Custom Search

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Boss praises young guns

Sir Alex Ferguson was pleased with his young charges' display in the win over Orlando Pirates, although he accepted that the Reds ran out of steam somewhat in the second half.

The likes of Jonny Evans, Darron Gibson and Lee Martin all started the Vodacom Challenge game in Durban, with the latter's first-half goal settling another fast-paced and competitive pre-season friendly.

Sir Alex told MUTV: "I’m satisfied with the result. Some of the football we played in the first half hour was very satisfying: there was a lot of vision, movement and quick passing in our game, and we didn’t dwell on the ball.

"The Pirates were very aggressive in terms of pressing the ball and we had to be quick on it, which can only help us.

"After 30 minutes we lost our momentum a little bit, which happens with young players. They start to lose concentration. Defensively we were caught one or two times on the counter-attack but they had a lot of pace, although they weren't great finishers."

Ferguson had words of encouragement for Martin and Chris Eagles and is confident the young midfield duo can fulfil their potential by playing more regularly.

"Some of the players have not had enough football at this level, of course," the Reds boss continued.

"Eagles and Martin have been out on loan, Martin got injured at Sheffield United and needs a lot of football, but there’s a lot of talent there, as is the case with Eagles.

"Hopefully they can start to get regular football at a good level because to fulfil their talent and promise they really have to be playing football."

Orlando Pirates Vs. Manchester United Highlights Video Clip

United enjoyed another energetic pre-season workout as Lee Martin’s first-half goal gave the Reds a comfortable victory over Orlando Pirates in the Vodacom Challenge in Durban.

In a second competitive game in South Africa, an athletic Pirates side made some feisty challenges but lacked the penetrative edge of their rivals Kaizer Chiefs, with Reds goalkeeper Ben Foster largely a spectator.

Midfielder Martin scored the winner in the 23rd minute, poking the ball home inside the box after running onto a Fraizer Campbell flick-on.

Sir Alex Ferguson made plenty of changes to his side, with youngsters Jonny Evans, Darron Gibson, Campbell and Martin all handed starts in front of 50,000 noisy fans in Durban’s ABSA Stadium.

Carlos Tevez had the game’s first chance in the seventh minute, his low shot from the edge of the box drawing a smart save from Senzo Meyiwa.

Meyiwa was called into action again three minutes later to deny Martin, while Carrick saw a sweetly-struck volley deflected wide as United dominated early on.

Fraizer Campbell’s pace was causing problems for the Pirates defence and the young striker was involved in the opener, heading the ball on to Martin, who shrugged off Happy Jele and finished smartly past Meyiwa.

Tevez almost doubled United’s lead 10 minutes before the break but his snap-shot from the edge of the box flew just wide.

Centre-backs Rio Ferdinand, fully recovered from a back spasm, and Evans had little trouble dealing with the Bucs’ enthusiastic but largely toothless attack.

Martin had a strong penalty appeal waved away shortly before half-time and both he and Ferdinand were surprisingly booked for their protests.

United found the Pirates in more determined mood at the start of the second half and the Reds did not create as many clear-cut chances.

Foster was called into rare action to deny Lebogang Mothibantwa and Joseph Makhanya, before Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes came off a strong United bench for a 20-minute run-out.

The two substitutes almost combined immediately to score United’s second, Rooney laying the ball off for Scholes to hit a first-time shot that was parried by Meyiwa.

The Reds failed to add to Martin’s opener but claimed a second pre-season victory and, more importantly, 16 of the squad benefited from some more useful match action ahead of the 2008/09 campaign.

Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates do battle on Thursday for the right to face United in the Vodacom Challenge final on Saturday, July 26.

Fans can watch both games live on MUTV and MUTV Online.

United: Foster, Brown, Ferdinand, Evans (Simpson 88), Silvestre (O'Shea 62), Eagles, Carrick (Scholes 69), Gibson (Fletcher 82), Martin, Tevez (Rooney 69), Campbell.

Orlando Pirates Vs. Manchester United Highlights Video Clip

Orlando Pirates [0 - 1] Manchester United Friendly
23' [0 - 1] L. Martin


Arsene Wenger backs Fergie in hammering Real on Ronaldo

Arsene Wenger has for once thrown his weight behind Sir Alex Ferguson by accusing Real Madrid of "destabilising" Cristiano Ronaldo. Wenger's spats with Fergie have become legendary in the Frenchman's 12 years as Gunners boss - their rows adding spice to Arsenal's battles with Manchester United for the title. But Wenger reckons his old adversary has every right to moan about the way Real have gone about trying to poach Portuguese wing wizard Ronaldo. "If you don't show respect to other clubs, I think that football is moving in the wrong way," said Wenger. "You cannot come out like president Ramon Calderon has done at Real Madrid with Manchester United, and tell them they cannot stop a player from leaving. You can destabilise any player in the world - that is irresponsible. The big clubs should have values and vision, and be setting an example to others. If we do not do that in football, then we do not understand our responsibilities."
Tom Collomosse, The Mirror