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subota, listopad 11, 2008
Wayne Rooney believes he will become a better player in the presence of Dimitar Berbatov - but he says the strength of United's attack means he is not guaranteed a place in the side.

The 22-year-old striker hopes his new £30million team-mate will bring continuity to his role up front, where he says playing alongside a player of Berbatov's experience will help him improve.

"The mere fact he is at Old Trafford should take me onto a different level," he says. "I am not guaranteed my place in the side anymore."

While Rooney shares some characteristics with Carlos Tevez, Berbatov has style different to anything else United have got, which is why Rooney feels he will be suited to playing alongside the Bulgarian.

"More than anything I like playing just off a front man," said Rooney, currently on international duty with England. "It's probably because I get on the ball more. I don't like to be out of the game too long.

"Some centre-forwards can stay up front, not touch the ball and just look to score goals. I don't really enjoy doing that. I like to be involved in the game. Mainly at United I have been used in different roles but maybe the fact Dimitar has arrived will bring some continuity to my game."

Rooney admits he likes the pressure of needing to perform to secure his place in the side, citing United's recent clash with Bolton, in which he came off the bench to score his first goal of the season. "I like to play under pressure," he said. "The other week when the manager left me out against Bolton, I was disappointed. I just wanted to get on the pitch as quickly as I could and show him what I could do. I like to prove people wrong if I can."
united @ 13:41 |Komentiraj | Komentari: 9 | Prikaži komentare
subota, rujan 20, 2008
Venue: Stamford Bridge Date: Sunday, 21 September Kick-off: 1400 BST
Coverage: BBC Sport website, BBC Radio Five Live & highlights on Match of the Day

Cristiano Ronaldo and Dimitar Berbatov
Ronaldo and Berbatov have played one game each for United this season

Cristiano Ronaldo and Dimitar Berbatov could start up front for Manchester United against Chelsea on Sunday.

Berbatov has recovered from a knee injury, while Ronaldo made his comeback from ankle surgery as a substitute in the 0-0 draw with Villareal.

Chelsea defender John Terry is available for the match after a successful appeal against a red card.

But Blues manager Luiz Felipe Scolari has said striker Didier Drogba is still not fit enough to play for 90 minutes.

With uncertainty over the Ivory Coast international's fitness, Scolari could be tempted to name the same starting XI that has beaten Manchester City and Bordeaux in the past week.

Ferguson revealed Ronaldo is desperate to feature at Stamford Bridge following a 30-minute appearance in the 0-0 draw with Villareal on Wednesday, his first appearance since the Champions League final in May.

"Cristiano is nibbling in my ear all the time. He is bursting to play," said the Scot.

"The boy was on fire on Wednesday. He was revved up to do really well.

"When you think he has had an operation, has been in rehab for two months and had not played since May 21. It was a big ask for him.

"But you have to say his performance level was outstanding. He has trained very well and is a natural athlete, so I have no qualms on that score. I just have to decide whether it is the right time."

Luiz Felipe Scolari is treating the game like any other

Ferguson also faces selection dilemmas over Nemanja Vidic's replacement after the centre-back was suspended after he was sent off in the 2-1 defeat by Liverpool.

Wes Brown could move into the centre of defence, with the fit-again Gary Neville slotting in at right-back.

But Jonny Evans, 20, is also in the Scot's thinking after he played very well in the 0-0 draw with Villarreal on Wednesday.

"I need to work out whether I go with Evans' ability but lack of experience or whether I opt for Wes' experience and Gary at full-back," said Ferguson.

Neville played just once for United last season - as a substitute in the 1-0 Champions League quarter-final second-leg win over Roma - due to an ankle injury.

No bigger challenge than Chelsea - Giggs

"Gary was only playing his second competitive match on Wednesday but he did very well," added Ferguson.

"That will bring him on if I decide to play him on Sunday but Evans was excellent as well."

"Jonny was the big plus. For a young man of 20, he shows great maturity in his game.

"He reads the game well, which is a fantastic asset to have at such a young age.

"He is commanding in the air and a good user of the ball and that gives me confidence that he could step right into the first team with no worries."

While Evans impressed, there were signs of rustiness in Neville's game, particularly in his crossing, but it was his first competitive start since breaking his ankle against Bolton in March 2007.

Gullit knows Man Utd will test Scolari

"I just need games," said the 33-year-old defender. "Having been out for so long I need a run in the side.

"But it is difficult to get that at the moment because Wes Brown has performed so well and deserves to play.

"It is just a case of remaining patient, keeping fit and training well every day.

"I have made steady progress and when you look at the programme of matches we have coming up I am sure there will be enough games for everyone."

united @ 12:57 |Komentiraj | Komentari: 0
Despite United’s slow start and Chelsea’s incredible home record – 84 games since the Blues’ last league defeat at Stamford Bridge – Sir Alex insists his side can return to Manchester with all three points on Sunday.

“It’s not a daunting task for Manchester United to go to Stamford Bridge,” he said. “Not with the ability we have in this team. Chelsea respect that. They know we can win there.

“We don’t want to be nine points behind Chelsea, or anyone else, at this stage of the season. We know we’ve got a big job to do on Sunday and the players will be up for it.”

Sir Alex says Chelsea aren’t quite the force they were at the end of last season when the Blues outplayed United at the Bridge to win 2-1. Certainly, the Reds boss believes there are chinks in their once almost impenetrable armour.

“They’re a little different now without Claude Makalele, who was a very important cog in their machine. And the athleticism and power of Michael Essien is missing at the moment.”

But while Essien – injured on international duty – is ruled out until February, Chelsea possess a new midfielder, and one Sir Alex even considered buying in 2004.

“We did look at Deco when he was at Porto,” the Reds manager revealed. “If you remember, he went to Barcelona for a very large sum of money – it was a fee we didn’t want to get involved in. Plus we had Paul Scholes anyway.

“But he’s a nice footballer – there’s no question about that. He’s a different kind of midfielder to the type Chelsea have had previously. He’s diminutive and clever…

“He’s made a little difference to the way Chelsea play, although I wouldn’t say he’s made them any more effective – they’ve always been effective.”

When asked if he was excited about the prospect of seeing Cristiano Ronaldo and Dimitar Berbatov together at Stamford Bridge, Sir Alex revealed he was more interested in picking up three points.

“I’m excited about getting my first real win of the season,” he said. “We beat Portsmouth at Fratton Park but we want to get a real good win and get the show on the road again.

“We have a collection of talents here at the club and I have to make sure I pick the right ones. You can’t dismiss the contribution of Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez – not with the form they’ve been in.

“It’s fair to say I’ve got selection problems for Sunday – the right kind, mind you.”

Video: Watch Sir Alex's press conference now on MUTV Online.
united @ 12:55 |Komentiraj | Komentari: 0
srijeda, rujan 17, 2008
Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo says he laughs at all the transfer speculation that swirled around him in the summer.

Speaking with Don Balon, Ronaldo said: "The speculation about my future is normal. I like it and it amuses me that people around the world are waiting to see what I will do. This is just part of the show.

"The important thing for me is the talk about me is as a proper professional."

Ronaldo also poured cold water on any future move to Real Madrid.

He added: "Money was not the issue as to why I did not go to Madrid. Life is more than money. Now I am happy at United. We sat down and fixed things. I will not leave England now ..."

united @ 20:56 |Komentiraj | Komentari: 0
Uefa Champions League, Group E - Man Utd v Villarreal
Venue: Old Trafford Date: Wednesday, 17 September Kick-off: 1945 BST Coverage: BBC Sport website & BBC Radio Five Live


Man Utd: Van der Sar, Neville, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Nani, Hargreaves, Fletcher, Park, Rooney, Tevez.
Subs: Foster, Brown, Ronaldo, Anderson, Giggs, Vidic, O'Shea.

Villarreal: Diego Lopez, Angel, Rodriguez, Godin, Capdevila, Cani, Eguren, Edmilson, Pires, Fernandez, Franco.
Subs: Viera, Santi Cazorla, Ibagaza, Llorente, Javi Venta, Senna, Fuentes. Referee: Wolfgang Stark

united @ 20:54 |Komentiraj | Komentari: 0
subota, rujan 13, 2008

Liverpool duo Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres have both been declared fit to face Manchester United.

Gerrard missed England's 4-1 win in Croatia on Wednesday after undergoing a minor groin operation, while Torres has recovered from a hamstring tear.

Dimitar Berbatov is set to make his Man Utd debut after signing from Tottenham for £30.75m on transfer deadline day.

Owen Hargreaves (tendinitis) and Michael Carrick (ankle) both return for the trip to Anfield.

The news that Gerrard and Torres are in line to face United will be a big boost for Liverpool.

Rafael Benitez is desperate to beat Man Utd

Torres pulled up during his side's 0-0 draw with Aston Villa last month and missed Spain's recent World Cup qualifiers, while Gerrard has struggled with his groin injury since the start of the season.

Robbie Keane is likely to start alongside the Spanish striker as he searches for his first competitive goal for the Reds, while Albert Riera is in line to make his Liverpool bow after signing from Espanyol.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side have held the upper hand over their north west rivals in recent seasons, winning five and drawing one of their last six league games.

United have a clean bill of health, although the match comes too soon for Cristiano Ronaldo who is expected to return against Villarreal at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Liverpool (from): Reina, Arbeloa, Aurelio, Carragher, Skrtel, Hyypia, Agger, Dossena, Benayoun, Babel, Riera, Gerrard, Alonso, Mascherano, Plessis, Kuyt, Keane, Torres, Ngog, Cavalieri, El Zhar.

Man Utd (from): Van der Sar, Kuszczak, Foster, Neville, Brown, R Da Silva, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evans, Evra, F Da Silva, Fletcher, O'Shea, Hargreaves, Carrick, Anderson, Scholes, Nani, Possebon, Gibson, Giggs, Rooney, Tevez, Berbatov, Welbeck.

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez on Gerrard and Torres:
"They are both much better. They came through a full training session this morning.

"It's important for us to have these two players of quality who can change a game.

"I'm not surprised they are available because the medical staff have done a good job and the players have been working really hard with the physios to get fit."

united @ 01:56 |Komentiraj | Komentari: 0
Cristiano Ronaldo could make a shock return for United in the next few days after Sir Alex Ferguson revealed he may take the winger with him to Anfield.

Wednesday's Champions League Group E opener against Villarreal at Old Trafford might be a safer bet, but either way the news is a significant and surprising boost to United as some reports had suggested last season's 42-goal hero would be out of action until October.

The Portuguese winger has been sidelined since undergoing a successful ankle operation in Amsterdam at the start of July. However, his rehab work in Manchester has gone so well in recent weeks that his inclusion in Sir Alex's XI is now close.

Sir Alex told MUTV on Friday morning: "Ronaldo is training now, he's with the first team. He's come on leaps and bounds and I may take him with us tomorrow, who knows? But he's more likely to be involved next week.

"I think we mentioned a couple of weeks ago he was making rapid progress in terms of overcoming the injury problem he had and the training he's been doing with the physios and Tony Strudwick the fitness coach.

"He's been making great strides in the direction towards first-team football."

The summer months were riddled with press speculation and uncertainty over his future. But he has decided his future remains in Manchester and his impending return to action is a real filip for Sir Alex ahead of another key match against Chelsea.

united @ 01:55 |Komentiraj | Komentari: 0
četvrtak, rujan 11, 2008
Wayne Rooney was exceptional for England on Wednesday – scoring one and making two for hat-trick hero Theo Walcott – as Fabio Capello’s men defeated ten-man Croatia 4-1 in Zagreb.

Injuries disrupted Rooney’s start to the season, but his goal on Wednesday - his first competitive strike this season - is a timely confidence-booster with vital United games coming up against Liverpool, Villarreal and Chelsea. Rio Ferdinand and Wes Brown also played 90 minutes for Capello’s side.

There was good news for United’s other home nation internationals. Darren Fletcher played the full game as Scotland beat Iceland 2-1 with goals from Kirk Broadfoot and James McFadden.

Jonny Evans turned in yet another excellent performance as Northern Ireland earned the first point of their World Cup qualifying campaign in Group 3 - a creditable 0-0 draw at home against the Czech Republic.

Another Reds centre-back, John O’Shea, turned in a strong display for the Republic of Ireland, who maintained their unbeaten start in Group 8 with a well-earned 0-0 draw away to Montenegro. The Republic are second on four points behind group leaders Italy, who have six points.

Patrice Evra returns to Manchester with bragging rights over Nemanja Vidic after France beat Serbia 2-1. Evra was an unused substitute, while Vida couldn't stop Thierry Henry and Nicolas Anelka cancelling out Branislav Ivanovic’s Serb strike.

And finally, Nani scored his second goal in five days, but Carlos Queiroz’s Portugal side suffered a shock 3-2 home defeat against Denmark. Nani put Portugal in front before Nicklas Bendtner equalised. Deco quickly restored the home side’s lead, but two late Danish goals stole victory.
united @ 22:06 |Komentiraj | Komentari: 0
subota, rujan 6, 2008

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson says he is not concerned about the threat posed by newly wealthy neighbours Manchester City.

City's prospective new Arab owners have set their sights on winning the Premier League title and the Champions League.

"I can't be worried," said Ferguson. "There's always challenges in football.

"Some years ago it was Chelsea, some years ago it was Arsenal. Wherever the challenges come you just have to accept it. It doesn't change anything."

The Abu Dhabi United Group funded City's stunning capture of Brazilian forward Robinho from Real Madrid for a British record fee of £32.5m on transfer deadline day.

That came after they had failed in a bid to hijack United's purchase of Tottenham striker Dimitar Berbatov.

The group have since stated their intention to sign the likes of Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas, Liverpool striker Fernando Torres and United winger Cristiano Ronaldo.

"They can talk," said Ferguson with a smile.

He added: "We have a good set-up ourselves. We have been working for years to build the team we have got."

United winger Ryan Giggs agreed with Ferguson that it takes time as well as money to build a championship-winning team.

"City have the richest owner in the world but I still see United as the biggest club in the world," said the 34-year-old.

"United have a status and history that it has taken years to build up. It stretches back to the Busby Babes, to players like Sir Bobby Charlton and George Best.

"You can't just buy a team - you need stability and a base to work from.

"But obviously major money can be a big influence because it means you can bring quality to your team."

Mark Hughes finds himself in vastly different circumstances than when he was appointed manager at Eastlands.

But Giggs backed his former Wales and United team-mate to cope with the added scrutiny.

"It will be a tough job because with the money comes pressure," he said.

"But, having worked with Mark Hughes as my manager and had him as a team-mate, I know what he is all about. It won't faze him. He is a very good manager."

Ferguson also sympathised with Hughes' situation.

"For a young manager it must be difficult," the 66-year-old Ferguson said.

"You can't judge it from when I started, it is a completely different world now. I am at the tail-end of my career. I've been through all these changes so it doesn't faze me."
united @ 14:09 |Komentiraj | Komentari: 0
If it takes one to know one, then nobody should doubt Ole Solskjaer's assessment of Dimitar Berbatov as a quality striker.

Solskjaer's goalscoring exploits spanned 11 years at United before injury forced him to retire and take up his current post as reserves coach. His career included, of course, the epic campaign of 1998/99 when Sir Alex Ferguson rotated four top strikers in winning three major honours.

"I've often wondered how he's done it, with all the internationals he's had," said Ole, referring to the boss' knack of keeping players happy in a large squad.

"But he's always rotated people and I'm sure we'll see great performances from the front four again."

Berbatov's arrival this week as the fourth senior striker - or fifth if you include both Ronaldo and Manucho - had Solskjaer's seal of approval.

Ole told MUTV: "The saga lasted all summer but we were always confident we'd found the right one.

"I think he's the right one. His performances for Spurs have been great. I knew he was a good player when he played against us for Bayer Leverkusen.

"We're delighted we've got him.
united @ 14:08 |Komentiraj | Komentari: 1 | Prikaži komentare
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