"Worst result in my history"

That was how Sir Alex Ferguson described yesterday’s 6-1 thrashing by Manchester City. It was City’s best victory at Old Trafford in 85 years and Ferguson’s largest defeat there as a manager – truly remarkable statistics.

But the thing that caught my attention the most was Ferguson’s public condemnation of his own players. The way he singled out Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra and accused them of lacking common sense was astonishing, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Ferguson criticise his players in public like that before.

If that doesn’t send a message to his players, then what will? Personally, although I didn’t see 6-1 coming, I did see trouble ahead for United such has been their defensive performances over the past 3 to 4 weeks.

When I thought back to the recent dodgy defensive displays against Basel and Norwich in particular, and even Liverpool last week, I did think a United clean sheet seemed highly unlikely (unless Mancini went Italian and parked the bus).

Ferguson is the master of deflecting attention, we all know he usually blames the referees when something goes wrong. Yesterday he didn’t have that option as Jonny Evans’ red card was as blatant as you will ever get (although it did clearly influence the game).

That’s why I have a slightly cynical view that blaming Ferdinand and Evra was Ferguson’s attempt to deflect the attention away from the fact that he made a huge mistake by leaving the outstanding (so far this season) Phil Jones sitting on the bench, while the inadequate Jonny Evans played.