Foster feels part of the team
he feels he part of team!Ben Foster admitted it was a “fantastic” feeling to finally make his first-team debut in the narrow 1-0 victory at Derby.
The goalkeeper was thrust into action at Pride Park due to the enforced absence of Edwin van der Sar and Tomasz Kuszczak, just a week after returning from an eight-month injury lay-off himself.
The 24-year-old, who joined the Reds in 2005 but spent the last two seasons on loan at Watford, told MUTV: “I finally feel like a United player now!
“I’ve been here nearly three years and it’s good to finally get on the pitch for the first team in a competitive game.
“I’m not one for nerves – I just take things in my stride and try not to think about things too much. It’s a big thing to come back from injury and to be thrown straight into the first team, but I thoroughly enjoyed it – though it was a bit harder than I thought!”
Many pundits predicted a cakewalk for United against rock-bottom Derby, but the Reds spurned chance after chance and would have fallen behind in the first half had Foster not made two fine saves from Kenny Miller.
The keeper added: “The first one was a reaction save to my left and Kenny Miller was through one-on-one for the second, but I stopped it and I went in at half-time feeling good.
“The second half was the same as the first half – we looked the more dangerous team but they had some chances as well.”
Cristiano Ronaldo finally broke the deadlock against the battling Rams after 75 minutes, slotting home Wayne Rooney’s cross as United moved ahead of Arsenal at the top of the table.
Bolton are next up at Old Trafford on Wednesday and, despite his assured debut, Foster does not expect to retain his place if Van der Sar recovers from a groin injury.
“I wouldn’t have thought the manager would have too much of a dilemma,” said Foster. “Edwin’s probably going to be fit for the Bolton or Liverpool game and I’ve no qualms about him going straight back in.
“He’s been fantastic this season and if I were him I’d be pretty disappointed if someone came in for one game and took my spot!”
Charitable Reds irk Sir Alex
Sir Alex Ferguson admits United’s charity in front of goal is concerning him, following Saturday’s unexpectedly tight victory over Derby County.
The Reds passed up chance after chance at Pride Park, just as they did in last weekend’s FA Cup defeat to Portsmouth, and the manager concedes it is beginning to irk him.
“Last Saturday, of course, it (missing chances) knocked us out of the cup,” he told MUTV. “Today we made it hard for ourselves because we missed so many chances.
“We were really charitable - it was a lot of chances. Maybe it’s a little sticky spell, but we want to get over that. We’ve got big games, Bolton at home on Wednesday and then Liverpool on Sunday, so they’re important games coming up and we want to start taking chances.
“We are making them, and I suppose that’s the biggest bonus of all. If we keep making them, you know at some point someone’s going to suffer. We just have to keep going with that.”
Cristiano Ronaldo was repeatedly thwarted at Pride Park before eventually bagging the winning goal with 14 minutes remaining, and Sir Alex was quick to salute the ease with which the winger converted a potentially difficult finish.
“We needed something special and Ronaldo’s taken his chance very, very well. It’s not easy when it comes off the turf like that and he connected really well to score a really important goal for us. He had to control it to keep it down, it was a very good finish.”
United host Bolton on Wednesday before Liverpool’s visit on Easter Sunday and, after omitting Rio Ferdinand, Nani, and Carlos Tevez from Saturday’s squad, Sir Alex admits there will be changes for those games.
“I think that we’ll be changing on Wednesday again, but not too much,” he said. “We wanted to win this game and be top of the league. We’ve got our game in hand, we want to get those three points and then we can look forward to a real battle against Liverpool.”
Foster's bow impresses Boss
Sir Alex Ferguson was delighted with the performance of debutant goalkeeper Ben Foster in Saturday's narrow victory over Derby County.
The 24-year-old made two crucial stops to deny Rams striker Kenny Miller with the score at 0-0, laying the foundations for Cristiano Ronaldo to bag three vital points for United.
Foster's United debut has been a long time coming, but Sir Alex feels a bright future beckons for club and country.
"It was an excellent performance," the manager told MUTV. "In his debut in a competitive game for United, he showed what England are going to enjoy for the next 10 years. I think he’ll be England’s goalkeeper without question.
"He has absolutely outstanding potential and he’s young. He’s not had a lot of football, and today he showed two great saves, his distribution, his speed off the line and it was really a first class performance."
Although Edwin van der Sar is likely to be rested again, Foster's performance at Pride Park and Tomasz Kuszczak's return from a one-match ban gives Sir Alex a dilemma as to who should start between the sticks for Wednesday's visit of Bolton.
Boss: Short-term focus
R we signing Kevin Nolan or which keeper think that guy is on free transfer next season!The build-up to Easter Sunday's clash with Liverpool has well and truly begun, yet Sir Alex insists he’s not looking past Bolton Wanderers’ visit on Wednesday.
The Reds’ boss admits Sunday's game could be “pivotal” in the title race, although it would count for little should United drop points against Gary Megson’s side.
“There are big games coming up and [Liverpool] is one of them, especially when you consider Chelsea are playing Arsenal on the same day,” Sir Alex told Manchester United Radio. “But when you see what happened at Derby on Saturday, not taking our chances, you realise you can’t take anything for granted. Sure, there are big weekends ahead, but the other matches are just as important.”
Bolton, lingering in the drop zone and without a league win since the first weekend of February, certainly share the Reds’ hunger for points, even if the motivation is different. Megson's team beat United back in November and Sir Alex says they'll make life difficult again. “They’ve got Kevin Davies up front and he’ll do everything he possibly can to unsettle us.
“He’s a physical lad and we have to deal with that but I think Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand have the height and ability to do that. Of course, losing Jussi Jaaskelainen is definitely a big blow for Bolton because he’s one of the best goalkeepers in the division, but they have experience in Ivan Campo and Kevin Nolan.
“If we perform well and take our chances then we’ll win the match. But it’s important we respect our opponents. Some of our football recently has been terrific and there’s good penetration in the team. It’s encouraging that we’re making so many chances… perhaps the forwards just need to relax a little in front of goal. Then the goals will come.”
Papers: Reds chase Villa?
£20million Villa on his way
Chelsea and Manchester United were last night on red alert after Spanish ace David Villa revealed he is ready to quit Valencia.
Villa, rated at £20million, is one of the most feared strikers in Europe and has been targeted by both the Blues and United boss Sir Alex Ferguson.
The 26-year-old said: “As is only right, I need to think about my future and I am open to any solution.
“I will take into consideration all the offers that I am made, obviously with the blessing of the club where I am under contract.” Villa – who is expected to be a key man for Spain at this summer’s Euro 2008 finals – has also been linked with Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Meanwhile, The Times claim FC Porto have denied United have made a bid for defender Jose Boswinga, while The Daily Mail reports Reds officials are in Rome conducting “peace talks” ahead of next month’s Champions League quarter-final clash with AS Roma. Violence marred the 2006/07 meetings between the sides but this season’s two games passed by with little incident. Still, according to the paper, “there are real fears violence could flare again now that the stakes are much higher”.
The Star have equated Sir Alex’s quotes on United’s recent missed chances to a “battle cry” ahead of Bolton’s visit to Old Trafford on Wednesday night. “The missed chances are becoming a concern,” the manager said. “We were really charitable against Portsmouth and against Derby. It’s a sticky spell in front of goal that we must get over.”
Round up by Nick Coppack
That boy Ronaldo scored 2 gols ag Bolton.
The next game ag Liverfulls, either the midfielders or defenders score. Just think of O shea, Silvestre, Gary Pallister and Ronny Jonnsen in the past
ronaldo is carrying manU by himself again like the previous season ... this guy is great
i hope he will be the footballer of the year this time.... good luck to him...
Ronaldo's goal tally = 33 goals (24 @ EPL)
Ronaldo went past Best's record of 32 goals in a single season -- set in 1967-68
thats the DAMN problem.....
because he's not a forward, he's scoring like crazy....
THEN WHAT ARE THE STTTTOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPID FORWARDS DOING?!?!?!?!?
okay lar........better hope those infront find their scoring touch....... else when it comes to CL.......cham liao...
we need them to be so good that they can't just pindown one person...
if we're going to be like the other red team...whereby too much reliance on one person to carry the weight.......sooner or later will fall one.......
the 2 upfronts better WAKE UP THEIR B!(*&$)^%#Q(*&^$(%& IDEA!