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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Manchester United Vs. Everton Match Preview

Manchester United new boy Nani is convinced a Premier League and Champions League double is a possibility for the Old Trafford outfit this season. The £17million Portugal international is adapting to life with the Red Devils following his summer arrival from Sporting Lisbon.

Such is the huge strength of Sir Alex Ferguson's squad at present that the 21-year-old did not even make the bench for Sunday's win at Liverpool, even though he has been an effective performer when called upon and scored a hugely important winner against Tottenham earlier in the season. Having always known he would not play that often during his debut campaign, Nani is content with his impact so far.

And he remains optimistic he can end the season with a very impressive medal collection. ``I know it will be very difficult to win both trophies,'' he said. ``But I also know it is is possible because Manchester United have a great team and a fantastic squad and we play good football. ``The Premier League is hard because although Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool are the teams you expect to be at the top, you do not get one easy game.

``There are certain teams you watch on TV and think it will not be that hard against them. But when you actually meet them on the pitch, it is a completely different matter. They all seem to try really hard because they are playing Manchester United.'' United already know they will face French opposition in the last 16 of the Champions League next spring and no doubt hope they will enjoy similar success against six-times champions Lyon as they did against Lille 12 months ago.

For now, the Red Devils are concentrating their energies on retaining their title, the pursuit of which continues against Everton at Old Trafford on Sunday. It may be 15 years since the Toffeemen last recorded an away win over United but with 11 wins among a current 13-game unbeaten run, David Moyes' men represent a formidable hurdle to overcome.

Nani will hope to be involved, having made steady progress at United so far, aided by the presence of fellow countryman and good friend Cristiano Ronaldo. ``Having Cristiano around has really helped me,'' said the Amadora-born player. ``At the start, it was quite hard and I didn't speak English at all. But when I didn't understand something, he could tell me what has been said.

``I am very good friends with Cristiano and have been for a long time. But the entire squad gets on and now, I speak a little bit of English, we joke all the time.'' Nani's mastery of the English language is improving in tandem with his play. However, he is now having to get used to the long-held British tradition of festive football. Even if he is not involved against Everton, it is virtually certain Nani will figure in a packed fortnight which also includes trips to Sunderland and West Ham, plus a New Year's Day encounter with Birmingham before the FA Cup match with Aston Villa on January 5.

For a player who is used to putting his feet up and relaxing at this time of year, the sheer volume of matches has come as a major shock. ``It will be a different type of Christmas Day for me that is for sure,'' he said. ``In Portugal we never play at this time of year. Here we have five games. It is unbelievable, crazy.'' Read more...