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24/02/2011 10:16

Papers: In the balance

Ferguson bemoans 'dangerous score'
Sir Alex Ferguson expressed disappointment with his Manchester United team as he reflected on the dangers of a 0-0 stalemate at Marseille and the inability of his players to find a more penetrative edge. Ferguson admitted it was a "dangerous score" and the United manager was critical of his side's display in a game almost devoid of scoring opportunities. "Scoring away from home is always important in Europe, so that's the disappointment," he said. "We can be pleased with our away record but we wanted to get the away goal and we didn't manage it. Our passing is usually much, much better than that." Ferguson's demeanour was of a man who was not satisfied by what he had seen, mindful perhaps of the way a 0-0 first-leg result in Monaco in 1998 led to United's elimination on the away-goal rule after a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford and that his team went out to Real Madrid in 2000 when a goalless game at the Bernabéu was followed by a 3-2 home defeat. "That was 13 years ago now," Ferguson said of the Monaco tie, "but you always worry at this stage of the competition. They will have [Mathieu] Valbuena back [for the second leg], one of their best players. We should have one or two players back ourselves but we can't take anything for granted and we won't be doing. "Nil-nil can be a dangerous score but it's about winning the game. If we win we're through, and you have to say that at home we have a good chance. I don't care if it's 10-9."
Daniel Taylor, The Guardian

Daily Telegraph scribe Henry Winter lauds the performance of Chris Smalling in his first major European test, saying: "There was a maturity about Smalling, a refusal to panic when Brandao and company came calling that marks him out as a true United player."

Following Sir Alex Ferguson's impassioned plea for Paul Scholes to agree another one-year contract, The Sun claims that the veteran midfielder has assured his manager that he will sign up for a 17th season with the Reds.

Chelsea captain John Terry tells The Daily Mirror that his side's last chance to retain the Premier League title hinges on beating United next Tuesday. "If we want to put in a charge and a run for the Premier League, we must beat Man United," he says. "We go into the game with no fear, just passion. Being able to put pressure on them would be great."

Round Up By Steve Bartram


Premier League