Sunday, December 31, 2006

Red Devils win over Reading and get a six point lead

Once again, Cristiano Ronaldo had a great performance. The Portuguese player netted his sixth goal in three games, and host Manchester United beat Reading 3-2 on Saturday to move six points ahead of Chelsea in the Premiership.

In the other game, Chelsea, the two-time defending champions, tied Fulham 2-2 in London. Now Mourinho's team have dropped four points in two home games in five days after Tuesday's 2-2 draw with Reading.

The game we are talking about took place at Old Trafford, where Ole Gunner Solskjaer also scored for the Red Devils' 17th league win this season, one day before manager Alex Ferguson's 65th birthday. Ibrahima Sonko and Leroy Lita scored for Reading.

"It's been a really good day for us," Ferguson admitted. "Some of our football was very good. The play was excellent at times."

"Despite that, I saw that we had our worst defending of the season. It was a slack goal for us to lose," he expressed of Reading's 89th-minute goal. "We resorted to playing safe football instead of playing the football we like to create."

Friday, December 22, 2006

Smith stays at Manchester

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson has strongly denied that one of his strikers, Alan Smith, will leave the Manchester United in 2007.

Actually, Smith is undergoing an intensive fitness programme in his effort to return to peak condition after his double leg fracture in February this year.

We must consider that that Everton are plotting a £6million bid for the striker when the transfer window reopens. However, Ferguson with his statement today has certainly cleared the air over the 26-year-old England international’s future.

“The player remains part of United's plans for the second half of the season,” Ferguson said.

“Alan is doing very well at the moment and our speed programme has had an immediate effect. We have seen a tremendous improvement in him over the last month.”

“And he is certainly not far away now. I wanted to take him down to West Ham, but he didn't want to go. He just wanted to stay and train on his own. He deserves great credit for that because it is not simple.”

“He doesn't want to travel again tomorrow, so he will be training again.”

The manager who was favouring a loan stint for Smith at Cardiff City earlier in the season, felt that the striker had perhaps made the right decision in rejecting the transfer.

But Ferguson announced: "He did the right thing. He could have gone and played games, but not been 100 per cent to play in them, whether it is the Tournament or the Premier League. Instead we worked out a programme to improve his speed that he has really taken to.”

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Manchester United beat Benfica to advance in the Champions League

In a really important game, Manchester United stormed back from a goal down to assure thier presence in the Champions League knockout phase with a 3-1 triumph over Benfica on Wednesday.

Indeed, Ferguson's team, who were knocked out at this stage of last season's competition by the Portuguese side, were trailing to a superb 27th minute strike by Nelson before Serbian defender Nemanja Vidic headed an equaliser in first-half stoppage time.

The home squad came out fighting after the break and capitalised on some poor defending as Ryan Giggs headed them in front in the 61st minute and French forward Louis Saha sealed the win with their third goal in the 75th minute.

It's important to say that defeat for Benfica dumped a stylish team out of the competition, with United finishing top of Group F and joined in the next round by Scotish side Celtic.