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Saturday, February 6, 2010

David Beckham Interview ahead Manchester United Vs. AC Milan Champion Leauge Game

Ahead of United's Champions League last 16 tie with AC Milan, Inside United travelled to Italy to catch up with returning Red David Beckham, who can't wait to come back to Old Trafford...

You said you almost cried when you heard the draw…
It was just an unbelievable feeling to know I’d be going back, which is why I felt really emotional when the draw was made. I met so many amazing people during my time there on and off the pitch that I’m very much looking forward to seeing everyone again. It’s the biggest club in the world and it’s one you always want to be a part of.

Leaving United was clearly very difficult…
Yes, definitely. Coming to terms with not being a United player was very hard and certainly the toughest thing I’ve ever had to deal with. When you’re a Manchester United player and a Manchester United fan you never want to play for any other club.

How will Milan approach the tie? Has Leonardo asked you for any inside knowledge?
We will approach it like any other game, we respect United but we do not fear them. It’s been so long since I’ve been at United that so much has changed – there wouldn’t be much I could help with on that side.

Do you think the games will be harder to prepare for because of your United connection?
Yes, I think they will, simply because I’ve never come up against them or haven’t played at Old Trafford for seven years. It’s not something that you can prepare for. I don’t usually get nervous, but I think there will be a few butterflies before kick-off at How will you feel if you score against United, or even score the goal that knocks us out - will you celebrate?
Sometimes emotion can get the better of you when you score, but I don’t think I would celebrate as I respect the fans and the club.

How does Milan compare to United and what differences have you noticed between the Premier League and Serie A?
They’re two fantastic clubs who have great history and tradition. The two leagues are quite similar, actually. Italian players are renowned for their great ability, but they also have a real toughness about them and a will to win. The Premier League was always an amazing league to play in. I’ve obviously been out of it for seven years and during that time I think the level has been raised even higher than it was when I was at United. I think that’s happened to every league in a way – they all move on and get better.

Which United game from your career would you relive and why?
[Pauses] Wow, there are so many. The 1998/99 season will always stick out as being an unbelievable year. There were so many memorable games throughout that campaign. We were involved in some amazing matches and we scored so many great goals, many of them last minute. But that is just Manchester United – it doesn’t matter which players are involved, you always believe you can win. You might be 2-0 down with a few minutes to go, but the players and the manager never stop believing. That’s just the way the club is.

You said you would love to have stayed here for your whole career. Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville have all done that – how would you sum up the service they’ve given?
It’s been amazing. For them to still be playing at the highest level is incredible. It’s testament to them and the manager that they’re still producing great performances. The success they’ve had is unbelievable and I’m really happy for them.

Will Giggsy go down as United’s best ever servant?
Ryan deserves all the accolades he is getting at the moment. He has been amazing for Manchester United and he is loved by everyone there. It was an honour to play with him.

How do you rate the current side? They’ve been written off a few times this season, and many pundits feel Cristiano Ronaldo hasn’t been replaced…
When Ronaldo left, I think there was always going to be people who would write United off. It’s happened so many times over the years, but they always come back fighting and the manager has always got an answer for the critics. The club have still got some great players and I see no reason why they can’t carry on being successful.

Finally, can you ever see yourself back at United in some capacity?
I’ll certainly be back as a fan. I’ve still got season tickets and I’ll always keep them because I love to watch every game where possible and I’d love to take my sons one day. United will always be such a special place to me, so we’ll just have to see what the future holds.

Manchester United Vs. Portsmouth Result Report

United moved back to the top of the Premier League with an emphatic victory over beleaguered Portsmouth at Old Trafford.

Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Carrick struck for the Reds, while own-goals from Pompey's Anthony Vanden Borre and Marc Wilson piled more misery on the Premier League's basement side and assured the champions of a healthy goal difference boost.

Although Avram Grant's side threatened briefly during the first half, United mustered a five-goal spell in under 30 minutes either side of the interval to swat aside any notion of the visitors springing an almighty upset.

Playing on the 52nd anniversary of Munich, the match was preceded by an immaculately observed minute's silence. Then, from the first whistle, the two teams both firmly encamped in Portsmouth's half for the opening 10 minutes.

Although the visitors' pragmatic ploy created a possession monopoly for United, time and again a Pompey body would block a shot or the Reds' final ball would fail to pierce the massed ranks of defensive bodies, and it took 12 minutes for any real brush with an advantage. A short corner reached Gary Neville, and the skipper's inch-perfect cross was headed fractionally past the far upright by Jonny Evans, with David James motionless.

That scare sparked the visitors into a modicum of attacking activity, however. Former United youth striker Danny Webber broke away and slipped a pass to Belgian right-back Vanden Borre, whose powerful shot was beaten away by Edwin van der Sar. From the resulting corner, the Dutchman was called into another smart stop by Nadir Belhadj's stinging low shot.

Pompey's approach remained largely cautious, with Richard Hughes superbly screening his defence. When required, the midfielder even mucked in deep inside his own box, making one vital block after a flowing United move had culminated in Rooney bursting into the area.

With United committed to ceaseless attack, a Pompey breakaway nearly brought the opener. The visitors burst through with four attackers to three United defenders, one of whom, Evans, sprinted back behind Edwin van der Sar and superbly cleared Belhadj's shot off the line.

In the same passage of play, United somehow failed to break the deadlock when Neville burst into the Pompey box and pulled back for Berbatov, who fired wide from just six yards out. The disbelief which seized the Bulgarian's face was shared by almost all inside Old Trafford.

With five minutes of the half remaining, however, the goal finally came. Another short corner was shifted to Darren Fletcher, and his perfect cross gave Rooney the simple task of nodding home from the six-yard line.

The goal liberated the Reds from any nerves and frustration which were beginning to appear, and the scoreline was doubled on the stroke of half-time. Nani, who continued his fine recent form despite being shifted over to the left wing, teased Vanden Borre and drilled in a cross which hit the Belgian, deflected towards goal and trickled over the line to embarrass James.

Half-time brought temporary respite for Pompey, but United's determination to go top of the table in style continued unabated as the second period began. Michael Carrick added a third goal when the visitors failed to clear their lines, and the midfielder's 25-yard effort cracked in off the underside of the crossbar, albeit via a sizeable deflection off Hughes.

Three very soon became four when Berbatov collected the ball inside the visitors' area, fought off challenges and meandered back outside the box, before turning and unleashing a superb shot inside James' far post. The goal was the Bulgarian's final contribution before being replaced by Mame Biram Diouf.

The change constituted one third of a triple substitution, with Rooney and Fletcher making way for Michael Owen and Darron Gibson, with the latter soon testing out James' handling abilities with a rasping 30-yard effort.

A fifth goal duly arrived on 69 minutes, and once again a Pompey defender made the telling touch. Patrice Evra swung in a perfectly-flighted cross which Nani could only glance on, and Wilson emphatically hammered a finish high into his own goal.

Despite the evident dejection in the Pompey ranks, United mercilessly continued to press for more goals. Diouf spurned the clearest opening, when he did well to reach Owen's through-ball and make space for the shot, but fired wastefully over the bar.

Regardless, a point clear and three goals ahead of Carlo Ancelotti's Chelsea represents a highly satisfactory afternoon's work, and the free-scoring champions are clicking ominously into gear as the season enters its nitty-gritty period.

Manchester United Vs. Portsmouth Highlights Video Clips

Manchester United [5 - 0] Portsmouth
40' [1 - 0] W. Rooney
45' [2 - 0] A.V. Borre (o.g.)
59' [3 - 0] R. Hughes (o.g.)
62' [4 - 0] D. Berbatov
69' [5 - 0] M. Wilson (o.g.)