Manchester United vs. Southampton  2 - 1

Article

Carrick accepts blame for Southampton goal

31 January 2013 15:51

Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick has taken responsibility for his side conceding during their 2-1 win over Southampton on Wednesday.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side carved out a seven-point lead at the top of the English Premier League thanks to a hard-fought victory against Mauricio Pochettino's side at Old Trafford.

But a shock had appeared to be on the cards in the third minute as Jay Rodriguez latched onto Carrick's weak back pass before sliding the ball home – and the 31-year-old accepts he was to blame for the goal.

"I just didn't get enough on it, it's totally my fault and I take the blame for that," Carrick told MUTV.

"As it popped up I just tried to flick it back to David (de Gea) and I didn't get enough on it. But we bounced back from that and got the goal and played some decent stuff in the first half.

"To be honest, I thought we defended well, it was my mistake that led to their goal and you can't really legislate for that, it wasn't really a defensive error in terms of the team."

Carrick also criticised his side's second-half performance, but was keen to praise them for seeing the result out.

"We showed character, it wasn't an easy game and we are happy with the three points," he said.

"I think I gave us a bit of a bad start but we bounced back in the first half and played some good football.

"For the majority of the first half, we were quite happy with our performance but the second half was a bit of a write-off to be honest, we didn't play well at all.

"We just found a way to get over the line so we are delighted to get the three points. There are a few things to work on but we can still take the positives and we are still in a good position.

"We are delighted with the three points, we knew it was a big game and it was a terrific result for us."

Article

Fergie reserves praise for valiant Saints

31 January 2013 03:39

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has praised Southampton, after they beat the south coast club 2-1 at Old Trafford.

Southampton went ahead in the third minute on Wednesday through Jay Rodriguez before a brace from Wayne Rooney put Manchester United in front by half-time and while the home side held on for the three points, Ferguson was impressed by the visitors.

Mauricio Pochettino's team dominated United after the break and the home team needed a good save from David de Gea to keep out Rickie Lambert's late free-kick and secure the three points, prompting Ferguson to claim he has not seen better opposition this season than Southampton.

"In the second half Southampton played probably the best any team has played here this season," Ferguson said.

"I thought they were very, very good."

While Pochettino seemed chuffed to have received Ferguson's praise, he maintained it did not mean much as Southampton continue to fight for survival in the English Premier League.

"His words don't really serve as a consolation to me," Pochettino said.

"But I want to say thank you for those words and it also reinforces the way that we want the team to go forward."

Ferguson also expressed his delight at Michael Carrick's response to his involvement in Rodriguez's opening goal.

The defensive midfielder's chipped back-pass was awkward for de Gea and while some commentators were scathing of the Spanish goalkeeper's effort, Ferguson believed Carrick did the right thing by admitting he was in the wrong.

"Michael's pass back was a bit soft and Michael held his hand up," Ferguson said.

"It's great to see that, honest players like Michael saying 'Sorry boss, sorry lads.'

"It's great."

Article

Premier League: Manchester United 2 Southampton 1

30 January 2013 23:19

Manchester United came from a goal down to take a seven-point lead at the top of the Premier League with a 2-1 win over Southampton.

Jay Rodriguez capitalised on a mistake from Michael Carrick to give the Saints a shock early lead at Old Trafford but a double from Wayne Rooney had the hosts in front by half-time.

The Saints improved in the second half with Rickie Lambert testing David De Gea on a couple of occasions but the league leaders were worth their win despite a nervy end.

Sir Alex Ferguson reinstated Robin van Persie back into his attacking looking starting line-up, with Danny Welbeck, Shinji Kagawa and Rooney supporting the Dutchman in attack, while Nemanja Vidic returned in defence.

Mauricio Pochettini made two changes from the draw against Everton, Danny Fox and Rodriguez replaced Luke Shaw and Guly do Prado.

The hosts got off to an awful start when Michael Carrick's backpass put David De Gea in all sorts of trouble, Rodriguez pounced on the United shot-stopper, taking a touch to beat him before passing it into an open net in the third minute.

The Saints' lead didn't last long, however, as Rooney fired United level five minutes later when he timed his run on to Kagawa's lobbed pass and stroked the ball easily past Artur Boruc.

The Japan international was involved again moments later, getting down the left flank and cutting inside before striking a shot on to the near post.

Southampton were pegged back in their own half from then on and could only hold off the Red Devils' attacking onslaught until the 27th minute.

Van Persie drifted a deep free kick towards Boruc's back post where Evra was on hand to head the ball back across the box for Rooney to turn into the net from a yard out.

The Saints started the second period brightly with Rickie Lambert making De Gea make is his first save with a tame volley.

Southampton continued to apply pressure on the hosts and could have gone ahead on the hour mark when Lambert hit the target with a fierce free kick. De Gea spilled the initial effort but managed to clear before Adam Lallana could pounce on the loose ball.

United weathered the Saints' storm and then created some chances of their own with Rooney and Kagawa combining to drive Sir Alex Ferguson's side forward.

Van Persie thought he had added his name to the scoresheet in the 75th minute when he headed past Boruc at the second time of asking but the Dutchman had his celebrations cut short by a harsh offside decision.

Lambert then came close to grabbing the equaliser with another free kick; the Saints' striker curled an effort perfectly over the wall only to see De Gea make an outstanding low save.

Rooney then wasted a chance to seal his hat-trick when he was slid through by Van Persie but the England forward took a bad touch allowing Boruc to smother.

Article

Ferguson wrestles selection dilemma

30 January 2013 10:34

Manchester United's Alex Ferguson says Javier Hernandez has given him a "terrible dilemma" as he attempts to accommodate four strikers.

Ferguson signed Robin van Persie from Arsenal for 24 million pounds in the off-season, and the Netherlands international has dazzled Old Trafford with 22 goals in just 28 appearances in all competitions.

Hernandez has responded with 14 goals from 24 games, while England duo Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck have also performed well this term, giving Ferguson a selection headache.

"It's a terrible dilemma when I've got that lad (Hernandez) there," he told reporters.

"Sometimes I leave him out to bring in Robin van Persie but, as I explain to him, we regard him so highly.

"He's a fantastic professional, unbelievable attitude to the game, never stops running or working and every training session's the same.

"So I'm really pleased for him and it's also good to see Wayne back scoring."

Hernandez's latest brace eased his side to a 4-1 win over Fulham in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday, while they lead the Premier League table by five points ahead of a meeting with Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Next up though is a match at home to Southampton in the league on Wednesday, with Ferguson wary of the threat posed by the promoted team.

"(Southampton) played really well against Everton, who are at the top of their game and playing really well, so we're not taking anything for granted," he said, referring to the Saints' 0-0 draw at their St Mary's Stadium home last Monday.

"They should have won as they were superb and could have been five-up in the first half," he said.

"Tim Howard had a fantastic game, they hit the woodwork and Rickie Lambert missed a couple of chances."

Article

Ferguson questions Adkins dismissal

29 January 2013 10:33

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson says his new counterpart at Southampton, Mauricio Pochettino, is an unknown quantity to him.

The Argentine, who had been out of work since being sacked by Espanyol in November, was handed the reins at St Mary's Stadium following the dismissal of Nigel Adkins on January 18.

And, ahead of the Saints' trip to Old Trafford in the Premier League on Wednesday, Ferguson has hit out at the club's chairman, Nicola Cortese, over that decision, before admitting to being unfamiliar with Pochettino.

"I don't know a lot about him to be honest," the United manager told reporters.

"Nigel spoke to me the day before he was sacked. You cannot understand these things.

"Their form had picked up, two defeats in 12 games. I have to be careful what I say about their chairman but apparently he's a work of art."

Pochettino began his reign with a 0-0 draw with Everton at St Mary's Stadium on January 21.

Article

Premier League preview: Manchester United v Southampton

29 January 2013 06:44

Manchester United will likely welcome Robin van Persie back into the starting line-up as they face Southampton at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

The Premier League's top scorer was rested during United's 4-1 FA Cup win over Fulham on the weekend.

Despite the prospect of meeting the league leaders on the road, Southampton will be confident of taking it up to United after a solid performance in their 0-0 draw with Everton last week - with new manager Mauricio Pochettino making an impressive debut.

Even though they have only won one of their last seven league games, Southampton are still four points clear of the relegation zone in 15th position.

Alex Ferguson's United are unbeaten in their last 11 games and are five points ahead of Manchester City at the top of the standings.

The two sides last met at St Marys in early September with two late Van Persie goals dragging United to a 3-2 victory as the Red Devils came from behind twice.

The Dutch sharp-shooter had an extraordinary game in the last fixture, scoring a hat-trick and missing a penalty, as he almost single-handedly won the game for his new club.

Southampton have a goal-threat of their own in Rickie Lambert and his 10 league goals equate to being the equal-highest English goalscorer in the Premier League this season along with Jermain Defoe and Theo Walcott.

Morgan Schneiderlin, along with Lambert, found the net in the last match against United and the tough-tackling midfielder has the most tackles (90) and second most interceptions (72) in the Premier League.

Both teams have healthy squads with Ferguson possibly having Jonny Evans (hamstring) and Ashley Young (knee) available, while Southampton will welcome captain Adam Lallana (knee) back into first-team consideration.

United have only ever dropped points once against Southampton at Old Trafford the Premier League and have scored two or more goals in eight of the sides' last night league encounters.

The last time Southampton beat United was a 2-1 win at home in 2001.

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25