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Friday, March 28, 2008

Dunga hails Ando swagger

Brazil coach Dunga saluted the mental fortitude of Anderson, after the United midfielder's midweek display against Sweden at the Emirates Stadium.

The 19-year-old was roundly jeered by Arsenal fans after entering the match as a second half substitute, but shrugged off their catcalls to turn in an eye-catching display.

"Because he plays with Manchester United there is some feeling there, but it is not because of the football that he played," said Dunga.

"He showed his personality. He showed that his characteristics are strong. If he didn't rise to the challenge then it would be a problem for him."

A solitary goal from fellow substitute Alexandre Pato was enough to give Brazil a 1-0 victory over the Swedes.

Evans may make permanent move

Jonny Evans has opened the door to a permanent transfer to Sunderland in the summer. The Northern Ireland defender is on loan from Manchester United and he said: “If I was ever going to leave United, Sunderland would definitely be an option for me – if they want me. When Roy Keane says he wants you, it is a massive compliment.”
Staff reporter, Daily Mirror

Manucho stars in Tokyo

United's on-loan striker Manucho helped Angola earn a 1-1 draw against Japan's Under-23 side at the Tokyo National Stadium this week.

The 25-year-old forward, who joined the Reds in January and is now gaining first-team experience with Greek side Panathinaikos, played 78 minutes of the friendly match in Japan’s capital.

The home nation, using the game as part of their warm-up for the Olympic Games in Beijing this summer, took the lead after 52 minutes when Yuto Nagatomo cut in from the right flank and fired his side into the lead.

Japan dominated much of the match against an Angolan side that looked tired from travelling. But on 76 minutes it was a moment of Manucho magic that turned his team's fortunes around.

The powerful front man burst between two Japanese defenders, before crossing for Janji to equalise for the visitors. Manucho was substituted shortly after on 78 minutes, but he had certainly impressed the locals.

Japan and Kashima Antlers centre-half, Yohei Inoha, was very impressed with the United striker’s display, saying: “Manucho seemed as if he was still suffering jet-lag from the long journey here.

"It was the first time I have played against a player like him. His pace, power and dribbling skills are amazing.”

Beware Ronny's rockets

Aston Villa may be renowned for their success from set-pieces, but John O'Shea says they had better watch out for Cristiano Ronaldo’s near-perfect free-kicks.

“He spends a lot of time working on his free-kicks after training,” O’Shea told 1413AM Manchester United Radio ahead of the game.

“But it’s not as if he needs to work too much more on them. He’s got to the point where he’s consistently hitting the target and the swerve he generates means goalkeepers don’t know which way it’s going.

"We’ve seen keepers just hold their hands up and admit defeat because they don’t know how to deal with them. Maybe we’ll see teams employ some new tactics in order to try and stop him. We might see a team form a wall and also put a player on the line. At the moment, a wall on its own just isn’t enough!”

Whether Aston Villa will heed O’Shea’s advice when they visit Old Trafford on Saturday remains to be seen. We do know, however, that the Midlands outfit are more than capable of producing some big results. Martin O’Neill’s men have taken four points off Chelsea this season and were seconds away from beating Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium recently.

“I’m not surprised Villa have taken points off those teams,” O’Shea said. “They have a good mixture of power and pace and they’ve managed to steer clear of injuries.

"Martin Laursen has scored a lot of headed goals from set pieces, so we know they’ve worked a lot on their delivery from corners and free kicks. Just like Cristiano, they’ve reaped the rewards from a lot of hard work on the training ground.”

Fletcher out for six weeks

Darren Fletcher has been ruled out for six weeks with a knee ligament injury, which could put an end to his season.

The midfielder picked up the injury whilst on international duty during Scotland's 1-1 draw against Croatia at Hampden Park.

Sir Alex Ferguson said he will make two or three changes to his team for Aston Villa's visit to Old Trafford on Saturday. Read more...