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Monday, March 17, 2008

Bolton Wanderers Highlights


Ronaldo and Foster to the rescue

A single-goal win over a team desperate not to become the worst in the history of the Barclays Premier League is, on the face of it, nothing to brag about. Yet in the context of this season's title race, Cristiano Ronaldo's goal 14 minutes from the end of a very testing encounter could turn out to be as crucial as any he has scored during past eight months. “He’s brilliant, Ronaldo, isn’t he?” [Derby County boss] Paul Jewell said to a nodding audience. “You can’t man-mark him because he starts off up front, drifts wide, comes into the hole. He’s six-foot-two, brave as a lion, strong as an ox and quick as lightning. If he was good looking you’d say he has everything.”
Neil Moxley, Daily Mail

Carlos: We'll be ready for Roma

Carlos Queiroz is confident United can reach the Champions League semi-finals by disposing of AS Roma for the second successive season.

It’s also the second time in this campaign the Reds have been paired with the Giallorossi - United won the first group game at home and drew the other away. Queiroz admits Roma are a much-improved side compared to the one that was so soundly beaten last season, but he is confident the players will get the job done.

"It’ll be a difficult game as all matches at this stage of the competition are, but I think we have a good chance," said United's assistant manager.

"Roma are an improving team as they showed against Real Madrid in the last round. I think they're better than when we played them last season and in this season's group stages. But we know we can beat them. Hopefully we can do our job and reach the semi-finals.

"We’re pleased to be playing against European opposition, rather than one of the English teams," he added. "It’s what you expect when you play in the Champions League.

"At the moment we are very well positioned in both the title race and Europe and the team are playing well. So we're feeling very positive about the remainder of the season."

Roma's first result after being drawn against United was a home win over AC Milan. After going 1-0 down to Kaka's 56th-minute strike, the Giallorossi rallied with two goals in quick succession from substitutes Ludovic Giuly (78) and Mirko Vucinic (81). Read more...

Reds in for another fight

After scraping through against Derby County, United are in for another battle against Bolton Wanderers when the relegation-threatened North-west side visit Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Trotters skipper Kevin Nolan has pleaded with the club's fans to get behind the team at Old Trafford as they begin a run of nine games to protect their Premier League status.

Gary Megson's men were booed off the pitch after a 1-0 defeat away to Wigan on Sunday, a fourth straight league defeat which continues their perilous slide toward potential relegation.

"We were poor against Wigan, especially in the first half," Nolan told the club's website. "In the second half we put them under pressure but it was just that goal we needed. We were rightly booed off by our fans.

"It's always disappointing to see that and to see the anger in their faces. As club captain I ask them to please stay with us. We need them in our hour of need. It's up to us to stand up and be counted. We've got nine games to get ourselves out of this. It's not the time to talk about it, we need to do it."

Megson's men, who beat the Reds back in November at the Reebok Stadium, have struggled since Chelsea signed their goalscorer on that day, Nicolas Anelka, in the January transfer window.

And they will now also be without influential goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen. The Finland international missed Sunday's defeat to Wigan with a back problem, and is unlikely to play again this season. Read more...

Brown: We must be ruthless

Wes Brown has warned United must end their wastefulness in front of goal if they are to claim another Premier League title.

The Reds spurned chance after chance against Derby on Saturday and were set to drop unexpected points until Cristiano Ronaldo popped up with the 75th-minute winner.

“We’re getting some really good chances, one-on-ones, and we’ve got to start putting them away," Brown told MUTV. “We made it hard for ourselves against Derby. We could have finished the game in the first 10 or 15 minutes, but luckily we got the winner in the end. If we hadn’t won it would have been very disappointing, so it was a relief.”

After passing up several early opportunities at Pride Park, United could have fallen behind had debutant Ben Foster not denied Kenny Miller with two superb saves in the space of a minute. “Ben’s a great keeper," he added. "It was his first game for a long time and he came in and did brilliantly.”

United top the table on goal difference ahead of Arsenal and also have a game in hand over the Gunners, which they play against Bolton at Old Trafford on Wednesday. “It’s always good to be top,” Brown added. “If we can get another three points against Bolton, it’d be great for United top the table on goal difference ahead of Arsenal and also have a game in hand over the Gunners, which they play against Bolton at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

“It’s always good to be top of the league,” Brown added. “If we can get another three points against Bolton, it’d be great for us and we know then that if we win every game, we will win the league again.” Read more...

Foster's bow impresses Boss

Sir Alex Ferguson was delighted with the performance of debutant goalkeeper Ben Foster in Saturday's narrow victory over Derby County.

The 24-year-old made two crucial stops to deny Rams striker Kenny Miller with the score at 0-0, laying the foundations for Cristiano Ronaldo to bag three vital points for United.

Foster's United debut has been a long time coming, but Sir Alex feels a bright future beckons for club and country.

"It was an excellent performance," the manager told MUTV. "In his debut in a competitive game for United, he showed what England are going to enjoy for the next 10 years. I think he’ll be England’s goalkeeper without question.

"He’s an absolutely outstanding potential and he’s young. He’s not had a lot of football, and today he showed two great saves, his distribution, his speed off the line and it was really a first class performance."

Although Edwin van der Sar is likely to be rested again, Foster's performance at Pride Park and Tomasz Kuszczak's return from a one-match ban gives Sir Alex a dilemma as to who should start between the sticks for Wednesday's visit of Bolton. Read more...