Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Berbatov goal gives United another 1-0 victory

Dimitar Berbatov 69th minute goal gives Manchester United a 1-0 victory over Middlesborough at Old Trafford yesterday. And that victory keeps United in the touching distance with the leaders.

The Bulgarian striker looked like a observer the whole match but in 69th minute Boro failed to clear a Carrick cross and Berbatov pushed it back past Turnbull for the decisive goal.

"Three points was the name of the game, I thought Boro played very well tonight and we had to work hard for it," United manager Alex Ferguson told Setanta Sport.

"But we've missed a lot of chances and that's a bit of a concern and if we don't start taking these chances then we might suffer for it."

Cristiano Ronaldo had half a dozen half chances but sent them either wide or straight at the keeper, while centre back Nemanja Vidic headed wide from a corner.

Middlesborough had not won their previous seven games and looked like they will take a point from the match but Berbatov's goal killed their hope at 21 minutes remaining from the time.

"He's a marvellous player," Ferguson said of his latest signing. "He's taken the goal very well at a crucial moment. At that stage you start to get concerned."

"We are in a good position now come the turn of the year. The two games in hand are at home but it's going to be a great run-in, very exciting."

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Ibrahimovic 'better than Ronaldo' ???

Inter Milan coach
Jose Mourinho insists his striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a better player than Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo.

"Ronaldo is a good player but he is certainly not the best," said Mourinho.

"He deserved the Golden Ball award because his team won the Champions League and the Premier League. But, for me, Ibrahimovic is the best."
Mourinho also said he is not chasing Chelsea's Dider Drogba, but admitted he will let striker Adriano leave Inter.

The 26-year-old Brazilian forward has been linked with a move to Chelsea or a return to his home country, and is apparently now free to leave in the January transfer window.

"(Club president) Massimo Moratti and I want him to stay," said Mourinho.

"However, if he asked me to leave I would not oppose it. He has 10 years of football left to play."

He added: "I have never hidden my special relationship with Didier but I do not need another striker as I have Hernan Crespo, Julio Cruz, Mario Balotelli and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

"But Drogba is more than a player for me, he is a part of me, an extension of the coach on the pitch."
With Italian champions Inter set to face Manchester United in the last 16 of the Champions league next February, Mourinho has begun talking up his players.

And the former Chelsea boss believes his fellow Portuguese, Ronaldo, "is certainly not the best" player in the world.

"When I think how a player should be, names like Kaka, Ibrahimovic and (Lionel) Messi come to mind," said Mourinho.

"Messi is great and in two or three years' time he will win the Golden Ball (Ballon d'Or) award."

Rooney conquers the world

Rooney conquers the world

Wayne Rooney grabbed the only goal as 10-man Manchester United were crowned kings of the world.

United were always the dominant force in their Club World Cup Final with LDU Quito, even after Nemanja Vidic had been sent off.

And Rooney ensured the Red Devils got the reward they deserved when he curled home the winner 16 minutes from time after Cristiano Ronaldo had supplied the final pass.

It is the first time an English club have won the tournament in its expanded form and the second time United have been crowned best on the planet following their victory over Palmeiras in 1999.

Any doubt over the tactics Quito would use against the Champions League winners were dispelled inside the opening five minutes.

First Claudio Bieler waded into Ronaldo with a dangerous tackle that rightly brought a yellow card, then the Ecuador outfit camped in their own half, content to let United come to the edge of their box but no further, using whatever means they could to achieve it.

Quito's defence was by no means watertight but, not for the first time this season, United failed to make their superiority tell.

Rooney powered two thunderous efforts towards goal that Jose Cevallos managed to deal with, the first time convincingly, the second far less so.

From then on, Rooney was the link man as chances began to pile up.

Park Ji-sung was one culprit, driving an angled shot straight at Cevallos before lifting a close-range shot over the bar after Rafael had picked him out with a superb crossfield pass.

It was the type of opportunity Ferguson has been imploring the South Korean to take as he gets into similar positions so many times but for a poor net return.

The same could also be said of Carlos Tevez.

Three times Tevez found himself in sight of goal but on each occasion he was denied, Cevallos particularly impressive in pushing away a header the South American guided towards the corner from Ronaldo's cross.

The prospective world footballer of the year was a muted force in attack. He did bring a few appreciative howls from a capacity crowd as he danced through the Quito midfield but the physical nature of the opposition ensured he never really got a clear sight of goal.

As Ferguson delivered his interval team-talk, he must have warned his team of the danger that lurked if chances continued to be spurned.

If so, his words had even more resonance four minutes after the restart as Vidic was sent off.

The flashpoint came as Vidic and Beiler wrestled on the floor as they tried to get to their feet.

Suddenly Bieler was rolling around clutching his face and referee Ravshan Irmatov was brandishing a red card.

TV replays showed Vidic had used an elbow, although as Bieler looked in no trouble as he re-entered the fray, it did not appear the damage was too serious.

Tevez was not happy at being substituted, snatching his tracksuit top and kicking out in frustration at the dug-out after appearing to spurn Ferguson's explanation.

Yet Quito failed to press home the advantage of an extra man, Van der Sar denying Alejandro Manso and William Araujo during sporadic attacks.

In contrast, even with 10 men, United kept pushing and 16 minutes from time duly received their reward.

Carrick supplied a superb pass for Ronaldo, who instead of going for goal himself, fed Rooney to his left and his shot was precise and out of the reach of Cevallos.
Van der Sar needed to make a flying save to deny Alejandro Manso in the final minutes and even Tevez was off the bench as the celebrations began.



Manchester United have agreed terms for Partizan Belgrade pair Zoran Tosic and Adem Ljajic.

The Daily Star Sunday says United have agreed to pay £15million for Serbian wonderboys Tosic and Ljajic.

And the European Cup holders hope to complete the double deal in next month¡¯s transfer window.

The Partizan Belgrade pair are manager Sir Alex Ferguson¡¯s only planned signings in January.

The club has already secured a work permit for Tosic, 21, a pacy left winger who would cost £8m.

Ljajic, who is only 17, is an attacking midfielder who is also being tracked by Spanish giants Real Madrid and Jose Mourinho¡¯s Inter Milan ¨C who face United in the Champions League in February.

The Old Trafford club decided to buy him after he impressed during a recent successful trial at the club¡¯s training complex at Carrington.

Already a Serbia Under-21 international, £7m Ljajic could be loaned back to Partizan by United for the rest of the season ¨C or even for the following campaign, too, as he has been earmarked by Fergie as one for the future.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fergie: We don't need Berbatov

Sir Alex Ferguson has told his title rivals that Manchester United are good enough to win The Premier League – without signing any new players.

Ferguson is expected to tie up the signing of the brilliant Bulgarian as soon as Tottenham sew up the striker’s replacement – now believed to be Roman Pavlyuchenko, although Andrei Arshavin remains an option.

United’s lack of firepower was highlighted in their opening match of the season, a 1-1 draw at home to Newcastle.

The Red Devils were without attackers Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani and Carlos Tevez at Old Trafford, and Ferguson insists his team can retain the title with or without new signings.

“If a new signing happens it happens,” Ferguson told Key 103.

“The squad we had last season is good enough. Carlos Tevez will be back for the Portsmouth game next week. Anderson is due back from the Olympics by the time we play Liverpool and Chelsea and Wayne Rooney will be more effective for playing 90 minutes against Newcastle.

“If we have to go with what we have, we will do.”

Manchester United Line Up for 2008/2009 Season

Man Utd 2008/09

VDS, Ben Foster, Kuszczak

Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Brown, O'shea, Rafael, Fabio

Hargreaves, Carrick, Anderson, Scholes, Giggs, Nani, Possebon, Ronaldo, JS Park, Fletcher

Tevez, Rooney, Saha, Campbell, Welbeck, Dong, Macheda

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lyon 1 United 1

Carlos Tevez stepped off the bench to grab a late equaliser for Manchester United in their Champions League first leg match with Lyon in France.
Tevez ghosted in at the far post after Karim Benzema had opened the scoring for the French champions with a superb individual effort.

But the Argentinian's 87th-minute goal will give United confidence going into the return leg at Old Trafford in two weeks, as they seek to reach the quarter-finals of the competition they won in 1999.

Ryan Giggs returned to the United side to make his 100th Champions League appearance - and was named captain after being rested for Saturday's FA Cup victory was against Arsenal.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Owen Hargreaves and Paul Scholes were also back in the starting line-up against a Lyon team who have won the French title six seasons in a row.

Wayne Rooney was employed as the solitary striker, with Tevez starting the game as one of the substitutes.

Lyon carved out a half chance in the third minute when Fabio Grosso lifted a cross from the left - however, United central defender Rio Ferdinand stood tall and made a timely clearance.

Play immediately switched down the other end and Ronaldo, fit again after a stomach virus, tried his luck from the edge of the area.

He was out of luck, although Swedish international Kim Kallstrom midfielder was happy to concede a corner.

Ferdinand then threaded the ball to Ronaldo after 13 minutes but the Portugal international winger was crowded out.

Lyon were looking lively and Brazilian playmaker Juninho swung in a free-kick after 18 minutes, only for Ferdinand to head clear.

Juninho then tried an ambitious free-kick from distance two minutes later - but Edwin van der Sar was able to make a comfortable save.

There was a scare for United in the 24th minute when Ferdinand sliced a cross from Jeremy Toulalan but the ball went wide of the post.

Rooney, however, almost made the breakthrough a minute later after being released by Giggs but Gregory Coupet in the Lyon goal made a superb parry.

The French outfit broke back immediately, and the highly-rated Karim Benzema suddenly sprung into action in the 26th minute, cleverly making space for himself in the area but watching in frustration as the shot went over the bar.

United were playing at their own pace at the Stade Gerland, but a minute later Giggs picked out Scholes - although the midfielder's effort was blocked.

There was not much tempo to United's game, and they seemed to be playing well within themselves.

They were content to hit Lyon on the counter-attack, with Rooney putting in a hard shift up front on his own.

Hargreaves was then booked in the 40th minute after a challenge on Govou which angered the French bench.

As the half was coming to an end, United carved out a couple of half-chances.

Ronaldo saw his free-kick from distance punched away by Coupet before United won a corner on the right.

Giggs swung the ball in, but Ronaldo failed to test the goalkeeper and headed over the bar.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson decided to keep things as they were at the start of the second half.

However, it was Lyon who made the breakthrough in the 54th minute with a marvellous piece of skill from Benzema.

The 20-year-old striker had his back to goal when Toulalan played the ball through - and there seemed little on.

But Benzema turned quickly and got between Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic before steering a shot into the corner off a post, giving Van der Sar no chance.

It was Benzema's fourth goal in six Champions League appearances, and was a sweet moment for the player.

Benzema's mature performances have been noted beyond France, and it is easy to see why.

Ferguson himself was present at this ground to witness an impressive goalscoring display against Sochaux on February 9.

United were stung, and Ronaldo tried to pick out Rooney with a cross in the 61st minute - but Lyon goalkeeper Coupet stayed alert and made a timely interception.

Ferguson brought on Nani and Tevez four minutes later with Giggs - who had made little impact - and Scholes making way.

United found themselves on the back foot again in the 66th minute when Francois Clerc cut into the area - but Van der Sar got down quickly to make the save.

Juninho cracked a free-kick wide but with Nani and Tevez on board United had more attacking options.

And - after Ronaldo and Michael Carrick had gone close - they got their equaliser when Tevez lost his marker and ghosted in at the far post to send his effort beyond Coupet, after the ball had fortuitously broken to him off Fred.

Ronaldo dazzler

Cristiano Ronaldo was dazzled by a laser beam before Manchester United's 1-1 Champions League draw at Lyon tonight.
The incident occurred in the warm-up to the last 16 first leg in France and United have reported the matter to UEFA.

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson said: 'We reported the matter to UEFA before the game.

'We noticed it in the warm-up and they (UEFA) are aware of it.'

Ronaldo showed no ill effects during the match, with United storming back to grab the equaliser three minutes from time through substitute Carlos Tevez.

The goal came about after a cross from Nani cannoned off a defender's leg and broke to Tevez, who made no mistake at the back post.

It was just what United were looking for after 20-year-old striker Karim Benzema had opened the scoring in the 54th minute with a superb individual strike.

Ferguson was pleased with the way his team rallied and they will approach leg at Old Trafford in two weeks with confidence.

Ferguson said: 'It was a setback to go behind but it was a fantastic goal and it made life difficult for us.

'But with attacking options we had on the bench and being 1-0 down, we were always going to make changes.

'Tevez and Nani have improved their chances with us after their performances.

'We are delighted to get a draw. You're never sure a goal is going to come but we managed to get one late on.'

Striker Wayne Rooney added: 'It is always crucial to get an away goal and 1-1 is a lot better than 1-0. It was a crucial goal to take back to Old Trafford.

'I felt we controlled the game for most of it. They had a few chances and stuck the ball in.

'Lyon are a good team and we know we have to concentrate 100%.'

Ferguson believes United are in the driving seat for a place in the quarter-finals.

He said: 'This has given us a good opportunity to qualify.

'I don't think Lyon had that many clear chances. Our goalkeeper has not had a save to make and I didn't feel that threatened.'

Lyon coach Alain Perrin could not hide his disappointment after seeing his side fail to see the game out.

He said: 'I felt that 1-0 was a good score but 1-1 is a different story.

'It was a shame to concede a goal in the dying moments of the game but we showed what we are capable of and caused United problems.

'But the way things stand at the moment, we are out of the competition and it was a strange goal we conceded and we have let ourselves down.'

Giggs joins centurions

Ryan Giggs has become only the eighth player to make 100 Champions League appearances after captaining the Reds in Wednesday night’s draw with Lyon, and Sir Alex Ferguson admits everyone at United is proud of the veteran winger.

The 34-year-old was presented with a silver salver before United's last 16 clash after following in the footsteps of Raul, Roberto Carlos, Paolo Maldini, David Beckham, Oliver Kahn, Luis Figo and Clarence Seedorf in passing the century mark.

“There are only a few players who will reach that milestone in European football,” admitted Sir Alex. “It’s because of his ability, his longevity, how he prepares himself to have a good lifestyle, and obviously being at a successful club.

“For me, Ryan has been an absolute model in his time with us. Even at 34 years of age we expect big, big things of him. Obviously we don’t play him in every game, but that’s natural for someone of that age. We want to play him in the games that really, really matter to our football club.

“Throughout his time with us, Ryan has always reserved his best performances for the biggest occasions. I’ve said many times about occasions at Old Trafford and the atmosphere, and the great nights
we’ve had there. They could only happen because the right type of players are playing on that stage, and Ryan has produced many great moments for us. So it’s a great occasion for him, we’re all proud of him.”

Patrice Evra started behind Giggs on United’s left side at the Stade Gerland, and the French defender admits he is delighted for his team-mate to join such an exclusive club.

“I think it is a privilege to play with Ryan Giggs,” he said. “For me I just say thanks to Giggsy because I’ve learnt a lot of things with him, he’s a great player and I’m very happy for him.”

Giggs is likely to have familiar company in the 100 club sooner rather than later, with Paul Scholes having joined Gary Neville on 98 appearances after starting against Lyon.

Monday, February 18, 2008


Fabio Capello insists his old club AC Milan face the toughest of tasks against Arsenal this week - and warns that the Gunners will be a very different proposition to the side that was humbled in the FA Cup.

The England manager says the return of Emmanuel Adebayor, Mathieu Flamini and Gael Clichy to the Arsenal starting line-up will provide a huge challenge to the Italians.

Capello was at Old Trafford at the weekend to see Arsenal beaten 4-0 by Manchester United in the FA Cup, but that result did not detract from his view of Arsene Wenger's side.

Capello said: "Since the draw I've felt that AC Milan could not have got a worse proposition than Arsenal.

"I believe that at this time Arsenal are one of the very top teams in Europe.

"They combine great quality with great speed. They will be very different from the team beaten 4-0 at Old Trafford.

"United prevented Fabregas from having any effect, a key factor for their dominance. But Adebayor, Flamini, Clichy will be back against AC Milan, for a very different Arsenal.

"We know that AC Milan can rise to the challenge in crucial matches, but this is a very difficult moment to face Arsenal.

"Arsenal defend with 10 men and attack with six. They are a very organised side, full of talented players. If you leave them any space, they counter attack with four or five at such pace that the opposition cannot figure out what's hitting them.

"AC Milan can count on their huge experience and, as I've said, they always give their best and more on such occasions. But to have a chance with Arsenal they'll have to be in top physical condition."

Capello picked out Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo as the key man for Milan, and said the return to fitness of 18-year-old Brazilian striker Pato could be crucial.

He added: "They will need their quality players in their best form, and it is vital for the likes of Kaka and Seedorf to recover in time. They will need a strong midfield to face Arsenal, Pirlo is a must. If Pato recovers in time it will be a big bonus for them."

Man Utd will face Porthmouth in Quarterfinal FA Cup

United will face Portsmouth at Old Trafford in the FA Cup sixth round.

The tie will be played on either Saturday 8 March or Sunday 9 March, with the winner booking a semi-final date at Wembley Stadium.

The last time the two sides met in the FA Cup – back in last season's fourth round – United ran out 2-1 winners.

Meanwhile, Bristol Rovers will play West Bromwich Albion and Barnsley host Chelsea. The winner of Middlesbrough and Sheffield United's fifth round replay will meet Cardiff City at home.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Bring on The Blues - Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney says he’ll be delighted if United draw Chelsea in the FA Cup quarter final.

The England international got the scoring underway at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon as the Reds romped to a 4-0 victory against top-of-the-league Arsenal.

Minnows Barnsley and Bristol City remain in the competition, but Rooney would prefer a tussle with Avram Grant’s Chelsea.

“I hope we get Chelsea,” Rooney told MUTV. “Personally, I’d like to play them at home and try to knock them out. After that we’ll be through to the semi final and I’m sure we can take things from there.”

Rooney has twice been on the losing side in an FA Cup final and is determined to add a winners medal to his collection this season.

“The FA Cup means a lot to me. I’ve been excited by the competition from a very young age and hopefully we can now go all the way.”

United swept Arsenal aside on Saturday afternoon even though the Reds began the match missing experienced players.

“Last season we had to play all the players in every game,” Rooney said. “Today we had Paul Scholes on the bench and Ryan Giggs got a rest all together. That keeps them fresh and could be key come the end of the season.

“We were very disappointed after last week’s performance against Manchester City. Training was difficult this week and we spent a lot of time talking about the tactics and how we were going to approach the game against Arsenal. I think we got it spon on.”

The FA Cup quarter final draw takes place on Monday 18 February at 13:30 GMT.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ronaldo Closes In On Best's Scoring Record

As Ronaldo closes in on George Best’s scoring record for a season we want to
know if you think he is a better player than the United legend?

Whenever United get a new and exciting young winger inevitable comparisons
are made with the legendary George Best.

So far nobody has ever fully lived up to the tag – although Ryan Giggs came
closest until the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo.

And with Ronaldo something extraordinary has happened. On his performances
over the last couple of seasons it is no longer a question of whether Ronaldo
might be as good as George Best – but the almost unimaginable suggestion that
he might even be better.

With his first hat-trick for the club coming against Newcastle on Saturday Ronaldo
took his season’s tally to 22 goals – ten short of Best’s all-time record for a
winger of 32 in a season set when they won the European Cup in 1968.

United have at least 20 games left to play this season and that’s even if they
progress no further in the Champions League and FA Cup.

As the chances of them being knocked out of both competitions in the next round
are unlikely (he writes without fear or cursing them) Ronaldo has ample
opportunity to break the record even if his strike ratio drops to an unlikely goal
every other game.

We know that Best’s top-flight career at United was longer than Ronaldo’s has
been so far and that he made a bigger and more consistent impact earlier on but
we think it is hard to ignore comparisons between the two any longer and want
to know your views.

Is Ronaldo better than George Best? Tell us what you think......