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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Anderson's return impresses Rio

Anderson may have lost some of his hair while he's been chasing a medal in China but unlike Samson he's lost none of his strength.

The midfielder missed the opening weeks of United's season while helping Brazil to achieve a bronze medal at the Olympic Games.

But after arriving back at five o'clock on Sunday, he was ready to play again at eight on Monday, much to the respect of his Reds' team-mates including captain Rio Ferdinand.

"Anderson did well... until he got to 60 minutes and started blowing!" laughed Rio on MUTV.

"No, we have a little joke with him about that kind of thing. But he's a fantastic footballer with great abilities and we've not seen the best of him yet, I'm sure."

However, the ever-fashion conscious Rio was not as impressed by Anderson's hairstyle.

"His barnet's shocking at the minute! His extensions have come out and he's been in China where he's had nobody with the capability to braid him up. Hopefully now he's back in Manchester he can get hold of the person who normally does it for him!"

Anderson wasn't the only midfielder to be mentioned in the skipper's speech after the victory at Portsmouth. He also had words of praise for Darren Fletcher, a man who's making the most of a mini injury-crisis to stake his claim for a regular place.

"I think it's great that players are posing problems for the manager because they're putting in performances that demand at least a place on the bench if not starting.

"Fletcher's been outstanding in pre season and he's carried that on at the start of the season, getting into the team to score.

"This win was vital because by the time we play next in the Premier League, we'll be a game or two behind teams and there could have been a big points difference between us if we'd not won. Mentally it would have been a bit of a downer.

"But we put in a good performance and got a good result. Our general play was very good, very fluid, we passed the ball from the back through to the front with a little bit of ease to be honest. Our midfielders were really good on the ball and we opened up Portsmouth a number of times."

Team-mate John O'Shea echoed Ferdinand's comments on Fletcher and Anderson, insisting both deserved great credit for their Fratton Park displays.

"We gave Anderson a bit of stick when we saw his hair!" joked O'Shea. "But he was amazing for us - a star performer. He gets the crowd going and the team - he's just all action. The sooner we have him flying again the better and I'm sure he'll play a vital part in the games we've got coming up.

"It's great to see Fletch doing so well," he added. "He said himself recently that he needs to try and get into the box a bit more and he's doing that with some great runs which are creating a lot of problems for defences. Great credit to him for getting the rewards his hard work fully deserves."

Vital win delights Sheasy

John O’Shea was in high spirits as Monday night’s win at Portsmouth got United's title defence up and running.

The injury-hit Reds dropped two points at home to Newcastle in the season opener and, with trips to Liverpool and Chelsea looming, the importance of victory at Fratton Park was not lost on O’Shea and his team-mates.

“We're delighted with the win,” he told MUTV. “It's been a tough place to come over the last few seasons. We were hoping to add more goals, but to get a clean sheet and a win after the draw with Newcastle was vital.

“Half the team-talk was about the importance of getting the first win and it's something all us players discussed as well. We did enough to win even by a couple more goals. I don't think many teams will come here and keep a clean sheet and get three points, so we've got to be pleased.”

Darren Fletcher’s bundled strike ultimately proved the difference between United and Pompey, but O’Shea reserved praise for the Reds’ rearguard, who kept the hosts at arm’s length and posted a vital clean sheet.

“We've got to be confident in our back four and they showed their quality tonight against a very physically strong Portmouth side,” he said.

“It's always going to be edgy when it gets to the latter stages and it's only 1-0 - it would have been nice to have a two or three-goal lead. But we're confident in keeping clean sheets because of the players we have.”

£30m or Dimi rots in reserves

Juande Ramos is prepared to let Dimitar Berbatov rot in Tottenham’s reserves rather than sell him for less than £30million. Ramos has lost both his opening league games but is determined to do it his way — without Berbatov up front. With the transfer deadline looming, Manchester United want to cut a deal at around £24m. Yet Spurs remain insistent they want another £6m on top before they will let their Bulgarian striker leave. The trump card for Tottenham is that TWO Spanish clubs are staying in close contact to see how the situation develops. They will offer cut-price deals of their own to land Berbatov, unless United see off the competition by agreeing to stump up at least that £30m.
Pat Sheehan, The Sun