Fergie says United can go all the way

8th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

MANCHESTER, England, March 8, 2007 (AFP) - Sir Alex Ferguson defiantly predicted that Manchester United can cope with a mounting injury crisis as his side chase a repeat of their 1999 treble of Premiership, FA Cup and Champions League trophies.

MANCHESTER, England, March 8, 2007 (AFP) - Sir Alex Ferguson defiantly predicted that Manchester United can cope with a mounting injury crisis as his side chase a repeat of their 1999 treble of Premiership, FA Cup and Champions League trophies.

A 1-0 win over Lille here on Wednesday sent United into the last eight of the Champions League with Henrik Larsson signing off in his final home match of his two and a half month loan spell by heading the 71st minute winner.

But it was a far from convincing display by Sir Alex Ferguson's side and the night was further marred by a serious injury to back-up defender Mikael Silvestre, who was taken to hospital with a suspected dislocated shoulder.

The former French international joins his compatriot Patrice Evra, strikers Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Louis Saha, and midfielder Darren Fletcher on United's growing list of sidelined players.

To add to Ferguson's worries, Paul Scholes has to serve a three-match domestic suspension and Larsson will return to Helsingborg in Sweden after Saturday's FA Cup quarter-final at Middlesbrough.

"We were hoping of course that Henrik would score on his last appearance here and it was a fantastic cross from Cristiano Ronaldo," Ferguson said before paying generous tribute to the veteran Swede's contribution during his brief cameo in England.

"He has been a pleasure to work with. To see a player at 35 training as he does, always trying to learn something has been fantastic. Unfortunately he has to go back but he has promised Helsingborg he will and he has his family too. I've spoken to the lad but he's going back and that's that."

Ferguson admitted the injuries would stretch his squad but insisted the resilience of United's defending so far this season augured well for the battles to come.

"It has been a bad week for us apart from the results (they beat Liverpool 1-0 in the last minute of their Premiership match last Saturday).
 
"They have been good and that creates a great purpose about the team. No matter the run-in we have I think we have the purpose and quality in the squad to go the whole way."

Ferguson insisted he did not mind who United draw in the quarter-finals, with Chelsea and Liverpool both possible opponents.

"It is important for us to be there because we have had two bad years of not getting to that stage but of course the last eight is not our aim. we want to go as far as we can.

"There is not a lot between the teams left in. Barcelona had a spell last season when everyone was saying 'Christ I hope we dont get them'. Nobody is saying that this season."

Lille coach Claude Puel insisted he had no complaints about his side's elimination, despite the controversy over the first leg, which United won with a quickly taken Ryan Giggs free-kick that French club believe should not have been allowed to stand.

"They won both legs and they did a good job of controlling tonight's match. Manchester deserve to have qualified but we can take heart from the fact that we matched them for long periods in both matches," Puel said.

"We played a solid match here, we just lacked that bit of quality in our finishing and final ball that might have allowed us to score the goal that would have enabled us to push Manchester all the way.

"That is a shame but we can take heart from the fact that we matched them for long periods in both matches.

"We have shown we are worthy of our place in the second round and I'm sure we can come back and do better. We are still a young team, the players are still learning and they will take a lot from this match."

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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