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- Nani may not have featured regularly in the league this term, but Sir Alex obviously believes he’s still the man for European nights. The Portuguese winger has appeared in 75% of United’s Champions League games this term.

- Nani has made his presence felt most this season in domestic cup competitions with five goals in eight games for the Reds.

- Nani’s penalty against Southampton in the FA Cup in January was his seventh goal for the Reds. But it stands out because it was
his first away strike. Of his 10 United goals, eight have come at home.

* stats correct up to and including 11/04/2009
17/04/2009 07:00, Report by Richard Edwards
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Focus on... Nani

At the equivalent stage last season, Nani was playing a crucial role in United’s march to Premier League and Champions League success.

The livewire Portuguese winger played an important part in seeing off Lyon, Roma and Barcelona in the knockout stages of 2007/08’s European Cup campaign, and although he received his marching orders in United’s final home match of the season – a 4-1 romp against West Ham – he headed for Euro 2008 having impressed many eminent observers in his first full season in English football.

Former United winger Gordon Hill was among them. Hill is a man who knows his wide men, spending three seasons getting chalk on his boots at Old Trafford, scoring more than 50 goals and helping the Reds to 1977 FA Cup final victory against Liverpool. Now living in Dallas, Hill sees much of the old-fashioned winger in Nani, but believes that the 22-year-old needs to become a more reliable source of creativity if he is going to build upon his impressive first campaign.

“When you get a good winger, he’s worth his weight in gold,” Hill told United Review. “Nani has fantastic ability – he has pace and can score spectacular goals. But what he’s lacking at the moment is that consistency to torment full-backs week-in, week-out.”

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