Sir Alex Ferguson has silenced detractors who mocked him for his praise of Aston Villa following their 5-1 opening day defeat by Newcastle, as the Villans moved into the Premier League top three on Wednesday night.
Unai Emery’s side leapfrogged Manchester City in the table after a dominant 1-0 win, courtesy of a deflected goal from Leon Bailey.
It was the 14th consecutive home victory and one that firmly ensconced the Midland side among the contenders for the top-flight crown this term.
Villa have come along way since their humbling at St James’ Park in August that forced many observers to evaluate their pre-season predictions.
Not Ferguson. The legendary United boss’s praise of Emery’s side following that defeat was mocked on social media but appears incredibly prescient now.
Ferguson raised eyebrows when he said Aston Villa had impressed him more than any than any other team on the opening weekend
Some viewers took to social media to rip into the 81-year-old following his comments
‘To be honest with you, I watched Aston Villa and I can’t believe the scoreline.’ The 81-year-old told NBC Sports ahead of the Red Devils’ first fixture. ‘Honestly Aston Villa played fantastic football and just lost to bad goals.
‘Newcastle are going to be very difficult to beat, in their own ground in particular, and their manager has done a great job there. It’s a surprising game, football. You can play teams off the pitch and not score – that’s what Aston Villa did.’
Fans were quick to pile in on Ferguson and expressed their surprise at the take on social media.
‘What game was he watching?’ Wrote one viewer on X, formerly Twitter. Another wrote: ‘Someone needs to tell him he doesn’t need to try and play mind games anymore.’
A third commented: ‘Bless him! clearly losing his eye sight! Villa were awful but take nothing away from Newcastle!’
Leon Bailey’s late strike sealed victory for Aston Villa against Manchester City on Wednesday
United fans rallied round their former boss in light of Villa’s position in the table following their win over pep Guardiola’s side
One viewer noted the reaction of ex-Man United keeper Tim Howard, writing: ‘Look at Howard, he agrees when he thinks he’s talking about us, then when he says villa he looks embarrassed!’
While a Newcastle fan account accompanied their post on the quotes with the words: ‘Come again??!’
Not even half way through the campaign, Ferguson can feel confident taking a victory lap as Villa look in good shape to challenge for a Champions League place at the very least.
Ferguson supporters have used that same energy to laud their former boss, with several implying his foresight bolsters his claim to be considered as the greatest manager of all time.
Emery’s side welcome Arsenal to Villa Park on Saturday in what will be another test of their credentials.