Youths need time to shine - Fergie
Man United, Updated:
Sir Alex Ferguson believes patience is the key to getting the best out of Manchester United's youngsters.
United earned a lot of praise for their performance against Real Madrid in midweek, with David de Gea and goalscorer Danny Welbeck singled out for special attention.
Yet neither man has enjoyed a trouble-free campaign, with De Gea condemned at regular points - including by Gary Neville - for his failure to command the penalty area, and Welbeck's disappointing goal return also highlighted.
However, Ferguson's faith in both men has never wavered.
"We're always patient with young players," said Ferguson. "If you think they have the ability, you have to be prepared to wait."
Ferguson's reward came in the Bernabeu, where De Gea produced possibly his best performance for United, making a string of fine saves, including twice memorably denying Fabio Coentrao.
"Maturity helps," said Ferguson. "There are very few goalkeepers who go into first-teams when they're 20 and are the finished article.
"There are some examples that defy my reasoning, the likes of Gianluigi Buffon at Juventus and Petr Cech, who went from Rennes to Chelsea.
"That's not always the case, though. Peter Schmeichel didn't join us until he was 27 and then gave us eight great years."