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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Saha bides his time

Louis Saha admits he was frustrated after being left out of the starting line-up to face Sporting Lisbon, but he says Sir Alex Ferguson made the right decision for the team.

The 29-year-old Frenchman, still waiting for his first Reds start since February, was praised by Sir Alex this week for his physical presence and ability to lead the line, his qualities playing off perfectly against the likes of Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Rooney was given the lone striker role in the 1-0 win over Sporting, but Saha will hope he is named in the first eleven when Chelsea visit Old Trafford this weekend.

"Everyone gets frustrated if they're named on the bench in a Champions League game," he said. "Difficult choices always have to be made and I think the manager made the right decision. It was a difficult game on a difficult pitch so it was a great win in the end."

The Reds have become masters of the 1-0 scoreline in recent weeks, and Saha would gladly take a fifth such result in a row on Sunday. "That's the main thing. We need to get points and that's what we're doing now," he said. "We've got the confidence back and we want to keep getting results because that is what will make us champions." Read more...

Man Utd's Nani: Playing Sporting Lisbon was special

Manchester United winger Nani admitted it was a "special feeling" as he helped defeat his old team Sporting Lisbon 1-0 last night.

"It is a very special feeling, it was here that I played great games and I developed. It was very good to come back and see this stadium full, with two teams who play good football," said Nani.

"When I knew that I was starting, I felt a little nervous, as any player would who returns to face their first team.

"I was confident that when I and Cristiano Ronaldo entered the field for the first time we would be applauded, but also that as the game went on, we would be booed. It is normal, this is football." Read more...

Bento delighted for Man Utd pair Ronaldo, Nani

Sporting Lisbon coach Paulo Bento hailed old boys Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani after defeat to Manchester United last night.

"The way the fans welcomed them did not surprise me," said Bento. "We were hoping that the reception for Cristiano and Nani was going to be good. Sporting knows how to treat their former stars and show their gratitude to those who did important things for the club.

"I was a teammate of one (Ronaldo) and a coach of the other and I feel equally pleased with my influence on both their careers."

He added: "Obviously I didn't want this result. I would've preferred we'd won 3-2, with Ronaldo and Nani both scoring." Read more...

Anderson: Scholes helping me settle at Man Utd

Anderson was delighted to taste action for Manchester United as a second-half substitute in last night's victory over Sporting Lisbon.

The former Porto star was booed by Sporting fans and said: "It happens at every club, it's normal in football. It went for two or three minutes and later it died down."

Asked about how he was settling at Old Trafford by the Portuguese media, Brazil international Anderson added: "It is going well. I was late arriving because of the Copa America and soon after I had an injury. But I am calm, because I know I will get chances to show what I can do.

"It is a dream to play in this dream. Cristiano (Ronaldo) has helped me, as has (Ryan) Giggs, (Paul) Scholes. Everyone has helped." Read more...

Kerlon agent urges Man Utd to try again

The agent of Corinthians starlet Kerlon has revealed Manchester United came close to signing the youngster last season.

"His name is in the notebooks of every major European club," Mino Raiola told "Before his knee injury, we were close to Manchester United. Inter Milan were also interested and Juventus like him a lot.

"Whichever club wants him will have to pay around £15 million - a figure that I expect an English club capable of spending. Kerlon is a talent on the same level as Lionel Messi (of Barcelona) and will soon explode."


Rooney ready for Sunday

Sir Alex will be hoping to have a fit and firing Wayne Rooney for Sunday's visit to Chelsea after the striker completed 72 minutes during the Reds' 1-0 win over Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday.

It was the 21-year-old striker's first outing since the first day of the season against Reading, where he suffered a fractured metatarsal following a challenge from Michael Duberry.

Playing the lone striker role was demanding for the Reds front man, and as such Cristiano Ronaldo's goal allowed Sir Alex to take him off with Sunday's visit of Chelsea in mind.

"It was difficult for Wayne, having to play up front on his own," admitted the boss.

"We had to decide how long we kept him on the pitch, but as soon as we scored I decided it was time to get Louis Saha ready," he added. "Wayne will be better for his minutes on the clock and I'm sure he'll be ready for Sunday." Read more...

Queiroz denies quit claims

Carlos Queiroz has denied speculation that he will consider his future at the end of 2007 and says he is excited about continuing his role at the club.

Sir Alex Ferguson's assistant was quoted in the press as saying: “I need to reflect on what I want to do in this last part of my career. In December I’m going to stop and think about myself." But, as he explained whilst on United's visit to Lisbon, "it is just a misunderstanding".

"I don't understand why that has come up," he said in an interview with Sky Sports. "But the most important thing is that I'm happy, I'm very happy with the job and the position at Manchester United.

"The club is happy with me, so there's no reason to waste time with that issue."

Queiroz plays a crucial role at United in aiding Sir Alex on a daily basis, and his influence on players like Cristiano Ronaldo is immeasurably important to the Reds. And with a fresh influx of young talent at the club, Queiroz relishes what the future holds at Old Trafford.

"Especially at this moment, we have made a lot of decisions with a medium and long-term view," he added. "We expect a lot of things from our youngest players, talented players that we have got in the last season.

"So there are a lot of hopes and expectations about the future, and I want to be part of that future - it is really a big challenge for all of us." Read more...

Fergie chases Rabiu

Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to raid Sporting Lisbon again - this time for Nigerian whizz-kid Rabiu Ibrahim. Ibrahim, 17, has caught Manchester United's eye and Fergie is hoping his relationship with Sporting Lisbon can give him the edge on Liverpool and Chelsea, who have been watching the attacking midfielder. Sporting's past discoveries have in cluded United stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani. Read more...