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Saturday, October 4, 2008

Denis Law Highlights Video


Boss purrs over performance

Having watched his United side make a mockery of a traditionally tricky trip to Blackburn - one made in saturated conditions to boot - Sir Alex Ferguson was delighted to notch a fourth successive victory.

The Reds ran out 2-0 winners in Saturday's early evening kick-off, and could have had a hatful more as they made mincemeat of Paul Ince's side, much to the approval of their manager.

"This is one of the most difficult grounds to come to," Sir Alex told MUTV after the match. "We’ve lost and drawn games, but today was a really emphatic performance. The confidence of the team was outstanding and everyone was on song.

"It was a really good performance, and the reason for that is that everyone’s use of the ball was spot on. The first 10 minutes was a typical Blackburn v United game, it was hammer and tongs, tackles flying in and the game never settled.

"But once we got hold of the ball we started to use it really well, and we controlled the match. The counter-attack was always on for us because once they were 1-0 down they had to gamble at some points. When they did, we capitalised on it."

Goals from Wes Brown and Wayne Rooney gave the Reds victory, while profligate finishing and Rovers 'keeper Jason Brown conspired to restrict the visitors' goal tally to just a pair. Although hard pressed to find fault in such a spectacular performance from his side, the United manager was slightly irked by their failure to score more.

"We missed a few chances today, that’s the only criticism of the team," said Sir Alex. "We had two one-v-ones in the first half, the keeper made a fantastic save from Ryan Giggs, and I don’t know how many one-v-ones we had in the second half, at least three, but it could have been a big score for us. You don’t want to miss easy chances, and we missed some easy chances today."

The majority of United's squad will now jet off around the globe to play for their respective countries, and Sir Alex is hopeful that the international break - the third of the season to date - won't prove too disruptive for his on-song side.

"We never really get settled until the internationals are all completely over," he said. "Once this is over, hopefully we’ll get back into our rhythm quickly. We’ve got West Brom at home of course, but throughout November you expect us to really get going."

Fletch: Our fans are amazing

Darren Fletcher praised United’s 7,000-strong army of supporters who braved pouring rain to take over Ewood Park on Saturday evening.

Blackburn might not be everyone’s first choice for a Saturday night out, but United’s fans were in fine voice, and Fletcher says the support certainly doesn’t go unnoticed by the players.

“The support was a great boost,” Fletcher told MUTV. “Our fans always fill that end of the stadium.

"Our away supporters are fantastic. They’re the best in the country. They really get behind us and make it a great atmosphere. It was an away game, but our fans make so much noise that it feels like a neutral venue. It really helped us.”

There was, of course, plenty to cheer about as the Reds turned in an outstanding show of attacking verve in the second half – a performance at Ewood of the likes Fletcher says has not been matched in recent seasons.

“It was as comfortable as it’s been at Ewood Park for a long time,” said Fletcher. “We’ve always struggled here and it’s always a difficult match. But we were on top of our game. We created a lot of chances and scored two goals, but it could have been a lot more.”

It wasn’t completely plain-sailing. The Reds missed numerous chances to put the game out of reach long before Rooney’s 64th-minute sealer.

“It’s a dangerous scoreline, 1-0,” said Fletch. “Even though you’re in control of the game you have got to find that second goal because anything can happen in the Premier League.

"We’re away to Blackburn and they are always going to put pressure on you. It just takes one mistake or a bit of brilliance and it’s one-all and game on.

“That was emphasised at half time, we really needed to get a second goal to kill off the game. When it came, it was a brilliant goal for Wayne.

"It's definitely the best of his three goals so far this season, especially because the conditions were so wet. Ronaldo cut it back to him and to come onto that first time, keep it down and find the top corner made it a fantastic finish.”

Rooney hits top gear

Wayne Rooney says he hasn’t changed his approach after scoring his third goal in three games to help United to an impressive 2-0 win over Blackburn Rovers.

The 22-year-old Reds forward has been in fine form recently, scoring against Bolton Wanderers, Aalborg and now Blackburn. But Rooney defended his form at the start of the season by saying the only difference now is that he is finding the back of the net.

“Once you get your first goal of the season your confidence is sky-high. I’ve not really been doing anything differently,” he said after the match at Ewood Park. “I’m not doing anything different to what I was doing at the start of the season. I’ve just been taking my chances – that’s the only real difference.”

Rooney’s performance – including a fantastic second-half strike – was arguably his most complete of the season so far. The same goes for United, whose fluid movement in attack was a joy to watch in the second half.

“It’s a great result for us because it’s been a difficult place to come for us in the last few years,” Rooney told Setanta Sports. “The conditions weren’t the best, it was raining heavily, but I thought we played well and deserved the win.

“We moved the ball well at times as well. We were confident in possession and getting the goal in the first half allowed us to pass the ball more freely in the second half. We knew we’d get the chances to finish the game off and we did.”

Blackburn Rovers Vs. Manchester United Match Report

Goals from Wes Brown and Wayne Rooney sealed an impressive away victory as United totally dominated Blackburn Rovers on their own patch.

The Reds called the tune from start to finish at Ewood Park and, although Blackburn protested long and loud about the award of Brown's first-half goal, there was no question that Sir Alex Ferguson's side were deserved winners.

Rovers goalkeeper Jason Brown claimed that he was fouled as Brown headed in a Wayne Rooney corner, but the rookie stopper was otherwise kept busy restricting United to a respectable scoreline.

After a slow, stop-start beginning to the season, there have been signs in recent weeks that the Reds have been creeping towards top form, and this latest display is the clearest suggestion that the champions have hit their stride.

Sir Alex opted for an attacking line-up as he sought to extend a three-game winning streak, with Dimitar Berbatov and Cristiano Ronaldo selected upfront alongside Rooney, who overcame an ankle injury sustained in Tuesday's win over Aalborg.

For all the Reds' attacking talent, however, it was Nemanja Vidic who almost opened the scoring, but the Serbian centre-back couldn't quite contort to convert Rooney's deflected left-wing corner.

Ewood Park has hardly been a happy hunting ground for United in recent seasons, and Matt Derbyshire served notice of Rovers' threat after 14 minutes when his low shot forced a fine save from Edwin van der Sar.

That was the hosts' most promising piece of play, though, as United called the early tune. Darren Fletcher slid a clear opening wide and Giggs forced a marvellous save from Brown, but the Reds took the lead from the resulting corner.

As players jostled for position to meet Rooney's inswinging cross, the Rovers goalkeeper found his route to the ball blocked by Vidic - who had eyes only for the ball - and Brown was on hand to sneak a header inside the near post.

Jason Brown was called upon to save well at Rooney's feet shortly before half-time as - bar a routine save by van der Sar from Roque Santa Cruz - the Reds' dominance of possession and play continued long into the second half.

Just after the hour mark came the killer second goal. Brown burst out of defence and found Ronaldo, who outmuscled Martin Olsen before pulling back for Rooney to stylishly finish into the top corner.

A third goal in as many appearances for Rooney, who has responded perfectly to being benched against Bolton Wanderers last weekend, and he almost hit number four shortly afterwards, but his neat lob clipped the roof of Brown's net.

Berbatov, Ronaldo and substitute Carlos Tevez, who struck the post with a superb 20-yard effort, all came close to adding gloss to the scoreline, but the Reds couldn't find a way past Brown again.

Blackburn could count themselves lucky to suffer only a two-goal defeat after being bewitched by a swaggering masterclass from United. More worried will be those who most covet the Reds' Premier League crown, who saw the clearest sign yet that the champions are approaching top form.

Team line-ups

BLACKBURN ROVERS: Brown; Ooijer, Samba, Nelson, Warnock; Emerton, Tugay, Olsen, Pedersen; Santa Cruz, Derbyshire.
Subs not used: Bunn, Mokoena, Villanueva, Fowler, Treacy, Roberts, Andrews.

MANCHESTER UNITED: Van der Sar; Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Fletcher, Anderson, Giggs; Rooney, Ronaldo, Berbatov.
Subs not used: Amos, Park, Nani, Rafael, O'Shea, Evans, Tevez.

Attendance: 27,000

Blackburn Rovers Vs. Manchester United Highlights Video Clip

Blackburn Rovers [0 - 2] Manchester United (Premier League)
30' [0 - 1] W. Brown
64' [0 - 2] W. Rooney