Manchester United News TV Online

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Boss: We were out-muscled

Sir Alex Ferguson admitted Liverpool deserved to win the game at Anfield because United failed to cope with their physical approach.

In a subdued post-match interview, the United boss accepted the Reds were second best and was unhappy with the way his side conceded both goals in the 2-1 defeat.

“My overall view of the match is that Liverpool were the far better team,” the manager told MUTV.

“They tackled us, got about us and harassed us, forcing us to make mistakes, and we didn’t cope with that well. That was the source of our defeat.”

Carlos Tevez gave United a dream start when he converted debutant Dimitar Berbatov’s cross in the third minute, and for 20 minutes United’s recent stranglehold over the Merseysiders looked set to continue.

But Edwin van der Sar gifted Rafael Benitez's side an equaliser when he failed to deal with Xabi Alonso's deflected shot and the ball rebounded off Wes Brown into the net.

And substitute Ryan Babel delivered the killer blow in the second half after Ryan Giggs failed to deal with a ball on the by-line and was dispossessed by Dirk Kuyt.

“We started excellently with a wonderful ball from Berbatov to Tevez to put us in front, and at that point I thought we were going to establish

ourselves," continued Sir Alex.

“But the two goals we lost were absolute shockers; the defending was very, very poor. People will think they are watching a Conference side when they see the highlights.

“Apart from Rio Ferdinand, we did not have one good performance on the pitch. We were out-thought.”

Nemanja Vidic was sent off late on for a second bookable offence after a physical aerial challenge on Alonso and will miss next weekend’s tough trip to Chelsea.

“I’ve seen it and he led with his elbow,” Sir Alex admitted. “But [Jamie] Carragher and [Martin] Skrtel used their elbows in every aerial challenge in the game and there were no fouls given against them.

“We had three players booked and one sent off and I don’t think that’s a reflection of United being a dirty team.”

The Reds' boss will be demanding an immediate response as United look to end Chelsea’s long unbeaten record at Stamford Bridge next weekend.

“It’s going to be difficult but they are all difficult games away from home,” he added. “And if we don’t address the physical part of the game then we’ll struggle there too.”

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Premier League results

Saturday 13 September 2008

Blackburn 0-4 Arsenal
Fulham 2-1 Bolton
Manchester City 1-3 Chelsea
Newcastle 1-2 Hull
Portsmouth 2-1 Middlesbrough
West Brom 3-2 West Ham
Wigan 1-1 Sunderland

League: Chelsea stay top

Robinho scored on his debut for Manchester City but Chelsea came from behind to claim a 3-1 win at Eastlands and stay top of the table.

The Brazilian curled City ahead with a 20-yard free-kick in the 14th minute, but Ricardo Carvalho lashed home Chelsea's equaliser three minutes later.

Frank Lampard capped a flowing move with a superb left-foot strike to put Chelsea ahead after 53 minutes and Nicolas Anelka slid in a third.

But captain John Terry was shown a straight red card for a foul on Jo with 13 minutes left and will miss United's visit to Stamford Bridge next Sunday.

Rio dismayed by defeat

Rio Ferdinand was at a loss to explain United’s below-par display in the 2-1 defeat at Liverpool, but insists the Reds can bounce back next week at Chelsea.

The centre-back was arguably United’s best player on an unhappy afternoon as Liverpool, aided by two defensive errors, came from behind to end their hoodoo against United.

“We never really got started,” Ferdinand told MUTV. “For the first 10 minutes, before and after we scored, we looked decent and passed the ball about well.

“But after that we didn’t get close to them and they managed to get two goals. They were fortunate on both occasions but I’m sure they’ll be happy enough with that.

“All over the park they were first to the ball and you don’t deserve to win if teams are doing that to you.”

Ferdinand is already looking forward to next week’s tussle with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, a game he feels comes at an ideal time for United after the Anfield defeat.

“It’s always nice to play in big games after disappointments – you find out about your team when you’ve lost a game," he added.

“We want to go to Chelsea and give a good account of ourselves, try to take the three points and ruin their unbeaten home record over the last two or three seasons.

"There couldn’t be a better game for us than the one coming up.”

Report: L'pool 2 United 1

A day that had started so well ended in disaster for United as Liverpool earned their first league win over the Reds since April 2004 thanks to substitute Ryan Babel's late strike.

Dimitar Berbatov, making his Reds debut, set up Carlos Tevez for the opener after just three minutes. A mix-up between Edwin van der Sar and Wes Brown, which saw the defender credited with an own goal, drew the home side level, before Babel fired the winner 13 minutes from time.

Things got worse for the visitors just before full-time when Nemanja Vidic was dismissed after picking up a second booking. He will now miss the trip to Chelsea next weekend.

The big question before kick-off was who would play up front for United? Would Berbatov start or would Sir Alex stick with Wayne Rooney or Tevez? As it turned out, Sir Alex opted to field all three. Rafael Benitez had no such luxury as he started the match without the services of his two most influential players, skipper Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres, who were deemed only fit enough for the bench following groin and hamstring injuries respectively.

United’s three-pronged attack was at it right from the off. With just 40 seconds gone, Rooney collected possession and slipped a pass out to Wes Brown on the right. His cross was deftly flicked on by Tevez to Berbatov who struck a first time effort which hit Martin Skrtel’s left arm, although the Liverpool defender knew little about it. Nearly the perfect start for United’s new boy.

That moment duly arrived just over a minute later as Berbatov played a vital role in giving United the lead. Anderson sent the striker galloping away on the right. Holding off the attentions of Jamie Carragher, he pulled the ball back to the onrushing Tevez who planted a curling effort past a helpless Jose Reina. Berbatov’s team-mates ran to congratulate him for his part in the goal as Anfield fell silent.

The Liverpool faithful were on their feet three minutes later though when Dirk Kuyt took aim from just outside the area after United had failed to clear the ball. But the Dutchman’s volley flew just wide of Edwin van der Sar’s right-hand post.

Van der Sar himself nearly gifted the home side an equaliser on 12 minutes when he spilled a Liverpool corner. Kuyt was quick to pounce on the mistake, but United’s no.1 recovered brilliantly to block his fellow countryman's effort from three yards.

It had been a breathless start, particularly from United. But having looked full of invention in the final third, Sir Alex's men were ultimately the architects of their own downfall as Liverpool drew level on 26 minutes in the most bizarre of fashions. Xabi Alonso’s speculative effort deflected off Patrice Evra into the path of Wes Brown who looked to have it covered. His goalkeeper decided to take matters into his hands, however, and came rushing from his line, only to see his punch rebound back off Brown and into the empty net.

Such a setback could have taken the wind out of United’s sails, but the Reds were not to be deterred. And they almost regained their advantage just two minutes later. Tevez darted to the near post and was found brilliantly by Anderson's low centre. The Argentine beat Carragher to the ball, but his flicked effort flew over Reina’s crossbar.

Liverpool finished the half on top and began the second period in much the same fashion. After a shaky 45 minutes, Edwin van der Sar was alert to the danger posed by Yossi Benayoun’s through run 11 minutes after the restart, blocking well as the midfielder took aim from a tight angle.

Owen Hargreaves entered the fray on 66 minutes, but it was United’s other second half arrival, Ryan Giggs – a half-time sub for the injured Michael Carrick – who went closest to putting the Reds in front again. Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard – on for Benayoun – sold Alonso short 25 yards out. Giggs nipped in, before hitting a superb dipping volley which was well tipped over by a back-pedalling Jose Reina.

It was a rare sight of goal for United who were second best to a Liverpool side that grew in confidence as the game wore on. Having tasted defeat against the Reds in five of the last six games at Anfield, there was a real determination about Benitez’s side to turn the tide.

That looked to be on the cards when Babel became the first Liverpool player to find the net against United in the league since Benitez took over. Ryan Giggs failed to put the ball out for a corner when he had the chance, allowing Mascherano to slip the ball to Kuyt. His cross fell to substitute Babel who, despite hitting his shot into the ground, made it 2-1 in front of a euphoric Kop end.

United’s misery was compounded by the

late dismissal of Vidic, who picked up his second booking of the game for a full-bodied, arm-led challenge on Alonso. Kuyt went close to grabbing a third in injury time but was denied by van der Sar, while Rooney fired wide with seconds left as United desperately searched for an equaliser. It wasn't to be this time.

A defeat is hard to take at best of times, but losing to your fiercest rivals in the manner United did hurts more than any other.

Team line-ups

LIVERPOOL: Reina; Arbeloa, Carragher, Skrtel, Aurelio; Benayoun (Gerrard 68), Alonso, Mascherano (Hyypia 87), Riera (Babel 71); Kuyt, Keane.
Subs not used: Cavalieri, Torres, Ngog, Dossena

UNITED: Van der Sar; Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Carrick (Giggs 46), Anderson (Nani 78), Scholes (Hargreaves 66); Berbatov, Rooney, Tevez.
Subs not used: Kuszczak, O’Shea, J. Evans, Fletcher

Booked: Tevez, Vidic, Nani. Sent off: Vidic

Attendance: 44,192

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

King Carlos: August's star

Carlos Tevez has edged out Darren Fletcher to claim’s Player of the Month award for August.

The Argentine striker may not have found the net last month, but he couldn’t fail to impress supporters with his tireless running and unselfishness in front of goal.

Tevez scooped top spot with 49 per cent of the votes. Fletcher, who scored in the Reds’ opening two league games, finished with 39 per cent, while defenders Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra shared the remaining votes.

Ex-Reds defender David May has blown away by Tevez's start to the season.

“He’s come back from the summer break more energetic than ever,” May told

“He’s like a breath of fresh air – his work-rate’s tremendous and he’s really stood out. You don’t associate hard work with too many centre-forwards but we’re blessed to have Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney, who will both work their socks off for you.”

As for Tevez’s failure to find the net so far this term, May isn’t bothered.

“People say he doesn’t get enough goals but he scored 19 last season and if he can get that many again I think Sir Alex will be delighted.

“He gives you so much on the pitch without putting the ball into the net. He’s unselfish and his interchange play, especially with Rooney, has the potential to rip defences apart.”

Player of the Month: August 1. Carlos Tevez (49%) 2. Darren Fletcher (39%) 3. Nemanja Vidic (7%) 4. Patrice Evra (5%)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Campbell's United wish

Fraizer Campbell is settling into life at Tottenham Hotspur, but he’s still determined to make his mark at Old Trafford.

The 20-year-old, who was in action for England U21s at Wembley on Friday night, moved to White Hart Lane on a one-year loan deal as part of the Reds’ capture of Dimitar Berbatov last week.

He joins Darren Bent and summer signing Roman Pavlyuchenko as Spurs’ leading striking options and will hope to gain at least a spot on Juande Ramos’ bench when Tottenham host Aston Villa on Monday 15 September.

But although this is Campbell’s second long-term loan in as many years, the speedy striker claims his future still lies at Manchester United.

“I’ve had various meetings with Sir Alex and he assures me I’m in his plans for the future,” Campbell said.

“Hopefully I can get some experience, come back and get a place in his team.”

If Campbell enjoys the same kind of success at Spurs as he experienced last season at Hull City, he may well get his wish.

He netted 15 times in 34 appearances for The Tigers, as Phil Brown’s side roared to a historic promotion.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

FIFA World Cup qualifiers

European Groups

1 - Malta 0-4 Portugal
3 - Slovakia 2-1 N. Ireland
6 - Andorra 0-2 England
7 - Austria 3-1 France
7 - Serbia 2-0 Faroe Islands
8 - Montenegro 2-2 Bulgaria
8 - Georgia 1-2 Rep of Ireland
9 - FYR Macedonia 1-0 Scotland

South American Group

Argentina 1-1 Paraguay

Internationals: Tevez off

Carlos Tevez and ex-United defender Gabriel Heinze both had a night to forget as Argentina's World Cup qualifying campaign stuttered on home soil.

Reds striker Tevez was sent off after just half an hour, for a second bookable offence, after Heinze had gifted Paraguay the lead with an own goal in the 12th minute. And although Argentina eventually equalised through sub Sergio Aguero, set up by Barcelona's Lionel Messi, coach Alfio Basile was bemused.

Basile moaned: "We had the worst luck and the sending off of Tevez knocked us back. It was a strange match but I was not happy with the (1-1) draw because I believe we deserved to win."

The result in Buenos Aires saw Paraguay stay top in the South American group, two points clear of Argentina.

The first World Cup qualifiers in Europe brought mixed fortunes for United's internationals. Wayne Rooney was on the winning side after 90 minutes in an England shirt, thanks to two goals from Chelsea's Joe Cole against Andorra. There was no place for Wes Brown, however, with Portsmouth's Glen Johnson preferred at right-back and Everton's Jolean Lescott deputising for Rio Ferdinand in the centre.

John O'Shea was also a winner, playing the full match at centre-back as the Republic of Ireland beat Georgia 2-1 in neutral Germany. But two United team-mates tasted defeat on their travels - Jonny Evans' Northern Ireland lost 2-1 in Slovakia while Darren Fletcher was in the Scotland side beaten 1-0 by Macedonia. Evans and Fletcher both played 90 minutes.

Patrice Evra also played a full game but had no luck in the number 13 shirt for France as they suffered a shock 3-1 reverse in Austria. Dimitar Berbatov was also heading for defeat with Bulgaria until Blagoi Georgiev made the final score in Montenegro 2-2 with an injury time equaliser.

Nani had no such trouble however with Portugal. The United winger, on from the start, scored the final goal in the 78th minute as Carlos Queiroz's men cruised to a comprehensive 4-0 win in Malta.

Nemanja Vidic also got off to a winning start in the World Cup qualifiers, completing 90 minutes on the field as Serbia beat Faroe Islands 2-0.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Ronaldo to give all for United

Superstar to put heart and soul into Red Devils

Cristiano Ronaldo insists he will put his heart and soul into helping Manchester United achieve success this season.

The Portugal international upset many fans over the summer after initially refusing to confirm he wanted to stay at Old Trafford after being linked with Real Madrid.

However, despite Real's hopes of prizing the superstar away from Sir Alex Ferguson's grasp, The Red Devils stood their ground.

Ronaldo, who is nearing his long-awaited return following ankle surgery, has now conceded he was 'naïve' with his comments over the summer.

The 23-year-old has admitted that had United not beaten Chelsea on penalties in the UEFA Champions League final then he would not have wanted a fresh challenge.


"What I said publicly, which was maybe a little bit naïve, I take total responsibility for," he told Inside United magazine.

"I just said what I thought: I have a dream of playing at Real and I thought it was time to move on. People can't be upset about me fulfilling a child-hood dream.

"I knew Real were interested in me and they had, allegedly, made a substantial offer. For a while, I wanted United to accept.

"If we hadn't been European champions, I probabley wouldn't have thought about going to Madrid. I never wanted to go against United's will.

"I'm 100 per cent professional and have always given my heart and soul to this club.

"If one day I leave, I want to do it knowing I did everything I could to help the club win as much as possible."

Keane backs Berba move

Spurs old boy hails former team-mate

Berbatov completed a long-protracted move to Manchester United on transfer deadline day and Keane is confident Sir Alex Ferguson has conducted an astute piece of business.

While Keane admits it is a great move for the Bulgaria international, he is confident it is an even better one for United.

He said: "It was no secret that he was going to go there, everybody knew that Berba was going to go to Manchester United.

"It's a fantastic move for him, but it's a massive one for Man United because he is a top, top player.

Massive addition

"I have seen that at first hand and he will be a massive addition to the Man United squad."

Asked if he had sympathy for his former club, who desperately tried to hang on to the player before finally admitting defeat, Keane said: "I am sure Berba wants to be a better player and he wants to win things, and I think that's the reason he want to Manchester United.

"But Tottenham have brought in a lot of quality players also."

Fergie does not fear City

United boss not concerned by takeover

Sir Alex Ferguson has played down the threat posed by local rivals Manchester City.

City are expected to become a major force in English football after agreeing a takeover deal with the Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment (ADUG).

They have already signed Robinho for a British record transfer fee but Ferguson insists he is not too concerned by the dramatic developments.

Chelsea have spent heavily since Roman Abramovich bought the London club five years ago but Manchester United have won back-to-back Premier League titles and Ferguson is now ready for City's challenge.

"I can't be worried," Ferguson told reporters after a meeting of top coaches at Uefa headquarters in Switzerland.

"We have a good setup ourselves and we've been working to build up the team we've got, so we just have to carry on.

"There are always challenges in football, some years ago it was Chelsea and some years ago it was Arsenal and wherever the challenge comes from we have to accept it. So it doesn't change anything."

Ronaldo talk

City officials have spoken about signing Cristiano Ronaldo for a colossal fee in the region of £135million but Ferguson was amused by the suggestion.

"They can talk," said the United boss.

Ferguson accepts that City boss Mark Hughes will now come under pressure to deliver success to the club.

Asked if he would have liked such responsibility as a young coach, Ferguson replied: "For a young manager it must be difficult.

"You can't judge it from when I started, it is a completely different world now. I am at the tail-end of my career. I've been through all these changes so it doesn't faze me."

World Cup weekend

The road to South Africa 2010 starts for numerous United players and one ex-Reds coach this weekend.

Nani is in the squad for Carlos Queiroz's first World Cup qualifier as Portugal boss, but Cristiano Ronaldo is continuing his rehab at Carrington.

John O'Shea should start on Saturday evening when the Republic of Ireland begin their campaign under Italian coach Giovanni Trapattoni. The away match against Georgia is being played on neutral ground in Mainz, Germany for security reasons.

O'Shea is in the same qualifying group as new United team-mate Dimitar Berbatov - they will face each other in late March 2009 but firstly Berbatov's Bulgaria travel to Montenegro in search of three points.

Also sharing a group are Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic, the defenders who both joined the Reds in January 2006. Evra hopes to feature in France's match in Austria while Vidic's Serbia are expected to make a winning start against the Faroe Islands.

Wes Brown and Wayne Rooney could play against Barcelona in Andorra but Rio Ferdinand was ruled out on Friday afternoon due to a back injury. Fortunately the Reds centre-back is expected to be fit for the second game against Croatia in midweek, three days before United travel to Liverpool.

Finally for Europe, Jonny Evans' Northern Ireland and Darren Fletcher's Scotland are both away, taking on Slovakia and Macedonia respectively.

South America

Qualifying in South America is already well underway - Argentina's match on Saturday will be their seventh. Carlos Tevez and co can go top of the 10-strong group if they beat leaders Paraguay in Buenos Aires.

Other Internationals

Young United players called up by their countries include Ben Amos and Danny Welbeck (England U21), Craig Cathcart and Corry Evans (N. Ireland U21), Ron-Robert Zieler (Germany U20), Conor Devlin and Chris Curran (N. Ireland U19). Unfortunately Danny Drinkwater had to withdraw from England's U21 squad due to injury.

Online betting for all qualifiers and the outcome of World Cup 2010 is available at Odds include 7/2 for Rooney to score the first goal against Andorra and 5/1 for Brazil to win the tournament in two years' time.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Ole backs Berbatov buy

If it takes one to know one, then nobody should doubt Ole Solskjaer's assessment of Dimitar Berbatov as a quality striker.

Solskjaer's goalscoring exploits spanned 11 years at United before injury forced him to retire and take up his current post as reserves coach. His career included, of course, the epic campaign of 1998/99 when Sir Alex Ferguson rotated four top strikers in winning three major honours.

"I've often wondered how he's done it, with all the internationals he's had," said Ole, referring to the boss' knack of keeping players happy in a large squad.

"But he's always rotated people and I'm sure we'll see great performances from the front four again."

Berbatov's arrival this week as the fourth senior striker - or fifth if you include both Ronaldo and Manucho - had Solskjaer's seal of approval.

Ole told MUTV: "The saga lasted all summer but we were always confident we'd found the right one.

"I think he's the right one. His performances for Spurs have been great. I knew he was a good player when he played against us for Bayer Leverkusen.

"We're delighted we've got him."

Giggs pleased by Phelan promotion

Ryan Giggs believes Mike Phelan's promotion to assistant manager at Old Trafford is an "excellent appointment" by Sir Alex Ferguson.

Phelan had held the position of first team coach, subsequently taken up by Rene Meulensteen, since 2001 having spent five years at Old Trafford as a player during the late 80s and early 90s.

Sir Alex described Phelan as "a very talented and professional coach" after appointing him his No.2 and Giggs was quick to echo those sentiments.

"I played with Mick and know him well," explained the 34-year-old. "You always trust the manager with these things, but it is an excellent appointment.

"Mick knows the club well, has a very good relationship with the players and is a very good coach."

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Rio doubtful for England opener

Rio Ferdinand is doubtful for England's World Cup qualifier against Andorra this weekend after missing training on Wednesday.

The Reds defender, who has 69 caps for his country, sat out the session at London Colney because of a stiff back, a problem which also affected him on United's pre-season tour of South Africa in July.

England are hopeful Ferdinand will shake off the injury in time for the game in Barcelona's Olympic Stadium on Saturday, but if he fails to recover his place could be filled by Reds team-mate Wes Brown.

Brown trained on Wednesday after previously resting his knee as a precaution and could slot into Ferdinand's centre-back role against the European part-timers, alongside Chelsea captain John Terry.

England are already missing Owen Hargreaves (knee) and Michael Carrick (ankle), but Wayne Rooney is expected to start up front alongside Jermain Defoe.

Rooney has played in only 15 England games since March 2006, scoring three goals, but Defoe has backed the Reds' frontman to rediscover his goalscoring form for his country.

The Portsmouth striker said: "Wayne is only going to get better. Maybe you could say the expectation on him has been unfair but he has set such high standards, by doing so well in his career.

"But he is at a great club, he is still young and he is still learning."

Giggs: We're still tops

Despite the dramatic events across the city at Eastlands, Ryan Giggs insists United are still the biggest club in world football.

On a hectic last day of the summer transfer window on Monday, Manchester City announced they had been taken over by Dr Sulaiman al-Fahim and his Abu Dhabi United company and later revealed the stunning last-minute capture of Real Madrid attacker Robinho for £34.2million from under Chelsea's noses.

Giggs admits to being intrigued by the recent goings-on at City, but maintains his stance that United's history and tradition sets them apart from the rest.

"City have the richest owner in the world but I still see United as the biggest club in the world," insisted the winger.

"United have a status and history that it has taken years to build up. It stretches back to the Busby Babes, to players like Sir Bobby Charlton and George Best. It will be very interesting to see what happens at City, but what we have at United is very special.

"You see it when we go abroad in pre-season, you appreciate how popular United is. We have fans in India, China, South America. That popularity is a result of our history. Money can't necessarily get you that.

"A lot will depend on the players they buy, how quickly they gel and how they handle the attention," he added, in response to being questioned about whether City can break into the top four.

"People have been asking for a long time now if somebody can break into the group. People will expect that club to be City and there will be a lot of pressure on them each season now. Everybody's attention will be on Manchester."

While City made most of the headlines on transfer deadline day, United made news of their own after securing the services of Dimitar Berbatov from Tottenham.

"With the transfer window, as a player you follow what's happening like a fan," admitted Giggs. "You're completely in the dark about the situation, just hoping that the player will sign. So, I was delighted when the deal went through.

"I played against Berbatov last season and he stood out, really impressed. He has great technique and will provide a physical presence that we're missing up front. With Louis Saha gone, centre forward was perhaps the one area where we were weak."

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Assistant manager appointed

Sir Alex Ferguson has announced that his new assistant manager will be former United midfielder Mick Phelan.

Succeeding Mick as first team coach is skills development expert Rene Meulensteen. The appointments, which take place with immediate effect, have been made following the departure in the summer of Carlos Queiroz to manage the Portuguese national team.

Sir Alex Ferguson told "I am delighted that Mick and Rene have agreed to fill these important positions.

"Mick knows Manchester United inside out, having been associated with the club for the best part of 20 years. He is a very talented and professional coach, whose ability and contribution to the club’s success has often been understated.

“Rene brings different ideas and experience to the role of first team coach. I believe the two will provide an excellent team to continue the club’s willingness to try new ideas and constantly drive for success in an increasingly competitive game.”

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

City ponder £135m Ronaldo bid

The new owner of Manchester City, Dr Sulaiman Al-Fahim, has intimated that Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment (ADUG) could back a £135million bid for Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo in January.

The agreement of an ADUG takeover deal at Eastlands was announced on Monday and was followed by the shock capture of Real Madrid forward Robinho for a British record fee of £32.5million.

Chief executive of Hydra Properties, Al-Fahim is reportedly 10 times richer than his counterpart at Chelsea, Roman Abramovich, and he has revealed there are plans to bring in a 'minimum 18' players to the club.

"Ronaldo has said he wants to play for the biggest club in the world, so we will see in January if he is serious," Al-Fahim said in The Guardian.

"Real Madrid were estimating his value at $160million (£90m) but for a player like that, to actually get him, will cost a lot more; I would think $240million (£135m). But why not? We are going to be the biggest club in the world, bigger than both Real Madrid and Manchester United."

It is also reported City will look to target the likes of Liverpool striker Fernando Torres and Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas as the club aim to build a side capable of achieving success in Europe's most prestigious competition.

Al-Fahim added: "We want a team who can win the UEFA Champions League. We're not just going to spend money on anyone, but if we can get the biggest players in the world, and of course if the manager wants them, then we will get them."

Dimi: I play to entertain

New signing Dimitar Berbatov explains why he shunned offers from United's rivals to wear the red shirt...

It feels fantastic to be a Manchester United player. It was a long battle but in the end I'm very happy to be here at the greatest club in the world. Hopefully I’ll play my part in the team and we win many trophies as well.

I always believed I would end up here. I was going through very difficult times but I always believed that things were going to happen and in the end they did. Now I'm the happiest guy in the world.

The red shirt is a really, really big thing for me. The people around me, my really close friends know that I play to enjoy, to entertain the fans. I don’t play for the money. If I wanted to play for the money, I would accept Manchester City's offer or Chelsea's. I want to play for the biggest club in the world and that’s why I’m here. I’m thankful for everybody, for the help they have given me and for the work they did.

I hope I can play my part and help United win more trophies because that's an important thing in football. And of course, I hope I’ll enjoy the football with the players we have here.

I’m 27 and now is my time. This is maybe the last step in my career. I’m at the biggest club in the world and here I can develop in the way I want, the way I always wanted. That’s the most important thing for me.

I have been handling expectation and pressure through all my life. I’m not scared, that’s why I’m here. The most important thing is to enjoy myself, to help the team win more trophies, entertain the fans and if I do that, if I show my ability like I did at Tottenham, I don’t think there'll be any problem.

Our next game (Liverpool) is the type of game we live for. I think it's the biggest game and I can’t wait to play.

Sir Alex: Berba's well worth it

Fans were on tenterhooks on transfer deadline day waiting to see if Dimitar Berbatov would sign for United. But for Sir Alex Ferguson the wait had been even longer, admitting that he came close to signing the player in 2006.

Tottenham had already made their bid for the striker and United's last-minute intervention was too late to secure the Bulgarian's services from Bayer Leverkusen.

Berbatov went to White Hart Lane for a reported £10.9million fee. United have paid significantly more than that for a player who has shone in the intervening two years. But Sir Alex believes the fee is money well spent.

"We tried to get him when he was at Leverkusen, but we only had a few days to get it done," the boss told MUTV in an exclusive interview to be aired at 18:30 BST Tuesday.

"Tottenham had already made a bid. Unfortunately, we hadn't moved at the right time two years ago. Now we've managed to get him. It's cost us a bit more money, but he's worth it."

Fans in the UK can watch exclusive interviews with Sir Alex, David Gill and Dimitar Berbatov on MUTV at 18:30 BST on Tuesday.

Recorded moments after the Bulgarian signed his four-year Reds deal on Monday night, the interviews are truly world exclusive and a must-see for every United supporter.

Sky and Virgin UK customers can subscribe to MUTV now by calling 08708 48 68 88.

United fans worldwide can also watch interviews with Dimitar Berbatov, Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill on MUTV Online, on demand from 18:30 BST.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Reds sign Berbatov

Manchester United are delighted to announce the signing of Dimitar Berbatov.

The Bulgarian international striker, 27, has signed a four-year contract after joining from Tottenham Hotspur for an undisclosed fee.

As part of the deal, United striker Fraizer Campbell will spend the rest of the 2008/09 season on loan at White Hart Lane.

Upon becoming a United player, Dimitar told "Joining Manchester United is a dream come true for me. I look forward to playing my part in helping this club win more honours in the years to come."

Sir Alex Ferguson was delighted to finally capture the elegant striker and admitted: "This is a key signing. Dimitar is one of the best and most exciting strikers in world football.

"His style and ability will give the team a different dimension and I’m sure he will be a popular player with the fans."

Saha completes Toffees switch

Louis Saha has completed his move to Everton after signing a two-year deal with the Toffees.

The striker, who also has the option of a third year at Goodison Park, successfully passed a medical over the weekend and has joined for an undisclosed fee. He will wear the No.9 shirt for his new club.

The 30-year-old netted 42 goals in 124 appearances for the Reds during his four-and-a-half-year career at Old Trafford, including a debut strike against Southampton in January 2004. But after a promising start he endured a torrid time with injuries and spent prolonged periods on the sidelines.

Saha is looking forward to the challenges ahead with his new club, but admits he is sad at the way his time at Old Trafford ended.

"I am quite disappointed my time with United has finished like this, with so many injury problems," he told the official Everton website. "But I am very happy a club of Everton's stature have shown they are interested in me.

"There is European football for one thing, and I was very impressed when I spoke to their manager David Moyes. He told me exactly how he wanted me to play. He was very honest with me.

"I also spoke to Sir Alex Ferguson and he said it would be good for me to sign for Everton because I would get the chance to play more than at United. He also thought it would help my fitness if I was playing every week."

Everyone at Old Trafford would like to wish Louis all the best for the future.

O'Shea: I'll remain a Red

John O'Shea insists he is happy to stay at United for as long as Sir Alex Ferguson wants him in his squad.

The versatile Irishman has frequently attracted interest from other clubs seeking to whisk him away from Old Trafford.

Transfer deadline day will see plenty of activity on Monday, but rather than follow the lure of cementing the position of first-choice first-teamer elsewhere, O'Shea is intent on staying in Sir Alex's plans.

"I’ll be here hopefully as long as the manager wants me," he said. "That’ll be the case for me. It’s a squad game and who’s to say that if I went to a different team it wouldn’t be the same?"

The Republic of Ireland international knows competition for places is fierce in a squad of United's strength but, for O'Shea, little competes with the challenge of trying to make it into the Reds' line-up.

"I’m at Manchester United and I’m happy doing what I do," he says.

"It’s a case of when I get the chance I’ve got to make sure I give the manager a difficult choice to leave me out of the team. That’s the challenge I face every time I play."

Boss picks out Tevez display

Carlos Tevez's tremendous performance was the silver lining in the cloud of defeat for United in the UEFA Super Cup final.

Sir Alex Ferguson picked out the striker's display as a highlight, saying: "I thought Tevez was the outstanding player on the pitch, I thought he was fantastic, our best player."

The Argentinian's tenacity helped the Reds to come back from two goals down against Zenit St Petersburg and almost take the game into extra time. He was at the heart of virtually every attack, creating chances including the one converted by Nemanja Vidic.

"I thought we had the best chances throughout the match," added Sir Alex.

"There was one in the first half for Wayne Rooney, and some in the second half when we were 2-0 down. That was when we played probably our best football.

"I think it was an open game, I think both teams did very well. The players have put a good effort in on a warm night and there were a lot of tired players at the end of it."

Sir Alex was gracious in defeat and said fans enjoyed an entertaining spectacle.

"I think it was a good, open game and both teams put a lot of effort in on a very hot night. We congratulate Zenit St Petersburg on their victory.

"They're a very good team with good movement. They’re strong. I think they’ll have a good chance [in the Champions League]."