FOOTBALL NEWS

26/12/2008 16:25, Report by Nick Coppack
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Never say never - Neville

Gary Neville didn't give up his pursuit of three points at Stoke, even though for long periods it looked like it just wasn’t United’s day.

The Reds skipper told MUTV he’s learned to believe in the Reds’ ability to conjure late chances in important matches.

“We know we’ll always create one chance and we know our strikers are good enough to take that chance,” he said.

“We’ve learned to remain patient and not to panic, and we did that today.

“It was a massive three points and you could see what it meant with the way we celebrated the goal.

"It was a great touch from Dimitar Berbatov [to set up Carlos Tevez for the winner] and it’s important we have players who can come off the bench and help you win matches.”

But United’s victory wasn’t all about the front men. The Reds’ defence was kept on its toes all afternoon via a barrage of high balls and long throw-ins, not to mention a lively performance from Stoke striker Ricardo Fuller.

“We defended well and it was a massive physical challenge,” Neville said.

“They’re all huge players – I don’t think there’s anybody in the Stoke side who’s shorter than 6ft.

“They were continually playing the ball forward, which was a bit of a throwback to some of the teams we used to play, like Crystal Palace and Wimbledon.

“But Manchester United are a tough team to play against, both in attack and defence, and we don’t shirk anything.”

Central defender Jonny Evans certainly did well against Ricardo Fuller and Richard Cresswell, despite learning he would play just minutes before kick-off. The youngster was called upon after Rio Ferdinand suffered a back spasm in the warm-up.

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