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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Manucho Scored Again

Panathinaikos [3 - 0] Panionios
21' [1 - 0] G. Karagounis
42' [2 - 0] G. Karagounis
64' [3 - 0] M.A. Manucho


Latics won't lie down

Wigan Athletic owner Dave Whelan has angrily dismissed claims that his side will not stand in the way of United retaining the Premier League title this weekend.

The Reds travel to the JJB Stadium knowing that a win will secure a 17th league title. Although former United club captain Steve Bruce is at the Latics’ helm, Whelan insists rumours that Wigan will lie down are scurrilous.

“All this rubbish in the press about ‘we will be rolling over for Manchester United’ is complete and absolute rubbish,” Whelan told an audience at the Latics’ annual awards dinner.

“You ask the boys, they’ll be fighting their socks off, I’ll tell you. If we can beat Man U, we are going to beat them. We’re going to get stuck in and give it our best shot.

“Whatever they say in Chelsea, we’re Wigan, and we will try and beat any team that comes to the JJB Stadium.”

Following his side's victory at Newcastle on Monday, Chelsea captain John Terry issued a thinly-veiled plea for the Latics to do his side a favour on Sunday.

"They'll do the Premier League justice and will go out there wanting to beat Man U," he told Sky Sports. "We've worked our socks off all year, so we'd be disappointed if they don't."

Manucho raring to go

The current campaign may not have finished just yet, but Angolan striker Manucho cannot wait to report for pre-season training at Carrington.

The 25-year-old forward joined the Reds in January, and immediately made a huge impact at the Africa Cup of Nations.

However, because of problems securing a work permit for England, Manucho joined Panathinaikos on loan until the end of the season.

With three goals in five appearances for the Greek giants, Manucho is relishing the chance to return to Manchester in the summer and kickstart his United career.

"During my time in Greece, I feel that I've adapted well to European football and it's been a good test for me ahead of playing in England," said the striker.

"My dream is to play for Manchester United since I signed for them in January.

"I hope I can take my chance and prove that I can play in The Premier League."

Sir Alex backs Rangers boss

Sir Alex has praised Rangers manager Walter Smith ahead of next Wednesday’s UEFA Cup final.

The Scottish champions meet Russian side Zenit St Petersburg at the City of Manchester Stadium on 14 May after defeating Fiorentina on penalties in the semi-final.

“It’s a fantastic achievement and I don’t know how Walter’s done it,” Sir Alex told Manchester United Radio.

“I think most people would agree that this isn’t the greatest Rangers team but Walter’s got them into the final of the UEFA Cup and they can still win four trophies.

“He’s managed to build a team that’s organised at the back and they have great team spirit. Those two qualities will get you a long way in football.”

Sir Alex, who played for Rangers between 1967 and 1969, will undoubtedly be cheering on his former side, but he expects Zenit St Petersburg to offer stern resistance.

“I couldn’t believe the other semi-final, with Zenit beating Bayern Munich 4-0. It’s going to be a very tough task for Rangers, but they’ve already knocked out some good teams like Werder Bremen, Sporting Lisbon and Fiorentina.”

He Wil cost you £8m, Fergie

United will sit down with Wigan next week to thrash out an £8million deal for Wilson Palacios. The Sun revealed last month Sir Alex Ferguson had targeted Honduras ace Palacios and his Latics’ Ecuador team-mate Luis Antonio Valencia. An insider said: “There has been contact between the clubs and Wigan have told United Palacios would cost £8m. Steve Bruce wants to keep him but it’s difficult to stand in the player’s way when United come calling. Valencia may stay at Wigan one more season but nothing’s been decided yet.”
Antony Kastrinakis, The Sun