Ferguson planning major squad changes?

Sir Alex Ferguson insists that personal attachment has no place in management.

Sir Alex Ferguson has suggested that there may be several changes in Manchester United’s lineup ahead.

The manager, who has been at the Premiership leader’s helm for 24 years, insisted that personal attachment to players has no place in successful management.

"It is a horrible thing to say but you cannot be sentimental in this job," he told The Manager. "I love the players that I've had and I've been very, very fortunate to have had great players who have come through my career with me.”

He cited Nicky Butt and Phil Neville as examples of players who had found they no longer had a place in his club. "All of the players I have had here have played a part in my success so when I see something happening - as in the cases of Nicky Butt and Phil Neville - I have had to release them to other opportunities,” he explained.

"It was getting to the stage where I was terrified of talking to them and telling them they weren't playing. It wasn't fair to them because they had played a big part in the resurrection of Manchester United. When the time came for me to let them go, I knew I was cutting really important, loyal strings and I didn't enjoy it.”

Ferguson’s words have strengthened speculation over the futures of players including Owen Hargreaves, Michael Owen, Tomasz Kuszczak, Wes Brown, Gabriel Obertan and Dimitar Berbatov. The latter has received interest from various European clubs, while Paul Scholes has not yet confirmed whether he will delay his retirement for another season.

United, who were knocked out of the FA cup in Saturday’s derby, stand to pull off a Premier League/UEFA Champions League double. They face Newcastle United tonight at St James’s Park.

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2Manchester UnitedMan Utd18132339122741
3Chelsea18122432141838
4Liverpool1897238201834
5Arsenal18103531201133
6Burnley189541612432
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs1894531181331
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11Huddersfield TownHuddersfield186391630-1421
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13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton184681423-918
14Crystal Palace184591528-1317
15West Ham UnitedWest Ham184591732-1517
16Bournemouth1844101524-916
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19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom182881324-1114
20Swansea CitySwansea173311922-1312
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