Glenn: No Sympathy, Please

Glenn Roeder is hoping that Sir Alex doesn't give him a friendly 'well played' after the game at Old Trafford.

Not, anyway, if it is accompanied by a grin at his side having won three points.

The pair get on very well, but Glenn admits he is getting tired of opposing bosses 'mugging' him, and he says:

"Three or four times just recently the opposing manager has said we have played well.

"There is very little sympathy in professional football, and that is not the way you want it to be, so it is not people being sympathetic - these are genuine truthful comments.

"But we take the view, and are absolutely right in this, that without doubt our last two performances were good enough to win both games.

"But we have taken just one point, which is crazy - and that is the disappointing thing, not how we are playing.

"Six points would probably have lifted us six or so places from the bottom, but we are still at the bottom after two terrific performances.

"It just proves what a tough, frustrating season it has been so far; we haven't had any good fortune in any of the games this year and every point we have got has been earned the hard way.

"But we are not going to make excuses or whinge about that - it is fact and we need to carry on playing in the manner that we have done in the past month.

"On the back of good performances we have got to put more points on the score board - we know that."

Looking at the trip to Manchester, he says:

"It is one of the biggest games, if not the biggest game, of the season for many players, and going to Old Trafford is always as special occasion.

"Having played them only about a month ago all the boys are looking forward to the game; everyone knows how difficult it is to go up there and get a result, but that is what our aim will be.

"Last year we surprised everybody, I think, and got in and got out with three points; we meet them this time round when they are in fine form, especially after beating Arsenal 2-0 last Saturday.

"It is going to be a tough game but we are looking forward to it."

Glenn says he didn't write Manchester United out of the title race last season and certainly isn't this.

"Only a fool would write off any team managed by Sir Alex Ferguson," says Glenn.

"Last year, people were writing them off when we went there and, although we won 1-0, I said afterwards it would be very dangerous to write them off in December.

"And, sure enough, they won their next game against Derby 5-0 and went on a great run, which unfortunately for them wasn't quite good enough come the end of the season.

"You never, ever write off Manchester United and people that do are not thinking straight."

Whether Rio Ferdinand, who missed the trip to Upton Park recently, will play or not remains to be seen, and Glenn says:

"Rio is pretty close to being able to return but whether that is at the weekend I don't know yet."

Looking at the trip to the Riverside last week, he adds:

"I was delighted with the performance; Middlesbrough have yet to lose at home this year but we should have inflicted their first home defeat of the season on them.

"We were very good on the day, had the lead twice, and it was an injustice in my opinion that we didn't hold on for all three points.

"The equaliser two minutes from time was hugely disappointing but the performance, in many respects, was even better than it was against Southampton, and we should have had that game won at half time.

"In the last three games we have created plenty of chances, which we need to continue to do, and all we have to do is take a larger percentage of them - and defend well.

"Overall, I didn't have any complaints, and you'd have to say their first equaliser was a very well worked goal - there was very little we could have done about Nemeth's goal.

"As for the second, it is always disappointing to concede from a set play, but on this occasion I would have to say the quality of the ball from Geremi was of such quality it became very difficult to defend against.

"Ehiogu, who has scored many goals from set plays - he has done it before and he will do it again - unfortunately got on the end of it, and he is a specialist at that.

"It is just a shame that just when you are looking for someone to deliver a poor corner kick, he has come up with a perfect one.

"I don't like coaches and managers that never seem to accept a goal that they have conceded could or should have been stopped.

"I have had plenty to say about some of the poor defending we have had this year where we have let in many goals we should have stopped but haven't because of individual errors.

"But fair's fair, sometimes you have to take a broader look and say that the opposition has scored in such a way that there was nothing you can do about it."

And an overall assessment of the situation?

"The mood is very good and the team spirit is very good," says Glenn.