Nani has copped the flack for Man United’s 5-4 extra-time defeat to Chelsea after his error in the closing stages allowed the Blues to salvage a match that United had sewn up.
The Blues are now 6/4 favourites to go on to win the Capital One Cup after knocking United out but, had Nani retained possession in the dying seconds, it would have been a very different story.
Sir Alex Ferguson was quick to point the finger at the Portuguese winger after he tried to beat a man in the corner with the visitors leading 3-2. He lost the ball and Chelsea bombed forward to win a penalty, which Eden Hazard duly converted to force a further 30 minutes.
United’s youngsters buckled under the pressure following this, according to Sir Alex, and he wasted little time in making Nani the scapegoat. This is all despite the fact that he had nothing to do with Scott Wootton’s concession of the penalty, nor the same players’ weak back-pass that allowed Daniel Sturridge to put Chelsea into the lead.
It seems a touch on the harsh side to lay all the blame at Nani’s door even though, as an experienced professional, he should have known to hang on to the ball in that situation. Yet United did ship four more goals in the game and there was a great deal that could have happened from the instance the winger lost the ball to when the penalty was given, not to mention the fact that he scored the goal that was so close to being the winner.
There has been increased speculation in recent weeks that Nani is to leave Old Trafford due to complications with his contract negotiations and this finger-pointing from the United boss is unlikely to be well-received from the former Sporting Lisbon man.
It would have been a huge surprise to see him in the starting line-up when Arsenal visit the Theatre of Dreams for United’s next game, given he was omitted from their recent league win at Stamford Bridge. After feeling the wrath of Fergie for his irresponsible antics, however, a starting berth against the Gunners is almost impossible to envisage.
Players who get on the wrong side of Sir Alex don’t usually stick around long enough to make an apology and, with Nani apparently making exuberant wage demands that exceed even United’s lofty limits, it would not come as a shock to see him clearing out his locker come the end of the season.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date