You can teach an old Fergie new tricks: Manchester United use diamond formation to keep rivals guessing

By Dean Wilkins

Sir Alex Ferguson is planning to hoodwink Manchester United’s opponents by switching between a diamond and historical double-winger formation to keep rivals guessing.

Fergie’s 25-year history at Old Trafford has cemented the tactic of utilising the wings – manufacturing iconic players Cristiano Ronaldo, David Beckham and Ryan Giggs – but has recently favoured a three-pronged attack with midfield support.

And ahead of the Reds’ Champions League clash against FC Braga tonight, Sir Alex is planning on welcoming back Shinji Kagawa and Tom Cleverley to the team.

“If it turns out we play the diamond consistently it would be revolutionary because it is going against our history,” said the Scot.

“But the level of the game in England and Europe is so high that making yourself unpredictable is a strength.

“Teams will have to think if we are going to use two out wide or the diamond because we have players capable of doing both things.

“Kagawa and Cleverley can play really well in the type of game that a diamond offers, while in Nani, Ashley Young [set to return from injury] and Antonio Valencia we have very good wide players.”

Ferguson rested the two playmaking midfielders for Saturday’s 4-2 victory against Stoke City but will welcome them back to continue their 100% record in the Champions League this year.

But United’s defensive line-up will have two major holes in it as Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra are left out ahead of their trip to Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

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