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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Rooney progress delights Ferguson

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson believes Wayne Rooney is "quickly" progressing towards top form after his performance in the 1-1 draw against Valencia.

Anderson's second-half equaliser ensured United qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League as top seeds.

Valencia had claimed a shock lead through Pablo Hernandez but the Spanish outfit were pegged back after half-time when Anderson finished off the rebound to Park Ji-sung's blistering effort.

Rooney was effervescent throughout and Ferguson believes he is quickly approaching top form.

"Absolutely, he did very well again tonight," the United boss told Sky Sports 2.

"His distribution, his leading of the line and his workrate were outstanding tonight. He's getting there, and he's getting there quickly."

Ferguson said of Rooney's partnership with Dimitar Berbatov: "We've seen flashes of it. Maybe not as much as against Blackburn, for instance, but Berba tonight could have scored another five. He's been unlucky not to score tonight."

Rooney admits there is more room for improvement but is happy with his progress.

"I feel good fitness-wise," he said. "Just in and around the box I've got to get my sharpness back but overall I'm happy with my fitness and with my performance today."

Rio Ferdinand limped off five minutes after the break but Ferguson revealed the early assessment was that he had not done any lasting damage to his hamstring.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Blackpool v Manchester United postponed

Manchester United's game with Blackpool at Bloomfield Road has been postponed because of a frozen pitch.

Referee Peter Walton, after consulting with groundsmen and club officials, made the decision on Friday afternoon, with the affected areas of the pitch not expected to thaw in time.

No new date has yet been set for the match, while the Reds will now have a weekend off ahead of Tuesday's Champions League clash against Valencia at Old Trafford.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sir Alex laments terrible defending

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was left furious with his side's defending as they relinquished their grip on the Carling Cup with a 4-0 defeat at West Ham United.

Sir Alex fielded a largely second-string side against the bottom-of-the-table Hammers, with Tomasz Kuszczak, Chris Smalling, Fabio, Bebe and Gabriel Obertan all handed rare starts. But while United's reserves managed to dispose of Wolverhampton Wanderers in the last round, there was to be no such joy at Upton Park.

Former United defender Jonathan Spector and Carlton Cole struck two goals each as Sir Alex was left frustrated by United's leaky rear-guard. They could have even been behind moments before Spector's opener but Victor Obinna had a goal ruled out for offside after his shot hit the United States defender on the way into the net.

"I didn't expect that, that's for sure," he told MUTV. "If you analyse it the goals we gave away were absolutely too soft.

"We didn't expect that, they were terrible goals for us. We had one or two half chances and Gabriel Obertan had a shot saved by the goalkeeper (Robert Green) which then hit the post.

"The goals killed it. You can't just give goals away at this level.

"That first goal was a break for them. We were in control in the early part, played some good football. But goals change games. The thing that sparked it was the goal that was disallowed because it got the crowd up.

"It was clearly offside because it came off one of their players and went into the net. It was clearly offside but they celebrated for so long. It spurred them on.''

West Ham boss Avram Grant was left in shock for very different reasons.

"I thought we could win but this is still an unbelievable result. We continue our progress,'' he said. "We scored four goals and could have scored more. But for me four is enough.

"To be in the semi-finals is very good for this club. We are trying to build something step by step. We have done the right thing. The gap at the bottom of the Premier League was five points and is now three points.

"We have many games left and I'm sure that this shows we can be good in the future.''