Friday, May 23, 2008

Machester United still the winner!!

European Champions Manchester United have started their journey home to England with the Champions League trophy safely stowed on board their jet to the north-west of England.

Following the end of their victory celebrations, reported to have continued until 10 o'clock this morning in Moscow, the United flight was delayed an hour, while Chelsea had already set off for Gatwick.

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson revelled in the delight of winning the Champions League in dramatic fashion and then scotched rumours that he was set to retire by looking forward to doing it all again next season.

Ferguson believes his Manchester United side will only get better after their penalty shoot-out victory against Chelsea and can become the first side since AC Milan in 1990 to successfully defend the trophy which has become his driving force.
Man Utd players celebrate after Champions League final win
Morning after: Sir Alex Ferguson enjoys time with his two trophies, the squad head to the airport as the trophy is packed away...but goalkeeping hero Edwin van der Sar would rather have a bowl of Coco Pops

"Defending the European Cup is not an easy thing to do but I think the team is good enough. They will improve next year," he said.

In order to achieve that feat, as well as defending the Premier League title United won earlier this month, Ferguson will again be backed in the transfer market by United owner Malcolm Glazer in the summer.

Both right-back Wes Brown and captain Rio Ferdinand agreed contract extensions prior to the Champions League final and now Ferguson will turn his attention towards Carlos Tevez's future at the club.

The Argentina international, 24, is currently in the middle of a two-year loan deal at Old Trafford, although so highly does he prize the forward that Ferguson has made turning that agreement into a permanent contract his and chief executive David Gill's number one close-season priority.

"I would certainly love to extend my contract," said Tevez. "I would go and sign right now if the opportunity was there."

However Ferguson, who has likened Tevez's influence on matches to that of former United captain Eric Cantona, will need Gill to negotiate with Kia Joorabchian, who holds the player's rights through Media Sports Investment, before any permanent transfer can be confirmed.

Other areas of the team that Ferguson may look to strengthen ahead of a potential hat-trick of league titles could be in attack and the right-back berth.
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Both Michael Owen and Sevilla striker Luis Fabiano have been mentioned as possible transfer targets to take the strain off goal machine Cristiano Ronaldo next season, while United have also been consistency linked throughout the year with Tottenham front man Dimitar Berbatov and Ajax forward Klass-Jan Huntelaar.

Meanwhile, Ferguson has also been alerted in recent weeks to whispers that Micah Richards has become unsettled at city rivals Manchester City, especially with Sven-Goran Eriksson expected to leave Eastlands in the summer.

With question marks continuing to hang over the long-term fitness of club captain Gary Neville and Gerard Pique reported to be on the verge of a move back to Barcelona, the Scot will be keen to bolster his options in defence and sees the powerful England international defender as the ideal answer.

In the immediate aftermath of United's victory in the Russian capital, Ferguson had pronounced himself "delighted" with the outcome, especially as he has now joined a select band of British managers to have won European football's premier club competition on more than one occasion.

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