FOOTBALL NEWS

15/12/2009 23:01, Report by Steve Bartram

Stopper salutes stand-ins

Tomasz Kuszczak was full of praise for his makeshift defence as the Reds kept a valuable clean sheet en route to victory over Wolves.

The Polish international goalkeeper was resolutely protected by his back four of Ritchie De Laet, Michael Carrick, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra, plus substitute Darren Fletcher, with Wolves reduced to just one shot on target all evening. Despite the merry-go-round of personnel before him, Tomasz was impressed by their work.

"It's confusing of course, we don't always have enough time to find composure, but we played well today," Kuszczak told MUTV. "Michael Carrick, Fletch and Ritchie did really well. Of course it's difficult for them, but we didn't concede and that's most important.

"It's a new position for Michael (at centre-back) but he did well and we have to be happy that even with so many injuries we still have players who can do the job properly."

Tuesday's victory moved the Reds level on points with league leaders Chelsea, who visit rock-bottom Portsmouth on Wednesday evening. Although Carlo Ancelotti's side are overwhelming favourites to take all three points, Kuszczak insists that the Premier League can throw up shocks at any time.

"Every single game is difficult," he said. "Aston Villa showed that on Saturday. Today we played better, we made more chances and scored goals. Chelsea know they must win and in the Premier League, the first team can be beaten by the last team. There's still a lot of games to play and I'm sure things will change."

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