Monday 19 February 2018

Ferguson relieved ‘long day’ ended in victory

Sir Alex Ferguson admitted his 25th anniversary as Manchester United manager was "a long day".

Former United defender Wes Brown did his former boss a favour with an own goal at the end of the first half to decide Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash with Sunderland at Old Trafford.

Ferguson said: "It was a long day for me. I'd have been quite happy if the referee had blown the whistle when we went 1-0 up and finish the game at half-time.

"It was an anxious day for the players and I think they showed that today. They improved in the second half but that last 15 minutes was torture.

"I think the players wanted to do well for me and that showed. These occasions can be a bit that way."

Manchester City assistant manager David Platt highlighted the leaders' goal threat after their 3-2 win at QPR.

Goals from Edin Dzeko, David Silva and Yaya Toure won it for City, with Jay Bothroyd and Heidar Helguson netting for the home side.

Platt said: "The only time I have seen attacking like that is when I watch Barcelona on TV.

"We feel as though there are goals in the team. At 1-0 down, even if it had gone to 2-0, I knew we were not out of it because we have such a goal threat about us."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger labelled striker Robin van Persie "world class" after he netted the first goal in a 3-0 defeat of West Brom, before turning provider for Thomas Vermaelen and Mikel Arteta.

Wenger said: "I don't know where he ranks [compared to other Arsenal greats]. The only thing I know is that he is world class.

"When I was a kid they had in Germany a ranking of national class, international class and world class.

"And in world class were only four or five players, or maybe even 10 players.

"I would put him in that calibre."

Swansea boss boss Brendan Rodgers was full of praise for his players after the goalless draw with Liverpool at Anfield.

He said: "It was fantastic. To put in a performance like that at a big club with top players fills me with great pride.

"I thought we were outstanding. We got a bit of fortune early on but you need that but I don't think there was anything lucky about the result or the performance.

"I think my players deserve every plaudit they get from the game. Collectively as a team they were outstanding."

Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas acknowledged the bravery of goalkeeper Petr Cech, who required treatment on a suspected broken nose after a clash with Ayegbeni Yakubu early in the 1-0 win at Blackburn.

The Portuguese said: "He was in some difficulty but Petr is very prone to these kinds of incidents - he has had collisions with his head, concussion and now a broken nose.

"He gave us good signs straight away and we asked him at half-time did he want to continue. It shows the commitment and bravery of this player, who has suffered a lot with this type of injury."

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew says his team are in confident mood after they maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a 2-1 home defeat of Everton.

Pardew's men will resume the league programme with trips to Manchester City and Manchester United on successive weekends, before Chelsea head for Tyneside.

He said: "Whatever I put in front of them, they think they are going to win. That inner belief is very, very important.

"After Barcelona, Manchester United and Manchester City might be second or third in that group of the best in Europe.

"We are going to the best in Europe in the next two games and we couldn't be better-placed to do it."

Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish believes striker Gabriel Agbonlahor will have "caught the eye" of England head coach Fabio Capello with his recent performances.

Agbonlahor scored one goal and set up a double for Darren Bent in Villa's 3-2 home win over Norwich and McLeish said: "In that kind of form, Gabby has got to have caught the eye (of Capello).

"Benty has already established himself and scored some goals for England but Gabby has got to take confidence from the way he has been playing and the expectation levels are now on him to deliver in every game."

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