to extend their lead at the top of the table, but fans would've been surprised to see Scholes, Giggs and Dimitar Berbatov on the bench.

Although they all entered the action, with Michael Carrick, Anderson and Park Ji-sung going off, goals from Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard, Fabio Aurelio and Andrea Dossena did the damage.

Fulham 2-0 Man Utd – 2008/09

Just a week after being despatched of by Liverpool, United lost for a second time in two fixtures after 11 consecutive victories.

Fulham ran out 2-0 winners at Craven Cottage against the eventual champions, with both Scholes and Rooney seeing red to make matters even worse.

Rooney had in fact come off the bench to be dismissed, with Carlos Tevez also missing out on a place in the starting XI.

Burnley 1-0 Man Utd – 2009/10

Burnley welcomed top-flight football back to Turf Moor after 33 years, and celebrated it with an unlikely win over Ferguson's United.

With Robbie Blake grabbing the only goal with a first-half volley, Michael Carrick had a penalty saved by Brian Jensen on his way to keeping a clean sheet.

The United bench that day included the likes of Gary Neville, Scholes and Dimitar Berbatov, with the midfielder not playing a part at all.

Sunderland 0-0 Man Utd – 2010/11

Sunderland were in fact the better side when United travelled to the Stadium of Light back in October of 2010, having to settle for a point having hit the woodwork.


The closest United came to scoring was a shot just wide from Berbatov, with a string of star names made to sit on the bench by Sir Alex.

They included Javier Hernandez, Berbatov and Patrice Evra, with Michael Owen, Federico Macheda and Anderson all starting in the North East.

Barcelona 3-1 Man Utd – 2010/11

Barcelona outclassed United to be crowned Champions League winners at Wembley back in 2011, and Ferguson's squad for the final raised eyebrows to say the least.

With Scholes the most notable player who started on the bench, Dimitar Berbatov didn't make the match day squad despite scoring 20 goals in all competitions so far that season.

"At Wembley, I [dropped] Dimitar Berbatov and he took it badly," Ferguson told MUTV in 2017.

"He didn’t deserve it. No player deserves to be left out of the final."

Man Utd 0-1 Everton – 2012/13

Although United would go on to win the title during Ferguson's final season in the rug-out at Old Trafford, they got off to the worst possible start.

The Red Devils were beaten at home on the opening day at the hands of David Moyes' Everton, and one bold call from the older of the Scots looks to have been a mistake.

Star signing Robin van Persie, who fired them to the title with 26 league goals after forming a fine partnership with Rooney, was left on the bench with Danny Welbeck favoured.

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