London: Manchester United boss Sir Alex
Ferguson has revealed he has been so concerned by Wayne
Rooney`s poor World Cup form that he broke off from his summer
holiday to call his star striker.
The Scot fears the weight of expectation on the
24-year-old`s shoulders may have contributed to lacklustre
displays in England`s draws with the United States and Algeria
in their opening matches in South Africa.
"I spoke to Wayne last week and I just said: `Relax and
enjoy it`," Ferguson said. "I just sensed there was a tension
in and around the (England) camp from what I was hearing. I
didn`t watch the Algeria game but I just get a feeling that
the expectation is affecting the England team.”
"Sometimes the expectation can be debilitating in terms
of getting the players to perform to the levels required to
get through their group."
Ferguson said he was not surprised by the
under-performance of England and France in the tournament so
"The season we have in Europe, particularly in England,
is tough," said the Scot. "Then the players all met up with
their international squads three or four days after the season
finished and they have been together for most of that time,
after a long, hard season.”
"It`s a real task to ask players to perform at the best
level they can after a season in England.”
"Germany take that month-long break in January and they
always seem to do better in World Cups than anyone ever
expects. Even though they are not as strong as German teams of
the past, they still manage to do something in World Cups."
Ferguson admitted he had been surprised by the turmoil
engulfing France and was critical of the decision to name his
former player, Laurent Blanc, as coach Raymond Domenech`s
successor, prior to the tournament.
"I didn`t expect them to do well, but I expected better
than what we have seen," Ferguson said. "There seems to be a
lot of disharmony in the camp.”
"I think it was bad preparation for the players to know
that Domenech was leaving and that Laurent Blanc was going to
be coming in after the World Cup.”
"They should have brought Blanc along as an over-seer or
assistant just to get a look, and maybe he would have had a
calming influence and brought a bit of harmony into the
Ferguson was happy with the performance of new signing
Javier Hernandez, who was in the Mexico side that beat France
2-0 and scored the first goal.
"He did very well," Ferguson said. "He showed good
movement, quick and sees space very well. I was very pleased
with his performance."