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Ferguson: This is the best squad I've ever had

By Ian Whittell
Last Updated: 1:49am GMT 12/11/2007

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Sir Alex Ferguson's bold pronouncement that he has assembled the best squad of his 21 years at Old Trafford was given added credence by his team's performance as they beat Blackburn Rovers 2-0 yesterday.

  • Henry Winter: United take top billing thanks to Ronaldo show
  • Alan Hansen: Hughes has qualities to succeed Sir Alex
  • Telegraph TV: Premier and Football League highlights
  • Without Wayne Rooney, whose injured ankle will sideline him for a month, two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo returned the defending champions to the top of the Premier League and put pressure upon Arsenal, who visit Reading tonight.

    Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates one of his two goals
    Red devilry: Cristiano Ronaldo leads the celebrations after scoring twice in a minute at Old Trafford

    "I believe this is the strongest squad I have ever had," Ferguson wrote in his programme notes. He went on to add: "So much so I think I would be pushed to name my best overall team. This is a good young team coming together, they show great courage in their play and want to play right. They want to win something and I think they've got a good chance of doing that. They're playing well."

    In Rooney's absence, Ferguson handed a first league start since February to Louis Saha, who was ineffective in his 68 minutes of activity, not that it mattered to the end result. "I think with the front players we've got, one of them is going to produce something on the day," said Ferguson. "Today it was Cristiano but there was other good work by [Carlos] Tevez and Saha, I was pleased with that, and thought Ryan Giggs did fantastic, particularly in the second half.

    "Ronaldo is a possibility there but Saha coming back in his first game did very well for us. I took him off as a precaution in this situation and to have him ready for two weeks from now."

    Ronaldo now has 10 goals for the season and United nine wins from their last 10 outings.

    After getting a much-needed rest in midweek, Ferguson felt Giggs was the major influence behind United's triumph. "We have to measure Ryan's appearances because we cannot play him all the time," said Ferguson. "He is 34 at the end of the month but I feel he can go on for a good few years yet."

    As for Rooney, Ferguson said he will be absent for a month. "Wayne was very unlucky," he said. "It was just a freak accident, but four weeks is about right."

  • In pics: Premier League action
  • Manchester United homepage
  • Blackburn Rovers homepage
  • Victory must have given Ferguson added pleasure coming, as it did, against a team led by one of his prodigies, Mark Hughes, who has been widely discussed as a potential successor.

    "Every time we play against an opponent managed by one of my old players, this crops up," said Ferguson. "It's unfair on whoever is being discussed at the time. Also, it's trying to shove me out the door quicker than I want to go!"

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    I don't think that Manchester is the team everyone
    wants to watch in Brazil. far from it. There are
    bigger audiences for Barcelona and Real Madrid. Of
    the UK teams, based on a statistically significant
    sample of Brazilian coaches, Arsenal was placed
    highest and Chelsea second! I also see more
    Arsenal shirts in the streets here than Manchester.
    Posted by julio S on November 12, 2007 1:19 PM
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    Ugliest squad you've ever had more like SAF.

    Posted by Mike8 on November 12, 2007 12:57 PM
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    Hey Terence B. Harvey, are you blind or what! Henry Winter HAS written a report on the United vs. Blackburn match AND has given Fergie plenty of praise. You should've analysed the facts before typing in your foolish comment. Still, at least it gives those of us without a completey bias view of the game a good chuckle. You'll learn.
    P.s. When you're winning 2-0, playing against 10 men, why waste energy killing them off?
    Posted by Tom Bright on November 12, 2007 10:39 AM
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    Terence, How funny you blame Fergie and United for a sending off. And you fail to mention the foul on Ronaldo that wasn't given. The score was o-o and Samba hit the post. We are the best team in Europe, We started the game without Neville,Scholes,Rooney,Nani,Carrick and won 2-0. We play the best football in the country and will sweep the floor with everyone in England and Europe. It makes a nice change for the London media not to be slagging off United. We are the Champions!
    Posted by Darren on November 12, 2007 10:35 AM
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    i think the guys who posted comment 2&3 should really think before opening there mouths next time if someone is successfully led a team for 21 years i really think you should learn from him not call him names! man-u didnt score after the send-off as they were ALREADY 2 UP and wanted to simply enjoy the game. As for ronaldo the more you hate him the bettter he becomes,
    Posted by aggrey wafula on November 12, 2007 10:16 AM
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    Fergie has nothing to do with their development?? Scholes, Giggs, Neville(s), Brown, O'Shea, Fletcher and now Simpson and Pique coming through. In Scholes, Brown, Simpson, Gary Neville Manchester United have a core of mancunians in the team, and for that alone they should be applauded. Bring in the quota system and we'll see how well the rest of the 'big 4' do!
    Posted by Scott T on November 12, 2007 9:58 AM
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    @Doug Stevens

    Short memory Doug? Do you not remember the disappointment at Old Trafford when United missed out on Ronaldinho (a "finished product"), and then replaced David Beckham with Ronaldo - whose reputation in his first couple of seasons at Old Trafford was as a kid who had a few tricks but never delivered anything.

    And do you really think that Anderson is the finished product?

    Maybe you're just biased......
    Posted by JT on November 12, 2007 9:45 AM
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    As a Liverpool Fan and so not hte biggest Utd lover I have to say Utd are playing very well. I watched them in Boro, my local ground, and was impressed last year with the way the move at such pace. I dont think it was a particularly objective review of the game but they did beat a side that is notoriously difficult to play against.
    Posted by Mike Leeds on November 12, 2007 9:20 AM
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    The master has spoken!Sir Alex is going nowhere,and I would appreciate it if the media could please stop hounding him!The Game needs his type of character.
    Posted by majid on November 12, 2007 5:21 AM
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    and Fergie has had absolutely nothing at all to do with their development, all bought as finished products. Thank heavens it didn't get hold of any of them in the embroyo stage otherwise they
    wouldn't be where they are now.
    Take a bow Sir Alec, all someone else's work
    Posted by Doug Stevens on November 12, 2007 4:12 AM
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    Since when has the Telegraph become another mouthpiece for Fergie's propaganda ? This sycophantic report has repeated word for word the load of tripe that emanates week after week from the arrogant and self opinionated 'ManU special one' - so feared by the F.A. and referees alike !!
    Hopefully, Henry will write the leader on ManU's next game and we will obtain a reasoned assessment and an articulate analysis of the game. No mention was made of the fact that, once again, the referee made life easy for United by an unnecessary and unwarranted sending off of a Blackburn player early in the second half. Nor was mention made of the fact that United were unable to score against the depleted 10 man side. Perhaps the reporter was too busy munching his prawn sandwiches in the Directors' Box to observe how badly United squandered their opportunites in the second half and that the real star of the match was the ageless Giggs and not that prima donna Ronaldo?
    Posted by Terence B. Harvey on November 12, 2007 2:45 AM
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    If Sir Alex says it, it must be right. Here in Brazil "Manchestair" is the team everyone wants to watch and they know a thing or two as well...
    Posted by Ian Fraser on November 12, 2007 1:05 AM
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