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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Rampant Reds delight manager

Sir Alex Ferguson was delighted to see his side’s voracious approach in swatting aside Newcastle United at St James’ Park.

The Reds romped to a 5-1 victory over Kevin Keegan’s side, despite having played two extra matches since the Magpies’ last action, and the United manager watched with great satisfaction as the hosts were run ragged.

“It was a good performance. We could have scored a few goals, we made chances, but the important thing is that they’re looking really fresh,” Sir Alex told Setanta Sports.

“Coming to Newcastle is never easy. The crowd are fantastic, they urge their team on and it’s a volatile place to come. The first job to do is to try and quieten them. It’s not easy, but I think we did that for the most part of the game.”

Sir Alex made four changes to the side which drew with Lyon on Wednesday, rotating his forward six after the exertions of facing the French champions.

“We freshened up the centre of midfield, because that’s an area in which we have a lot of strength,” he said. “We brought Darren Fletcher and Michael Carrick in after Paul Scholes, Owen Hargreaves and Anderson all played on Wednesday, so it gave us a freshness.

“But the match was decided by the ability of our front players, they were all absolutely fantastic. They all did really well. Obviously with Ronaldo and Rooney scoring two goals apiece, they’re going to get all the headlines, but the movement of Tevez and the penetration of Nani contributed to that.”

Following last weekend’s FA Cup romp against Arsenal, a vital away draw against Lyon and Saturday’s thumping of Newcastle, Sir Alex feels his side have responded in the right fashion to the disappointing defeat to Manchester City earlier this month.

“We’re all disappointed with our performance against Manchester City, and since then the players have done their best to atone for that,” he said. “They performed against Arsenal last week, then in midweek against Lyon it was a very good result for us, and today stresses our urgency to try and do better and get up that league.” Read more...

Rooney: Arsenal draw lifted us

Wayne Rooney revealed that Arsenal’s surprise draw at Birmingham gave United extra motivation to beat Newcastle.

The striker scored two of the Reds’ five goals in a superb win at St James’ Park which closed the gap on the Gunners at the top to three points.

“We saw the Arsenal result before we played and that made us want to win even more, if that's possible,” Rooney told Setanta Sports.

“We knew we had to go out there and get three points, nothing less.

“Now we have to keep working hard and winning to try and overtake Arsenal and hopefully stay there until the end of the season.”

Rooney opened the scoring with a close-range volley but he was especially pleased with his second goal, which took his tally to eight in eight league games against the Magpies.

“I enjoyed my second goal. I'm always on the edge of the box for corners and I've been saying one will drop out to me and I'll score – thankfully that happened today.” Read more...

Newcastle United Vs. Manchester United Result Report

Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo both scored twice as United closed the gap on Arsenal at the top with an emphatic victory at St James’ Park.

Buoyed by news of the Gunners’ 2-2 draw at Birmingham earlier in the day, the Reds dominated from start to finish to record their second convincing win over Newcastle in as many months.

Ronaldo set up Rooney for the opener before the Portugal winger bagged his 28th and 29th goals of the season to put United out of sight.

Abdoulaye Faye pulled one back but Rooney’s superb second and a late strike from substitute Louis Saha left Newcastle still searching for their first win since Kevin Keegan returned to the club.

Reds boss Sir Alex Ferguson, mindful of the need to keep his squad fresh as they chase three trophies, made four changes to his starting line-up after the midweek draw in Lyon.

In came Nani, Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick and Carlos Tevez for Anderson, Paul Scholes, Owen Hargreaves and Ryan Giggs, with the latter two not even on the bench.

Keegan’s men had conceded 11 goals in four games coming into the match and United threatened to open them up at will early on.

Carrick made a marauding run through the middle and played in Rooney on the right of the box, but the striker failed to pick out one of his team-mates with his pulled-back cross.

In the 24th minute, Rio Ferdinand had to be at his best to clear the ball in the box with Michael Owen poised to pull the trigger – and a minute later United were ahead.

Ronaldo motored down the left, cut back inside Habib Beye and delivered a pinpoint cross to an unmarked Rooney, who volleyed home smartly at the back post.

Charles N’Zogbia was booked for bringing down Nani and Faye followed him minutes later after preventing Edwin van der Sar from making a quick clearance. Owen then became the third Newcastle player into referee Chris Foy’s notebook for raising his studs as he contested a ball with Nemanja Vidic.

Tevez missed a great chance to double United’s lead five minutes before the break, heading a Nani cross wide from seven yards.

But it wasn’t long before the Reds had their second and it was Ronaldo who delivered the sucker-punch with his 20th Barclays Premier League goal of the season.

This time Carrick was the provider, the midfielder finding himself in acres of space as he drove forward and picking out Ronaldo, who calmly slotted past Shay Given.

Ferguson brought on John O’Shea for Patrice Evra at the break, while Keegan’s only move was to replace goalkeeper Given with Steve Harper, suggesting he was more concerned with keeping the scoreline respectable than mounting a fightback.

And five minutes in Ronaldo ended the game as a contest with his second goal of the night. Fletcher intercepted Faye’s poor clearance, put Ronaldo through on goal and the winger rounded Harper before finishing emphatically.

The 23-year-old was denied the chance to score his second Reds hat-trick when he was replaced by Saha in the 66th minute, to a standing ovation from the away support.

Nicky Butt was booked for a crude tackle from behind on Carrick before Vidic, still feeling the effects of Owen’s late challenge in the first half, was replaced by Scholes.

Newcastle battled to offer a silenced St James’ Park something to cheer, but by now United were in total command.

However, Faye ensured there was to be no exact repeat of the Tynesiders’ 6-0 mauling at Old Trafford last month when he smashed home after a goalmouth scramble.

Scholes, eyeing his first goal since August, almost netted United’s fifth but, after a neat one-two with Nani, the midfielder’s header was well pushed over by Harper.

Rooney’s second goal and United’s fourth was exquisite. With 10 minutes left, he collected the ball on the edge of the box after the Magpies had only half-cleared a corner and curled an unstoppable shot into the top-right corner. It was his eighth goal in eight league games against Newcastle.

Former United man Alan Smith came close to opening his account for the Magpies but saw his shot from the edge of the box tipped over by Van der Sar.

By now, Newcastle were all over the place at the back and Harper tipped over Saha’s toe-poke inside the box.

But the Frenchman did get on the scoresheet in stoppage-time, firing home from inside the box to cap another resounding win for the Reds over their north-east rivals.

Team Line-ups

Newcastle United: Given (Harper 46); Beye, Taylor, Faye, N'Zogbia; Milner (Geremi 84), Butt, Barton (Carroll 61), Duff; Smith, Owen.
Subs not used: Cacapa, Ameobi.
Booked: Butt, Faye, N'Zogbia, Owen

Manchester United: Van der Sar; Brown, Vidic (Scholes 74), Ferdinand, Evra (O'Shea 46); Ronaldo (Saha 67), Carrick, Fletcher, Nani; Rooney, Tevez.
Subs not used: Kuszczak, Anderson.

Attendance: 52, 291

Newcastle United Vs. Manchester United Highlights Video Clip

Newcastle United 1 - 5 Manchester United
25′ [0 - 1] W. Rooney
45′ [0 - 2] C. Ronaldo
56′ [0 - 3] C. Ronaldo
78′ [1 - 3] A. Diagne-Faye
80′ [1 - 4] W. Rooney
90′ [1 - 5] L. Saha