Sunday 24 September 2017

Ferguson thrilled at Kagawa impact

Shanghai Shenhua 0 Manchester Utd 1

Mark Ogden in Shanghai

ALEX FERGUSON hailed Shinji Kagawa's credentials following the Japanese midfielder's match-winning display for Manchester United yesterday.

Kagawa -- a £17m summer signing from Borussia Dortmund -- capped a standout display against Shanghai by scoring the only goal in the club's third game of a far-reaching pre-season tour.

Kagawa struck for the winner after 68 minutes against a second-string Shenhua outfit, who lined up without former Chelsea players Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba.

United fly back to Manchester today before playing Valerenga, Barcelona and Hannover next month as they continue their build-up to the new season.

Ferguson -- who insisted that the club remained in the hunt for additional players, with Robin van Persie and Lucas Moura the leading targets -- has seen Kagawa make an instant impact in a United shirt during his appearances on tour.

The United manager believes that Kagawa, who outscored Bayern Munich's Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery in the Bundesliga last season, will sharpen his new team's cutting edge in his role as an attacking midfielder.

"One of the features of our game is that counter-attack is important," Ferguson said. "Antonio Valencia is very good with that and Kagawa will add to it. His awareness of receiving the ball and his speed of turning defenders is going to be an asset for us.

"Kagawa was involved in most of the possession tonight. He was Man of the Match and deserved it.

"He took his goal well, although it took a deflection, but he has settled in well and is going to be a very good player for us."

Kagawa is likely to be joined by Wayne Rooney, Nani, Ashley Young, Phil Jones, Patrice Evra and Danny Welbeck when he next plays for United, against Valerenga in Oslo on August 5.

The six Euro 2012 players return for pre-season training today and Ferguson insists that they all need to play in the forthcoming warm-up games in order to be fit for the Premier League opener at Everton on August 20.

"The players who start training on Thursday will certainly be involved in the games in Norway, Sweden and Hannover," Ferguson said.

Nemanja Vidic -- yet to play since returning to training following a cruciate ligament injury -- and Jonny Evans both upped their training programme at the start of the week, but Evans, who underwent summer foot surgery, is unlikely to figure in Scandinavia.

Whether United add to their squad before the Valerenga game is still unclear. But despite claims by Lucas' agent that United's move for the Sao Paulo youngster is off, Ferguson insisted that the club remained in the hunt for their targets.

Trying

"We have been trying all summer to add to the squad, having already brought in Nick Powell and Kagawa," Ferguson said.

Sao Paulo vice-president Joao Paulo de Jesus Lopes still believes an agreement can be reached with United for Moura.

Ferguson played down concerns over Powell after withdrawing the £4m summer signing from Crewe at half-time yesterday following a bad challenge by Shanghai midfielder Shouting Wang.

Powell's left knee bore the brunt of Wang's studs, but Ferguson admitted the youngster was substituted as a precaution.

"I thought Powell did well," he said. "It was his first game for us at 18 years old, but he got a bad tackle, a sore one, and he felt it a bit, so we took him off." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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